In the first year of your baby’s life, his primary way of communicating with you will be via crying. In the beginning, it will be difficult to understand why your baby is crying. Is it a cry because he is hungry? sleepy? cold? dirty? uneasy?
Crying is definitely his way of expressing his needs and catching your attention.
After the first couple of weeks of birth, you will be able to pick up the cues on what your baby’s cry means. Attending to your baby’s cry will only comfort him and he will know that he can turn to you for any of his needs.
Why Does Your Baby Cry?
Here are some of the main reasons for newborn baby crying at night:
One of the main reasons your baby cries is to express hunger.
- Your baby may show you a couple of the below mentioned signs of hunger before crying.
- Look out for licking lips, sucking hand or thumb and being fussy.
Another common reason your baby cries is to tell you he is sleepy. Unlike adults, babies can’t put themselves to sleep and therefore need you to put them to sleep.
- Your baby may also show you a few signs of sleepiness before crying.
- Look out for yawns, rubbing eyes, rubbing ears and lack of interest in playing.
3. Dirty Diaper:
Some babies don’t enjoy rolling in their poop and would therefore throw a tantrum crying when they want to be cleaned.
- Check if your baby needs to be changed into a fresh diaper.
- In case your baby has not pooped, but the diaper feels heavy with pee it’s time for a change anyway.
4. Tummy Ache:
Most babies experience a tummy ache due to colic pain or gas during the first few weeks of life. In some cases, this may easily extend till the fifth month.
Colic pain is almost mysterious in its behavior and can leave your baby sleepless and crying for long hours especially at night or late evening.
- You can also regularly massage your baby’s tummy with a light hand in circular clockwise motions to ease the pain.
- If your baby suffers from colic pain, discuss it with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician may recommend oral drops to reduce the pain for your baby.
Once in a while, your baby may also have a tummy ache due to gas pain.
- To relieve your baby from gas, lay him on his back and move his legs in a gentle cycling motion, pushing his legs lightly against his tummy as you do so.
- If your baby has started solid food, avoid giving gaseous food for a few days till his tummy settles.
- In case your baby continues to have gas, discuss with your pediatrician.
- Your baby could also have other tummy troubles besides gas and colic pain like constipation, reflux, abdominal pain or milk allergy.
5. Unable To Burp:
Babies tend to swallow air when they breastfeed or bottle feed and if they don’t burp it out, they tend to feel uncomfortable.
- Hold your baby upright and rub his back after a feed to help burp.
- You can also try to make your baby sit and rub his back to help him burp.
- You can also try these other methods to burp by clicking here.
- It is mandatory that your baby burp, as it will ease any discomfort and should get him to stop crying. It will also prevent baby from spitting up milk.
[ Read: How To Burp A Baby ]
6. Too Cold Or Hot:
The general rule of the thumb would be to cover your baby in just one extra layer than yourself to keep them warm and comfortable.
- You may be swaddling your newborn baby. Ensure you don’t make him too warm with too much extra covering.
- If the weather is cold where you are staying, your baby may protest by crying during a diaper change or while changing clothes too. Keep the room warm and also try and distract your baby with toys during diaper changes.
- If your baby does not like a cold wipe while changing his diaper, you could consider buying a wipe warmer available in the market.
- Though babies don’t tend to cry when it gets too hot for them, ensure your baby is not too hot or does not break out into a sweat.
- In summer months, keep the clothing light and cover him with a thin blanket while sleeping. Ensure you use a blanket for baby only while you are awake and can supervise. Do not use a blanket at night, as it could lead to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) due to choking or smothering.
- If you are switching on the air conditioner, keep the temperature at 25°C to 26°C.
7. Needs To Be Held:
Your baby will constantly demand a lot of hugging, cuddling and physical touch and all you need to do as a parent is give in to these demands.
- Your baby will be comforted with your touch, voice and heartbeat.
- Hold your baby close to your heart, sway with him and sing to him, all these will only console your crying baby.
- There is no such thing as spoiling your baby by picking him up the moment he starts crying. He is a baby after all. So go on and give your baby those infinite hugs and kisses.
Some babies experience a lot of pain around the time the first tooth has to sprout.
- Your baby may cry inconsolably while going through this phase that can occur anywhere from 4 months to 1 year of age.
- Check for teething by placing your hand on your baby’s gums. If it feels extremely hard, you know your baby’s first tooth is about to pop out soon.
- Also look out for chewing on all toys, drooling, gum swelling, refusing food and loose motions.
- Provide your baby with a teething ring to chew on, which may relieve him of some pain.
- If your baby has started solids, you can also give your baby little cold yoghurt.
- If the teething pain persists, you can check with your pediatrician for a pain relief gel to numb the gums.
[ Read: Baby Teeth Age ]
9. Needs A Change Of Activity:
Babies are constantly being exposed to new things in their life – new sounds, lights, people, objects etc. Over or under exposure can cause your baby to cry.
- Sometimes your baby may have had too much and all he needs is some quiet time.
- Take your baby to a quiet room, with low lighting and soft music and help your baby calm down.
- On the other hand, an exploring baby may constantly want to be on the move, look at new things and explore new objects.
- While this can be taxing on you as a new parent, try and take your baby out for regular walks or activities with other babies.
- A change of atmosphere will do you good too.
10. Feeling Unwell:
Your baby maybe trying to convey through his cry that something is wrong.
- Check his body temperature with a thermometer.
- Check the diaper area for rashes.
- Touch his ears to see if it bothers him, could be a sign of an ear infection.
- This cry may sound a little different than the other cries, so go with your motherly instincts and call your pediatrician if you feel the need to.
- If your baby still seems to be crying, don’t be too hard on yourself, sometimes it is very difficult to really tell why your baby is crying.
- Your baby may cry even if he is generally bored or for no real reason.
- Just be there to comfort your baby and give him the warmth he needs.
[ Read: Baby Bath ]
10 Effective Ways On How To Stop Baby Crying:
We have provided you 10 simple ways on how to soothe a crying baby, here they are:
Sometimes, a comfortable swaddle is all it takes.
- Your newborn baby may need the snug and warm feeling he experienced in the womb.
- Swaddling him while sleeping will make him feel this way.
2. Sway and Sing:
Hold your baby in your arms and sway and sing. This action will comfort your baby along with hearing you voice.
- Don’t bother if you’re the not the best of singer, your baby doesn’t really care, for him you’re a Singing Star.
- You can even speak to him in a soft voice. Hearing your rhythmic voice will help him calm down.
- Alternately, you can also play some soothing, calming music in low volume. Ensure you don’t shake your baby too much while swaying.
3. Shush In Ears:
Swaddle your baby and hold in your arms.
- Now shush into your darling’s ears to help stop crying.
- The sound of shush will calm him down, giving the feeling of still being in the womb.
4. Daddy Love:
Sometimes all your baby really wants is some daddy love, and you may be surprised that he immediately calms down.
- Don’t be disheartened that you were not able to calm your baby down.
- A change of hands is good for both, the baby and you. Take a break and relax.
[ Read: Newborn Tips For Dad ]
5. Take A Car Ride:
The steady moving action in the car is very similar to how baby felt in the womb.
- A quick car ride may help calm your baby down.
- Ensure you place your baby in a car seat and strap him in before you drive out.
6. Strap On Your Baby Carrier:
Babies love being close to your heart.
- It helps to soothe your baby listening to your heartbeat and feeling your touch.
- It’s what he heard for 9 months so it immediately tends to soothe your baby down.
7. Massage & Bath:
Try giving your baby a nice body and head massage to calm him down.
- Use long strokes to massage your baby and help him relax.
- Usually when babies hit key milestones of learning how to sit, crawl and walk, their muscles tend to hurt.
- A massage followed by a nice warm water bath will help him relax and relieve his muscles of any ache.
- Combing his hair after a bath with a soft brush can also make him sleepy.
[ Read: How To Massage A Baby ]
8. Rock Him In A Baby Swing:
If you have a baby swing, try putting your baby in the swing to calm him down. The soft rocking motion and light music may soothe him and he could even fall asleep!
When your baby just can’t stop crying, show him something new to distract him.
- It could be a new toy, a new sound, a pet or something old shown to him in a new manner.
- Distracting him will make him forget why he was crying in the first place!
10. Some Other Ways:
Switch on your hair dryer – the sound of a hair dryer may amuse him and calm him down.
- Turn on the vacuum machine, the jarring sound of the vacuum cleaner may tend to calm him down.
- Step outside. Some fresh air and sound of birds chirping may do wonders for your baby when he is crying.
- Crying is an integral part of a baby’s life. The good news is that it tends to reduce after the first 3 months of life. By then you would have a little idea about why your baby is crying.
While there is no one single method which works to soothe your baby, over a period of time you will know a couple of them which work well for your baby. Once you have figured that out, try and stick to them. Changing your method every 5 minutes will only get your baby and you more anxious when it’s not working.
For example, if you are shushing your baby’s ear, do it continuously for at least 5-7 minutes, before you shift your method to something new.
The key is to stay calm. If you get frustrated, your baby will pick up on your vibes and not be able to calm down himself. If you do tend to get impatient or hyper, ask for help to calm your baby down. Once you are calm you can take over again.
If nothing seems to be working, speak to your pediatrician to detect an underlying problem or infection.
Let us know which techniques worked to calm your baby down the most.
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