THE CUT: I’ve taken countless videos of my daughter since she was born, but there’s one I can barely stand to watch. In it, she is 5 weeks old and screaming. Her face and tiny fists are tomato-red. Her gums are bared and her eyes are squeezed shut, and her head is twisting back and forth like she wants to climb out of her own skin. At the end of each breath she trails off into a jagged bleat and then keeps screaming silently.
I promise: My husband and I tried to help her. Our lives revolved around attempts to soothe her screaming fits, which happened predictably every evening and unpredictably during the day. I developed a habit of hugging her close and shushing straight into her ear, so she could hear me over her own screeches; meanwhile, I feared something was deeply wrong. We had made a terrible mistake already in our parenting, or passed on faulty genes, and she would be tortured forever. Our friends with newborns seemed tired but — bafflingly — happy.
We felt so alone then, but now I know we weren’t. Because no one — not doctors, not scientists — knows for certain how to help babies like my daughter, who are healthy by all measures but can’t stop crying. That means parents are mostly on their own as they fight through conflicting information and useless remedies. But recent research is starting to cut through the din. Read more.