Babies cry — it’s just a fact of life with a baby! And while it can be frustrating for parents, it’s the only real way that your baby can communicate with you for the first few months of life. So, just why do babies cry?
Dirty or Wet Diaper?
While not all babies mind a wet or dirty diaper, most do, and a clean diaper will stop the crying.
Possibly the most common reason for crying. Is your baby hungry? Even if it seems like they just ate, bebies sometimes feed more frequently than others.
Looking for a Cuddle?
Most babies like to be cuddled. Sometimes all that they need is someone to hold them. I am a firm believer that you can not spoil a baby by holding them too much.
Your baby may be to hot — or too cold. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby much as you are dressed, and maybe one layer more (ie: a little undershirt).
Sometimes adults feel “I can’t take it anymore” and need a break. Well, babies are no different. Sometimes a change of scene into a quiet place will calm your baby.
Many babies just have times where they will fuss and are not easily soothed. This can range from a few minutes of hard-to-console crying to full-blown colic. Colic is usually defined as inconsolable crying for at least three hours per day, three days per week or more.
Other than the crying, is your baby acting differently? Is the cry different than usual (weak or sickly sounding?) Does he or she feel like they have a fever? If you are unsure, call your doctor or the hospital. My philosophy is it’s better to check with them and have nothing be wrong than it is to have your baby get very sick because you were worried about needlessly calling the doctor and wait to call.
Ok, you’ve done all these things and your baby is still crying! Now what?
Wrap and hold your baby close. If you have trouble swaddling a baby as I did, a swaddle blanket is a great thing to have. Mind you, some babies find swaddling or cuddling too constrictive and will respond better to other forms of comfort.
Rhythm and Sound
Babies are used to the sound of your heartbeat and all the other swooshing and swishing sounds that were heard while in your womb. There are things available that will mimic these sounds but I found the vacuum cleaner also worked well! Many times my son would fall asleep in his Baby Bjorn while I was vaccuming! If you had a bola ball during your pregnancy, wear it now too! It may help soothe your baby wonderfully.
Sometimes just carrying your baby around the house will be enough to calm the crying. Rocking chairs, car rides, or baby swings are also good things to try. A great way to carry your baby for extended periods of time is with a carrier or sling. Sometimes a bit of a gentle bounce in your set can help too.
Or, sometimes they just would like us to stop ‘handling’ them and put them down for a break.
Babies also like to suck. Nurse your baby or offer a pacifier or one of your fingers to suck on. There were times I felt like a human pacifier, but if nursing was what would calm my son, then that’s what I did.
Rubbing your baby’s back or tummy can be very soothing. Try this while sitting, lying down, or walking around with your baby.
Remember, crying in itself will not hurt your baby. If you have tried everything and are feeling very frustrated, sometimes it is a good idea to call someone to come and help you out. If there isn’t anyone to take over for you for a time and you are at the end of your rope, calmly place the baby in a safe place such as their crib or on a mat on the floor and leave the room for a few minutes. Take some time out for yourself. Whatever you do, never ever shake your baby.