One thing is for sure, your little bundle of joy will cry. It will happen over and over again, and will be for various reasons. It is how they communicate their needs until they are able to speak.
This can be very challenging in the beginning especially for new parents and even experienced parents leaving you almost frustrated scrambling for ways to comfort your baby. It is just the way it is at this stage, do not think you are doing anything wrong, with time and practice you will be able to differentiate his cries and know the best and trusted way to soothe that bundle of joy. Most times all it takes is a diaper change, a feeding, a burp or just a gentle massage or cuddle to get your sunshine all smiles and ready to play again.
To become an expert at deciphering your little one’s needs and knowing which way to handle it, we first need to discuss the most common reasons that babies cry. They include:
Some babies don’t waste time in letting you know they have finally completed no 1 or no 2(you know what I mean?). Lol. They won’t stop crying until the soiled diaper is changed. A soiled diaper is usually one of the most common reasons why babies cry. So, try checking your baby’s diaper when he starts to cry to rule out dirty diaper or change it, as a dirty diaper left for too long can lead to a diaper rash. Read our article on diaper rash here .
This is by far the most common reason babies cry. Even as adults, we feel horrible when we are really hungry, let alone the little one that doesn’t know how to effectively communicate this need. It helps to recognise the signs of hunger early on so you can start feeding your little one before he starts crying. Some hunger signs include lip smacking, putting their hands to their mouth, fussing, turning their mouth towards your hand when you touch their cheek.
Feeling sleepy or wants to be held
After being fed, changed and played with and your little one remains fussy or just won’t sit still, then just maybe he wants to sleep and is over tired or simply wants to be held. To comfort him, try swaddling your baby in a receiving blanket, singing him a song, rocking him or wearing your baby in a front pack carrier and walking around. Babies enjoy the feeling of closeness and the rhythm of your steps and before long they become less fussy, start yawning or sucking and then doze off.
Stomach upset from colic and gas
Sometimes when your baby is crying inconsolably for about three hours a day, at least three days a week and at least three weeks in a row, the most likely culprit is the unforgiving colic . The next will be gas, especially if he starts crying right after eating and doesn’t have a wet diaper. Consult with a doctor before you give any medication to soothe the tummy pain. To help your little get relief from colic or gas, try the “colic carry”. Lay your baby on his tummy on your forearm, cradling the head and using the other hand to stabilize him and rub his back. Another way to help relieving gas is laying him on his back and pushing his knees up to his tummy for about 10 secs like a bicycling motion. Try holding him upright, with his abdomen on your shoulder.
Needs to burp
Babies swallow air when they breastfeed or suck from a bottle which may cause some level of discomfort if the trapped air isn’t released. While not all babies get to burp or like to burp, helping your little one burp might be all the help he needs. Try putting him on his tummy for a few minutes or carry him on your shoulder and rub his back.
This is one of the really not fun reasons our babies cry. Teething pain can be painful for little ones and make them fussy. Some babies can endure this pain rather well and may not require a lot of help from you. To know if your little one is teething, try feeling his gums with your finger, you may feel the hard nub of an emerging tooth. Giving him something cold to nibble on can help ease the pain.
If you’ve tried almost all you know to do to comfort your baby and he still won’t stop crying, then just maybe he’s coming down with something. Check his temperature and watch out for other signs of illness. Also a sick baby’s cry is usually very different from other cries caused by maybe hunger or frustration. If your baby’s cry is very distinct and doesn’t sound right, see a doctor.
Too hot or too cold
Babies especially newborns like to be cozied up and just warm and so might protest by crying if they feel too cold. If your baby feels chilly during a diaper change or after a bath, crying is often a go-to default mode. So, try covering him up wearing one more layer than you need to be comfortable.
Something painful and hard to notice
Sometimes your baby can be fussy and cry because of something pretty hard to spot like a thread or strand of hair wrapped tightly around a toe or finger, cutting off circulation. Some other babies are very sensitive to things like certain fabric and can be very picky,preferring ot be held in a certain way to be fed or played with. So,try any of these if your baby cries and you can’t pinpoint the reason.
Other ways to comfort a baby
If you’ve checked diaper, burp, food, strand of hair tied somewhere, sleep and nothing seems to work, try giving your little one a massage. Massaging your baby can be a relaxing ritual for both of you and is also a good way to calm your little one’s cries. Use a gentle touch, just firm enough not to be ticklish and stroke his chest from the center outward and make small circles. Also, try encouraging sucking. Help him find his thumb, fist or finger, or offer one of yours. Try rocking him in a chair, a vibrating bouncy seat or an automatic cradle. Sing a song or just go outside for a change or scenery. The motion may be all he needs to calm down and fresh air can also help cranky babies.