Are you wondering what to do when your 12 week old baby won't stop crying? I am a breastfeeding mom of 8 children, so I can try to advise. My youngest child presently was born on March 4th of this year. Her name is Megan. She is 12 weeks old.
What to do when your 12 week old baby won't stop crying
This may not be what you want to hear, but each child has his or her own personality, likes and dislikes. Some of my children have been more needy, some more easy and some were needy at some stages and independent at others. There are many books giving advice on sleep training, etc. But when that doesn't feel right to you or when your baby doesn't cooperate with the plan, here is what to do.
Is it a health issue?
The first thing to do is check with your doctor to be sure there is nothing wrong with your child's health. If your doctor says your child is fine, just needy, then continue reading.
Get some rest
The best advice I have is for you to do your very best to take care of you so that you can be the best Mom to this little one. I don't mean for you to leave her with a sitter so you can get your nails or hair done. I mean that when she is finally sleeping, REST is best so you can be peaceful, calm and collected. It is so tempting to do ALL THE THINGS like house cleaning, laundry, etc. but usually all of that CAN WAIT. However, babies DON'T KEEP. My oldest is going to be 20 so I know what I am talking about.
do your very best to take care of you so that you can be the best Mom to this little one
Listen to your body
You will know if you need more rest because you will become more impatient and annoyed inside and you may feel like crying. These are all signals that it's time for a nap, or at least time to stop moving your body and rest it. You may even get a headache or an achy back.
Ask for help
If there is anyone – a spouse, parent or older child – that can help you… Ask them for help. They can do a load of laundry or dishes or hold the baby (if old enough in the case of a child) while you shower. They could even pick up some yogurt for you at the store. Yogurt is a must if you are breastfeeding to keep thrush away so you and baby can be at your best.
Some quiet time
You also need a bit of quiet time for Bible study, prayer, peace, and reflection. For me, that quiet time is 5 am before ANYONE ELSE is awake in the house. When you are calm and at your best, the rest of your household will follow. It's a bummer that the whole demeanor of the house depends on the Mama, but it is the truth. We set the stage.
This is what I am usually doing, breastfeeding in my favorite chair with an older sibling nearby! These times are precious to me.
Keep baby close to you at night
As for the sweet baby. I feed my baby on demand, hold her as much as needed and more (which is a lot – not getting much done at this stage), keep her warm and fed and dry. That's all they want – is their needs met – IMMEDIATELY. It seems to me that they are checking to see if they can count on us to be there through thick or thin. I do sleep with my baby at night as well. I have an Arm's Reach co-sleeper that attaches to my side of the bed. I can lean over it to nurse her or pull her into my bed and nurse and put her back in when she is asleep. On days when I am exhausted, she just stays in my bed with me because I am too tired to put her back in.
When my helpers are not available and she cries unless I walk with her, but I am too tired, I lay with her next to me in bed even through her fit. With her on her side and me offering the breast that she is refusing, I will speak calmly and rub her back so my body can rest for at least fifteen minutes. Then I might get up and walk again and then lay down again, or sometimes she will calm down and take the breast and fall asleep.
Getting meals done
You have to eat. If she is crying and it is time to get the food on and your helpers are not available, you take turns. Do something for supper, for example, then go hold her. Put her down, then do the next step for supper. If she is still crying, go check her diaper and hold her. Do the next step for supper, go hold her and burp her etc. until she has stopped her upset time. You are doing your very best, but needs such as eating a meal must be met so we just have to be patient with the crying fit during that time and do what must be done.
She will have a time in the day when she is calm, even when awake. This is the best time to get a load of laundry in and take out the dry one. Don't worry about folding the laundry at this stage unless you have time. Sometimes, if the laundry really bothers me, I will do like I did for supper and go fold ten items, hold her. Go fold ten items, change her diaper and nurse her. Go fold ten more items, etc.
Washing the dishes
This seems to be the thing that I do not get done until I am on my last clean dish, then I have six loads for the dishwasher so it takes an entire day to catch up! Because of this, if we can afford it, we try to use paperware as much as possible. Yes, we use paper plates, plastic forks, etc. Desperate times call for desperate measures, my friend. Imagine how many dishes a family of ten can go through in a day when they are all home all day except Dad at work. Yep! A crazy amount! If you are coming over to visit, just expect to see dirty dishes. Even as I am cleaning my last dish, someone is using one somewhere in the house. They are never ALL clean. I accept it. It is what it is.
My oldest four children are all assigned dishes as chores and my husband is VERY helpful, but there are times when they are busy or away and the dishes stack up. When I feel it is time to do them and baby doesn't cooperate, I will do it in stages. Take care of baby, empty the bottom clean rack. Take care of baby, empty the top rack. Take care of baby, refill the silverware holder. Take care of baby, refill the top rack. Take care of baby, refill the bottom rack and start the dishwasher. When that load is done, repeat. REPEAT. REPEAT. Dishes are never ending.
Taking a shower
It is best to take a shower when your spouse or helpers are watching the baby. But that is not always possible. I have a six year old and a two year old that cannot be alone with the baby. When all my big helpers are gone and I really want a shower, I will set up my young children with a favorite children's video. Then I take a baby holder like the Fisher Price Glider into my bathroom, lock the door, secure my baby in the glider and turn it on. I will speak calmly to her and tell her mom is here, but mommy needs a shower, etc. Occasionally, the sound of the shower puts her to sleep, which is a bonus. This is also what I highly recommend when baby's nose is congested or stuffed up.
I am so blessed to have a husband that does the shopping for me at this stage of life. If you don't, there are stores that will let you find all of your items online, then drive up and pay for them so you don't have to spend all of that time in the store. There is usually an additional charge for this, but it is worth it. Check with your local store to see how they do it. Some have you come inside and wait in line and then you can get the groceries. Some just have you drive up and show your phone and will even load them in the trunk for you so you never have to get yourself or baby out of the car.
If these are not available in your area, many items can be shipped to your home. Some companies will even ship fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of all of this. Have your other needed items, like vitamins, deodorant, etc. shipped as well.
I really enjoy having items shipped from DollarTree.com. Yes, you have to order more than one item at a time. Sometimes they want you to buy 4, 6 or 20 of the same item. I don't mind. Those items are things that keep really well like toothpaste, shampoo, dish and hand soap so it is not a problem. I even buy gift bags, tissue paper and greeting cards so I am ready for celebrations. Even if I don't get to go because I am home with a fussy baby, at least I can send a gift with someone else.
You can even buy your socks, underwear and other needed items online, there is FREE 2-Day Shipping when you spend $35+ at Walmart.com for example.
Me and my 12 week old daughter, Megan – on vacation about to go to the waterpark.
Be the best mom you can be
Imagine if you are rested and as patient as you can possibly be. She can be wild and crying and you will be comforting, comforting, comforting. Eventually, she will calm down and her little personality will change for the better and you will have peace in your home. You've got this! I know you can do it! When she is almost 20, as my oldest daughter is, you will look back on these days in fondness and will not regret a minute spent in caring for her.
I can't do ALL THE THINGS at this stage, but I am at peace with it because BABIES DON'T KEEP.
This tutorial was submitted by Amy Marohl, a large family homeschooling mom, Etsy shop owner and blogger at neededinthehome.com.