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Study: Fussy Babies Linked to ADHD Risk

Researchers Say Excessive Crying, Sleeping Problems in Infants May Be Linked to Behavioral Problems

What Is ‘Excessive’ Crying? continued...

If you are concerned about your infant, talk to your pediatrician as it may be something that is easy to treat, such as mild reflux.

Be specific about your concerns, she says.

“Parents do the best when they write down notes before they go to the doctor rather than express their concerns off the top of their head,” she says. “Document the frequency, time of day, what you have tried, and whether or not it worked.”

Reach out to other parents who may have tips and advice, she says.

“Many babies are overstimulated and they cry more and don’t sleep as well or digest as well and may be distracted during feeds. So almost any parent feels that they must not be doing something right and need to do more and it can be a vicious cycle,” she says.

Family risk factors do have a role in this, Glass says.

“New parents often don’t have the kind of extended family support that is needed or that extra pair of hands to hold a fussy baby a little bit longer, and they may become more anxious about trying to get the baby to sleep at night,” she says. “When parents can be helped, everybody calms down.”

“Other factors can lead to fussy babies, including prenatal stress or stress during birth,” she says. Regardless of the cause, “help with early behavioral problems tends to have a positive effect on children and parents.”

Schedules for Babies

So how do you know if your baby is just being a baby, or if he or she has regulatory issues and may be at-risk for behavioral problems in the future?

“If babies are fussy and cry for six or more hours a day and have difficulty feeding and sleeping, it can be stressful in the house,” says Atlanta-based pediatric nurse Jennifer Walker, RN, co-author (along with Laura Hunter) of The Moms on Call Guide to Basic Baby Care.

Some fussiness during the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. is expected, she says. “Babies have a need to get a certain amount of energy out every day.”

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