Babies cry. And its perfectly normal. Period. After all, it’s the only way they can communicate when they’re hungry, sleepy, tired, in pain or need to draw your attention. But how would you know why your baby is crying?
Trying to understand – and soothe – a crying baby can be quite frustrating. Sometimes it may seem like your baby is crying for no reason at all. Most often, there is a root cause. But initially, trying to pin down the cause can be difficult. Naturally, all the wails and whimpers sound the same. But, not really! Listen carefully, and you’ll notice that the crying patterns are different crying for different needs. Till you learn how to decipher your baby’s cry, here are some clues and common reasons babies are in distress.
This is one of the primary reasons why a newborn baby will cry. A baby’s small stomach cannot hold very much. That’s why she demands to be fed so often. The younger your baby is, the more often she gets hungry and cries.
If you spot your baby sucking her fists or smacking her lips, she is probably hungry. So if you catch her doing any of these, start feeding her right away, to beat the crying game.
If your baby is still crying on a full-stomach, perhaps she is expressing the next need.
The cold, uncomfortable feeling of a wet nappy may be another reason why your baby is crying. Some babies don’t mind a wet diaper and can stay longer in them without a fuss. While some babies need to be changed the very minute it’s wet. So a quick check and a change in nappy could do the trick.
Tight, uncomfortable clothes may be another reason for crying. Make sure to put on loose, easy-to-breath-in clothing made of soft, child-friendly fabric.
Colic is a griping pain in the abdomen and is very common among new born babies. Sometimes, colic pain can make babies cry for long hours at a stretch. Most colicky will settle down by the time they are three to four months old. One of the ways to comfort your baby is to burp her well after every feed. A massage too can be an effective remedy to relieve her from colic.
It’s not unusual for babies to cry when they are being bathed or nappy changed. They do not like their body to be exposed to the air directly and prefer to be snug and kept warm instead. If your baby is like this, you will have to learn how to perform a quick nappy change so that you can calm her down again. At the same time, take care not to overdress your baby that she gets too hot. A good rule to follow is that she needs to wear one more layer of clothing than you do to be comfortable.
You can check whether your baby is too hot or too cold by feeling her stomach: if she’s too hot, remove a blanket, if she’s cold, add one. Don’t be guided by her hands or feet, as it is normal for them to feel slightly cold. Keep your baby’s room at a temperature of around 18 degrees C / 64 degrees F, and put her down to sleep on her back with her feet at the end of the cot so that she can’t wriggle too far down under the blankets and get too hot that way.
Some babies take more time to get used to the outside world. That’s why they want to be cuddled and comforted all the time. If you’ve fed your baby and changed her nappy, you may find that she now simply wants to be held. While some parents don’t encourage this, fearing that it will become a habit, remember physical touch is very important and it’s something that will re-assure and calm the baby almost instantly.
If your baby needs a lot of holding, you might like to try a baby sling, which allows you to keep your baby close while leaving your hands free for other tasks; this may be a solution that keeps you both happy.
It is expected of babies to fall asleep wherever they are sleepy. But, if your baby has had a particularly “busy” day, with distractions and noise, upsetting her regular routine, she may become excited and then find it difficult to “switch off” and settle. In this situation, the best way to calm her would be to take her to a quiet spot and gently rock her to sleep till she settles down.
Your baby has had a feed, a nappy change and is fresh from a good nap, but still crying inconsolably? If you’re a first-time parent, this could stress you out and leave you in a dilemma as you don’t know why your baby is still in distress.
Normally, a baby who is ill, often cries in a different tone — it may be more urgent or high-pitched. Similarly, a sudden unusual quietness in a baby who normally cries frequently is a sign that something is wrong. The most important thing to remember is that you will have to use your instinct at such times. And if you feel that your baby needs medical attention, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. If you notice any difficulty in breathing through the crying, or if the crying is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, don’t delay in calling the doctor.