In the first few days of your baby’s life, it may seem like he often cries for no reason. Over time, you will learn to identify different types of baby cries produced by your child. Some infants cry less, while others cry more. Parents, learn more about decoding a baby’s cry here.
Why Do Babies Cry?
After feeding and changing his diaper, it may appear that comforting your cranky newborn consumes the majority of your day (and most of the night!). Crying and babies go hand in hand, of course, because kicking up a fuss is your newborn’s only means of communication.
However, a baby’s cries can rapidly become overwhelming, especially if you don’t know why she’s upset in the first place.
All babies have the same basic needs. Identifying these needs would be easier once you recognise the reasons why your baby could be crying. Here are some of the most common reasons babies cry:
1. Hunger cry
This is usually the most common reason for a baby to cry. This type of cry lasts longer and the baby will also try to suck their finger or pacifier. Also, the baby could start fussing and tossing around.
Once you pick them up, the baby tries to find the breast. Even if you have fed the baby recently, he might have already gotten hungry and needs more feeding. This type of cry will stop once the baby is fed.
But did you know that crying is usually the last sign that a baby is hungry? So you can actually avoid this by being more in tune with your baby’s hunger cues.
2. Growth spurt hunger
Your infant may be hungry and desire to cluster feed during periods of intense growth (typical growth spurts occur around 2 to 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months).
3. Tiredness cry
Sometimes a baby cries when he feels very tired. This type of cry is resonant, and the baby can also seem very agitated. The crying can be accompanied by rubbing of the eyes or moving arms and legs.
Putting on some relaxing music can help the baby calm down. Also, being around many people can stress out an infant. Over-stimulation can tire out a baby very quickly. Make sure that not too many family members or friends crowd around your baby.
4. Warning cry
With this cry, the baby is communicating to his parents that he is wet, too cold or too hot. This type of cry begins suddenly and then intensifies. Check if the baby is wet or if he is suffering from any other discomfort, such as tightness of clothing.
5. The need-for-affection cry
Babies need a lot of bonding with parents, thus crying when left alone is very common. This type of cry ceases as soon as you pick up your baby. This means that the baby just needs to feel the mother’s or father’s heartbeat and breath. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby by giving too much affection. This is what babies need most in their first years of life.
6. Cry of pain
When a baby cries due to pain, it is usually the loudest sound he or she can make. This is also a sudden cry with a deafening sound. Try to check if the baby is in an uncomfortable position, and whether the arms or legs are caught somewhere. If the baby still does not stop crying, undress him or her and check for any other discomfort.
7. Sickness cry
Parents will usually know right away if the baby is sick. This type of crying will be much different from all others. It can be a much softer cry, accompanied by apathy or tiredness. If the baby is not eating as much as before, and experiencing diarrhoea or vomiting, parents should contact a paediatrician right away.
Check to see if your infant has a fever. A fever in a baby is defined as a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C). If your infant has a fever, call the doctor straight away.
Some baby cries can occur at certain fixed hours, such as nighttime. This could mean that the baby needs more feeding or is experiencing colic. It is good to check with your doctor if you are still unsure about your baby’s crying patterns.
8. Slower milk letdown
While many mothers believe that a cranky infant isn’t receiving enough to eat, this isn’t always the case. Even so, the composition of your milk changes at night, and you may notice a decreased milk flow. The change in milk volume may result in a grumpy infant.
9. Overstimulated baby
The underdeveloped nervous system of a baby makes them more sensitive to bright lights, sounds, and changes in their environment. For example, you may discover that the brightness from the TV causes your baby to cry in a dark room, or that the loudness alone causes your infant to cry.
“Why is my baby crying non-stop?” is one of the most common questions parents of newborns ask.
While all newborns cry, if your baby is weeping for three hours or more, three days a week, for three weeks or longer, it’s time to see a doctor! To rule out other conditions, your paediatrician should perform a comprehensive assessment.
How to Soothe a Crying Baby
Decoding a baby’s cry – and getting him to stop crying may seem like an impossible task. But as you get to know your baby, you’ll learn that there are certain things that work better at getting him to hush than others.
How to make a baby stop crying? If you don’t know which trick works for your baby yet, try some of the following:
- Wear your baby. Babywearing not only frees up your hands to do those last-minute tasks but being close to your heartbeat is extremely calming for your child.
- Take a walk. Not only may a change of scenery be beneficial to your kid, but the rhythm of walking can also be beneficial. Plus, meeting up with another adult to chat while walking can keep you sane! Take the infant out for a stroll in a stroller.
- Place your baby in the rear of the car in an infant car seat and go for a ride. The vibration and movement of the car are often soothing and can help put the little bub to sleep.
- Rock, sway or glide. Hold your baby in a rocking chair or glider, or put her in a motorised baby swing or vibrating bouncy seat. The motion could be relaxing. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety warnings regarding these devices’ age and weight restrictions.
- Sing a song. Your baby doesn’t care if you sing off-key or in perfect pitch. What she doesn’t realise is that you’re lavishing her with music — and affection. Sing a classic lullaby or any melody you want the next time she’s unhappy.
- Reduce stimulation. To help your baby’s nervous system calm, dim the lights, decrease disturbances, and swaddle them. This may even persuade your infant to take a short catnap.
- Give the baby a massage. Touch is an excellent method to unwind and bond with your child. While oils and special types of touch can be used, massage is still beneficial when done simply. Check with your child’s paediatrician before using scented or essential oils on your baby. Stick to baby oil for now.
- Start bath time. Water may be both soothing and distracting for young children. Even better, you’ll have a clean baby at the end of it!
- Soothe with sound. Ssshhhing, soothing music and white noise are all good techniques to calm your child. Don’t be scared to experiment with different styles of music and vocalists. What your baby likes may surprise you, and it may change from day to day!
- Vary breastfeeding positions. If your baby is constantly hungry and wants to feed, try switching positions. Simple modifications in your position can have an impact on milk flow and your baby’s comfort.
- Try the “colic carry.” When your baby is crying uncontrollably, she may need some pressure on her tummy — or what’s known as the “colic carry” — to help relieve gas and colic: Lay your baby on her tummy on your forearm, cradling her head in your hand, and use your other hand to stabilise her and rub her back; or lay her on her back and gently “bicycle pump” her knees up to her tummy for 10 seconds, then release and repeat.
- Be entertaining. Even young newborns can become bored, and if they do, they can become fussy. Try describing your activity, complete with hilarious noises and lively emotions, to keep your child entertained. You can also play on the floor with her and demonstrate how her toys rattle and spin, read a rhyming board book or turn on some music and dance with her.
- Check to see if your baby is hungry and has a clean diaper. Sometimes, this is all it takes to get the baby to stop crying.
- Gently pat or rub the baby’s back. While doing gushing sounds, gentle strokes on the baby’s back can help your child to self-regulate and find her calm. You can also lay your infant on his or her belly across your lap and rub his or her back.
If your baby appears to have gas, you should:
- Take your time burping the infant. Remember to do this after each feed to prevent colic. If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes of trying, it’s okay to try something new!
- Bicycle their legs in the air. If your baby is constipated, this technique can help.
- Look at over-the-counter remedies. Before considering gripe water or gas drops, consult with your baby’s doctor first.
- Select slow-flow bottle nipples. Less air may enter your baby’s digestive tract with their milk if the nipple flow is adjusted.
- Change your baby’s formula. Before abandoning a favourite formula brand, consider trying the same formula in a ready-made formula version, which may produce less gas than the powdered sort.
- Experiment with your diet. If your breastfed baby is experiencing gas discomfort and you’ve exhausted all other options, it may be time to consider eliminating certain foods from your diet. Dairy goods and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli should be avoided.
While crying is natural for babies, as a first-time parent, determining what “normal” actually means can be difficult. The first step in learning how to quiet a crying baby is to approach the process as gently as possible, as getting fired up simply adds to the tension for both of you.
What to Do When the Baby Refuses to Stop From Crying
If a baby in your care won’t stop crying, ask a friend or relative for help or to look after the infant while you take a break. If all else fails, place the baby on their back in an empty crib (no loose blankets or stuffed animals), close the door, and check on the infant after 10 minutes.
Do anything to relax and calm down during those ten minutes. Wash your face, take deep breaths, or listen to music.
If nothing seems to be helping the infant, contact your doctor to discover if there is a medical explanation for the fussiness.
With additional report by Matt Doctor
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