There was a time, when my son was about 5 months old, that I thought I could never have another baby. I simply didn't think I would be able to deal with caring for another infant because my son fussed all night long and he didn't sleep through the night until he was almost a year old. It became very draining and isolating. I wanted to scream and cry sometimes, wondering why is my baby fussing all the time? It was really, really hard to deal with.
But the truth is, babies fuss for a ton of reasons, and many of them are pretty benign, according to the Mayo Clinic. Babies fuss because they have a dirty diaper, because they're hungry, because it's their only method of communication, and because they can't move or react the same way we can. However, there are some clinical reasons that may cause your baby to be particularly fussy. Things like acid reflux, GERD, or colic may be causing your child to stress out and fuss more than usual, and they'll need to be seen by your practitioner to be evaluated to make sure it's not serious, according to the website for Dr. Sears.
Personally, I think my mother-in-law prayed that my husband would have a baby just as fussy as he was as punishment for keeping her up nights. It's a working hypothesis of mine.
I spoke with pediatric nurse Angela Harper, and she tells Romper that most of the time, babies fuss because they're just uncomfortable. Whether that means they're hungry or wet, or even something as silly as a seam in their jammies bugging them, they fuss because they can't talk.
"There's also this phenomenon known as PURPLE crying, which is a stressful period of time when babies get fussier and fussier, and soothing is impossible," Harper says. "They call it PURPLE crying because they turn purple when they do it. It's aggravating for the parents and hard to watch." According to the website devoted to PURPLE crying, it starts at about 2 weeks and lasts until your baby is about 3 months old.
"That being said, if you think it's extreme, [or] if you're worried about your baby, call your doctor. There are reasons for fussiness like asthma and allergies that may be dangerous," she adds.
My own son suffered from terrible acid reflux as a baby, and it felt like it was absolutely uncontrollable at night. I changed my diet, hoping the shift in composition of my milk would help, but it didn't. We had him sleep elevated, I'd rock him back and forth, and I even went so far as to allow him to sleep on my chest, even though that is a huge no-no. Nothing, and I mean nothing, worked. There were some really dark days during those first few months, and that's not only because we took to sleeping in with the shades drawn until 11 a.m.
We eventually went to see several specialists and were told that because he was otherwise happy and thriving, there wasn't much we could do but wait it out because his reflux wasn't causing enough damage to need intervention. But that's not the case for everyone. Some people just have fussy babies and they're at the end of their rope or nearing it. But if you're at all worried that this is out of character for your child, or that it's just an extreme level of crying, call your pediatrician. They aren't going to judge you, and will be happy to evaluate the situation and your baby. They can soothe at least those fears, if not your nerves. Sadly, those are a bit harder to work out.