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The Crying Curve and the Impact on Postpartum and Breastfeeding

by Kimberly Bepler, IBCLC, CPD, CLE, CNPE
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP, 0.1 Midwifery CEU
  • Handout: Yes
  • Origin: GOLD Birth & Beyond 2020

The Crying Curve is an evidence-based pattern of crying that begins at about 42 weeks of gestation (2 weeks of extrauterine life), peaks at 6-8 weeks of age, and sharply declines by 12-15 weeks. As many as 15 different studies have concluded that this pattern is common across infants of all cultures, gestational ages (based on a 40-week gestation), and parenting styles—and the applications are many in the early parenting world. How can parents use this pattern to help them navigate breastfeeding? How can they gather their support people, family or village to maximize positive relationships and get the support they crave? How can they utilize it to help assess their newborn and understand what is needed for their specific situation? How much crying is too much crying? Lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, and other postpartum professionals who possess this information are well positioned to help to educate parents on how to best approach their postpartum recovery period, as well as navigate the ups and downs of breastfeeding and early newborn sleep. This session will aim to explain and apply the Crying Curve in multiple ways to support and guide the newborn family.

Learning Objectives:
1. Categorize infant crying into low, normal, and excessive crying at 3 different points on the Crying Curve.

2. Define the roles of helpers and visitors in the early weeks of newborn family life, and compare and contrast the roles at different stages on the Crying Curve.

3. Draw and label the Crying Curve, identifying 3 different stages of development in an infant’s early newborn life.
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