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Chances are, you have a crying infant in your arms and came here desperate, searching for answers about why babies cry…
Thankfully, I have the scoop!
For a new parent, it can be super overwhelming to not know how to help and what to do. Your instinct is to respond to the cry, but that doesn’t mean you always know why the cry started in the first place.
Your instinct is to respond to the cry, but that doesn’t mean you always know why the cry started in the first place.
After having 3 babies, I have realized that with a little time and attention, I can nail the reason every time and help.
“That’s nice”, you think, “but I don’t have that experience”…
We have a problem to solve!
Do you have a difficult time knowing whether your baby is hot or cold? Below, you`ll find a foolproof way to figure that out.
Have you checked the diaper, fed, rocked and tried everything, your baby is still crying? Keep scrolling, I have answers for you.
Ever sat wondering if you are doing it all wrong because your infant was clearly in pain yet you didn’t know how to ease it? Never fear, useful tips ahead.
Don`t forget, crying is how babies communicate. Crying is their words to express everything they feel, think, want or need.
I used to think I needed to shush every fuss my infant made. I am not a fan of letting babies crying it out, so I wanted to avoid that at all costs.
Slowly, however, I learned that to intently listen to my baby`s wails in my arms is beneficial, because if I listen and understand, I am more likely to be able to respond and help.
Knowledge is power.
So let’s see why do babies cry and how you can help!
This should be one of the first guesses when your baby starts crying, especially if you breastfeed. Keep in mind that human milk is digested pretty fast and it is possible that your newborn gets hungry sooner than you`d think.
Usually, other signs accompany the cry for food and by recognizing these, you can avoid the screaming disaster
Kelly from kellymom.com says:
Babies should be fed when they indicate hunger. Crying is a late indicator of hunger – breastfeeding is much easier for both mom and baby if mom is able to pick up on baby’s earlier hunger cues
Often, babies start out just making short little fussing sounds, giving you a heads up that their belly is empty.
Some babies are more demanding and downright shout for you to get moving.
After all, babies are aware that without food they can`t live.
Their instincts tell them that they are hungry and see no food, so they’d better call loud to ensure a fast response.
Hungry babies start sucking their hands, make smacking noises or turn their head side to side, trying to find something to latch onto (called rooting).
These are surefire signs that your little sweetie is ready to eat. This type of cry is also immediately silenced by receiving food…(now enjoy the quiet for a few minutes!)
Another fairly common reason for infant crying is simply being peopled out!
Think about a number of stimuli a baby receives in a day: lights, noises, new faces, unfamiliar sensations, unknown places to name a few.
They have to shut the world out often, in order to recover and process life.
When a baby is irritated, fussy and ready for a snooze, he often cries very forcefully just like when he is in pain, but if you look closely, there are no tears.
Others clues that signal tiredness are your little one rubbing her eyes and yawning.
These usually precede the loud cry and with time, you`ll learn to notice them and start for the crib before things escalate.
See, I told you knowledge is power!
Preventing parenting catastrophe by using what you know is a superpower.
There are many different sensations your baby will experience and you can fine-tune your ear to know which one you are hearing.
This type of cry is usually very sharp with lots of tears, often leaving a baby breathless for a few seconds, depending on the level and duration of pain.
The full force screaming is often accompanied by flexed limbs and closed eyes.
If your baby has gas pains, she may kick her legs and then pull them back up again in order to get rid of the air bubbles.
You can gently push on her belly and get an idea of whether your touch is making things worse.
Trying a massage, burping or going from standing to sitting a few times quickly will help relieve the cramping. Infant simethicone drops may also be useful.
Oh gosh, I remember those days!
My second baby was miserable after every feeding and consistently had awful bellyaches. I was starting to despair and run out of solutions.
My sister advised to stop eating dairy for two weeks and see if it improves his symptoms.
Now it was my turn to be miserable without cheese and ice cream, but I will say, after about a week I was able to tell a huge difference and after the full two weeks my little son was a different baby.
Whenever I accidentally ate dairy, we were back to the terrible bellyaches. In a few days, as his body got rid of it, he improved again.
It was plain as day to see that the diet change helped, so I was more willing to continue my diet just to keep him from being in so much pain.
It is amazing what a mother’s love makes you capable of. Aaaw, sometimes I want another one…(don`t tell my husband)
But I digress!
Some babies may be sensitive to soy as well, or vegetables such as peas, broccoli, beans, etc (pretty much anything that can wreak havoc on an adult`s digestive system too).
So if your infant struggles with gas often, accompanied by severe pain and doesn`t seem to respond well to medicine either, you may consider changing your diet if you are breastfeeding or switching the formula if bottle-feeding.
You can read more about tummy aches here.
A product I have found absolutely essential is Gerber Soothe. I only discovered this small bottle of liquid gold when I had my third.
Gerber Soothe claims to relieve tummy aches and it does so with a probiotic named L. Reuteri.
This is the only clinically proven probiotic to actually do what it claims: restore or create healthy gut flora. (You can read about why this is important here.)
Since his very first day of life, I gave my baby 5 drops of Gerber Soothe every single day for several months to establish healthy gut bacteria and cut down on belly aches.
He was THE BEST baby in the universe. I kid you not.
He barely had belly aches and never cried from pain during the first 2 months!
To be fair, I do think it was a combination of his personality, my experience, and confidence as a third timer, as well as the drops.
These drops may change your life!
Yes, even little babies have very particular thoughts on who should hold them or where they won’t lie down and they will express their overall preferences.
This type of crying often occurs without tears, because they are really just mad and frustrated.
Sometimes it’s just a constant fussing type of cry that won’t let off till you solve the underlying problem.
The baby may cry loudly, but she is in emotional distress, not so much in physical, in which case tears are the usual sign.
I disagree with a popular line of belief that you can spoil a baby and you should just ignore certain cries.
I believe in treating an infant as a small human who is capable and intelligent from the very beginning.
I will listen and consider his view. I may not be able to always do as he wants, but I can definitely talk to him about it.
Let’s put ourselves in the baby’s shoes for a sec:
You just ate and drifted off to sleep…
You`re full and comfortable, then somebody turns on a bright light, starts to undo your diaper with cold hands and lifts you up and down, wiping you with something wet…
Or consider this scenario: you love looking at your surroundings and found that little spot of sunshine on the wall the most fascinating thing ever…
Out of the blue, somebody grabs you and holds you up. All of a sudden, you don’t know where you are, where to look, what to think or how to react.
If you cringe as much as I do imagining what your baby must feel in these situations, there`s a solution.
Try talking your baby through what you are doing to him, so he isn’t in the predicament of being treated as a little object rather than a person.
This change in perspective will do miracles in how you and baby relate to each other: mutual respect starts developing, making a foundation for your future relationship.
You can read more about this perspective here.
Don’t underestimate your knowledge. It`s your power to prevent spiraling out of control.
Being Hot or Cold
This one is tricky, because a cold or overheated baby may not signal how she feels as clearly as she does with the other above mentioned needs.
Of course, if given a bath, an infant will definitely visibly shiver if cold, and cry the same irritated cry as when expressing dislike.
Other than bath time, she may fuss and seem uncomfortable, but it`s easy to assume that something else is going on than simply not liking the temperature.
The best way to check your baby`s temperature is to touch the nose and the back of the neck.
The temperature of those areas is a great indicator of how your baby feels.
Checking only the hands and feet may be inaccurate, as they could remain cold despite the fact that her nose and neck feels nice and warm.
Sometimes, babies just need to cry, because they want to let out their pent-up feelings and vent. (what, you too?)
We aren’t able to know exactly what they feel and think about during their early days, but they definitely have an emotional world and a stimulation threshold.
After you checked for all the possible reasons mentioned above and came up empty, it`s time to just listen.
Don`t be afraid to sit quietly, gently talk and rock your baby, while you listen to what he wants to tell you.
You may something like this:
“Sweetheart, it sounds like you need to have a nice long talk with mama about how you feel. I am here. I am listening.”
Sounds crazy? Well, when you have done everything and that cute little angel is still screaming her head off.
Won’t you try ANYTHING at this point?!
This approach just might revolutionize your parenting.
Not only will it help you stay calmer because engaging in a conversation will keep you distracted from panicking, it will also aid in treating your infant as a real person from the very beginning.
Sure, this takes lots of confidence and practice.
With my first, I wish somebody had told me that crying doesn’t necessarily mean emergency. They need to cry so I can hear what they have to say.
It takes confidence that you will be able to figure your baby out so you don’t start panicking. I promise you will get better and better at it!
Make no mistake, babies are incredibly intelligent and if you pay close attention, you`ll notice how well they communicate and how much they understand without ever uttering a word.
I keep repeating this so you remember:
Knowing yourself and the baby is power. Prevention by using knowledge is a parenting superpower.
I suggest breathing to calm yourself while you hold your crying baby and repeat this mantra:
“This is not an emergency. My baby is crying because he is telling me something.”
“I am his mother and I will understand him. I have ways to help him and I will figure out which one to use.”
If you can`t seem to get a grip on your frustration, definitely ask for help!
You can always let another person hold your little munchkin until you take a breather.
It`s okay to feel that way! Crying is exhausting and even stressful for a sleep-deprived inexperienced first-timer. (for a third timer too, who are we kidding?)
In these situations, taking a short break is all you need to be able to keep on keeping on. (make mental note for the future: she will be a teenager one day…)
Lastly, the reason why your baby cries may be:
None of these reasons
Sometimes, when answers don`t come easily and the solutions are hard to find, time is the only answer.
Starting at around 4 months, a baby`s stomach starts making more enzymes as he prepares for solid foods.
Often times, even the most difficult babies seem to improve just with time.
However, based on my experience with 3 little ones, I am pretty confident that with these tips you will be able to help your baby when she cries.
Also with time, you will grow into a confident, knowledgeable mother who uses her superpower!
In the comments, let me know which tip you found most useful and share how you helped your baby when crying!
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