Feature Article

How to deal with an unsettled infant

Patricia McVeagh



All infants fuss sometimes and have occasional periods of unsoothable crying, but in most this behaviour resolves by a few months of age. It is important to recognise when a baby’s crying falls outside the normal range, representing a clinical problem.

Key Points

  • It is normal for some infants to fuss or cry for more than three hours a day at the peak age for unsettledness, about 6 to 8 weeks of age (adjusted for prematurity).
  • No medical or parental cause for the unsettled behaviour will be found in the majority of cases.
  • No investigations or medical interventions are required for most infants, other than providing reassurance and coping strategies for the parents in these difficult situations.