The persistent ‘Phantom Baby Cry’

My daughter is 10 months old. She is not a big crier. She didn’t have colic when she was little. And all it takes now to stop the crying is either bedtime, food or a cuddle with her lovey (a mini blanket/ stuffed giraffe with her soother attached).

Despite this I often suffer from the haunting of the ‘phantom baby cry.’ Like all the time. Not a day goes by that I don’t stop what I am doing and think I hear her crying when she is actually sound asleep. At dinner. While watching T.V. During naps. When I wake up in the middle of the night. I stop and listen. Nope, just my phantom baby crying in my head. Kinda like having a ringing in your ears, except it sounds like a baby crying.

I wonder what this means? That I can’t ever relax without being on high alert? Is this my bodies way of reminding myself that no matter what the girl ‘usually’ does it could all come crashing down at any moment with an earth shattering crying fit? Or is it just like when you were a kid and went to bed after a day at the wave pool (or the ocean, I guess, if you are lucky enough to live near one) you could still feel yourself being rocked back and forth by the waves (also, maybe this just happened to me). Except that was nice, and phantom baby crying in your head is not. But both harmless and just a reminder of the day.

Please tell me I am not the only one. Please someone with older kids tell me it eventually goes away.


17 responses to “The persistent ‘Phantom Baby Cry’

  1. Briana January 22, 2010 at 8:54 am

    You’re not the only one, and it does go away! I don’t remember when it stopped for me, but it did!

  2. Cheryl January 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I hear it too! Oddly, it always happens in the shower. You are not crazy and you are not the only one.

  3. smdcanada January 22, 2010 at 9:46 am

    When my kids aren’t even the house I sometimes hear it. Still. It usually is another actual sound (like a distant child outside somewhere, far off dog barking), but my first instinct is that it’s my child.

  4. amoment2think January 22, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Thank you everyone for reassuring me that I am not crazy. Or, that I am not the only one that is crazy. I am not sure which one. But regardless, I feel better. Thanks!

  5. Jeff January 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I usually hear during a time when it would be most inconvenient for my daughter to start crying: in the shower, trying assemble something, hands covered in yuck from cleaning something.
    Then there’s the reverse: If I’m doing something really mundane like tying my shoes, that’s when my wife pokes her head out of the shower, “Meredith’s been crying for like 3 minutes!”

    I hope it goes away too!

    Feel free to check out my blog on my parenting adventures

  6. Accidents January 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I hear the phantom baby cry ALL the time. I always thought it was because Hank spent the first few months of his life crying (he didn’t have “colic” so much as he had “if not within 1 inch or 1 second of milk at all times I will scream” syndrome) so the sound is burned into my brain (eh, mixed metaphors, what are you going to do). But I’m glad to hear people with calmer babies hear it to. The worst is that our dishwasher, when it hits a certain part of its wash cycle sounds EXACTLY like Hank’s nighttime “I’m just hit a sleep cycle transition and I may or may not go back to sleep on my own” coughy-cry. And we FREEZE IN TERROR every time even though we know it does that.

    Um, do you ever hear phantom shuffling/whining in the car seat when they aren’t in the car? Cause I do and it’s way more creepy.

    • amoment2think January 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      LOL- I can’t remember hearing it in the car when she’s not there… but I do have a ‘look in the rear view mirror to see the baby mirror’ twitch that I do whether or not she is in the car!

  7. Sophie February 6, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    When our son was about a year old, one night, his crying woke me up, I got up, went half-way down the hall to his bedroom door (ok, it’s only 2 steps, but still), then finally woke up enough to realize it wasn’t him crying at all. The neighbors had just had their baby. I woke up 2 or 3 nights in a row from his crying, then I adjusted.

    But I still hear the phantom baby cry, mostly when I wake up really early and I’m trying to fall back asleep, and every time I doze off the phantom cry wakes me up until the alarm clock rings. And sometimes in the shower. And he’s two and a half. And when you stop hearing it – then it will be baby number two. I suspect we’re in it for a 5 to 10 years!

  8. Lorien June 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    hi I just wanted to google “is it normal to hear a baby’s cry in my head … this is one of many related topics that came up ! I have been hearing my sons cry even when he is not crying or even in the house …at daycare it just happened to me now & I asked my sister if he was just crying she looked at me strange as I said to her I heard it so loud ..are you sure I could of sworn it was him ! Anyways, I hope this does not stay with me for long as it does kinda take a toll on your nerves after a while . I am going t seek a medical opinion on this also ..

    • amoment2think June 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm

      Lorien, how old is your baby? I promise it does go away. My daughter is now 15 months old (its been a while since I wrote this post) and I am happy to report I no longer hear the phantom baby cry. It’s just your parental instincts doing some random fires. 🙂

  9. Rachel July 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Hi, I actually just googled, “Am I going crazy, I hear babies crying when they are not” And your blog came up. I am glad to see I am not alone. I have a 3 year old son & a 1 year old daughter and I hear the “phantom baby cry” daily, and often! I usually hear it when I am in the shower (I think it HAS to be the pipes, right?), when I am doing dishes…I actually run over to the monitors, stop & listen…nope, sound asleep, I hear it when I vacuum. I have asked my therapist about it and she says it’s normal. I am a total control freak, so part of me thinks that if my hearing is at all compromised (running water, loud noises, etc) I swear I hear babies crying. My husband just looks at me when it happens at night and thinks I am insane!!

    Again, glad to see I am not alone 🙂

    • amoment2think July 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm

      Rachel, you are not alone nor are you crazy. I can’t tell you the number of people who have stumbled on my blog by searching that exact phrase.

      Thanks for saying hello!

  10. Michelle August 11, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Ok, …so call me crazy, but when my oldest was about a year old, I started hearing the phantom baby cry. Two months later I was pregnant with my second. When my second was 7 years old, out of the blue I started hearing the cry again. Only this time I thought I was really losing my mind. Yep, you guessed it, preggo a couple of months later. Third one turns 16 months…..hear crying….preggo again. I guess for me the baby cry was a sign of impending pregnancy. Had tubes tied after number four so I guess if I hear it again then I will really be crazy!

  11. beth December 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I am another googler. I heard the phantom cry a lot for the first month then it seemed to go away but now (4.5 months) its back. I think it is a combo of stress and not enough sleep. Also lately, I’ve been sleeping through her 2ish am feeding and my husband has had to wake me up eventhough the monitor is on my side of the bed. I think that I am trying to make up for this by being hyperalert when I am awake. It also hapens to me mostly when there is a monotonous background noise (running water for dishes or shower, highway noise even when she isn’t in the car, noise from the fan or the heat or ac running) so I think that triggers it some how.

    On a sorta related side note, a friend of mine who had her baby before me kept feeling kicks and jabs of the baby moving in her tummy even after delivery. We thought it had something to do with her having a C-Section, but I had one done as well and I never felt anything like that.

  12. Pingback: amoment2think blog: 2010 in review |

%d bloggers like this: