If youve never handled a newborn before, there might be quite a lot for you to understand about a crying baby. To help you get there faster, here are 7 common situations when babies cry, and some helpful tips to soothe a crying baby.
Last Updated: 22 October 2020
The first days of looking after a newborn are not going to be glossy. You have a tiny, live human in your hands and you ought to help her stay healthy and feel good. It’s definitely not rocket science – well, not until you become an expert in decoding what your little baby is trying to tell you with her cries.
Why do babies cry?
A simple, straightforward answer is that they are uncomfortable with something and they are unable to express what it is and how it feels like. Fortunately babies cry, for that is your only clue that something is not okay with them.
The sound of a newborn crying may be one of the most intolerable sounds to an adult which can make you feel helpless and panicky sometimes. In a few weeks, however, the untold connection between you and your baby shall become smooth and you will know exactly what to do when your baby cries. Until then, keep the following checklist safe to understand your crying baby.
Is your baby wet?
One of the most common reasons for baby crying is a wet diaper. It certainly is a discomfort to her. And she wants it to be changed immediately. A cold weather may add to the discomfort of a wet diaper. You may want to quickly turn off the air conditioner or close the windows to prevent your crying baby from cold air.
Is your baby hungry?
If a wet diaper is not the reason, your baby is most likely hungry. Newborns need to be fed frequently; once every two hours. If your baby has been sleeping for long hours, she might wake up crying for a feed. Most often feeding your baby would calm her down.
Is your baby sleepy?
One of the less known facts is that sleeping is a learned behavior for a newborn. It may take a few weeks to months for babies to go to sleep without a fuss. Most newborns need to be put to sleep by swaddling, rocking or playing or singing a soft lullaby. A crying baby maybe feeling sleepy but unable to doze off in which case, a gentle attention will help.
Is your baby tired?
Rarely, it may be the case that your baby is tired. On occasions when your baby is handled by more people than usual or when your baby is exposed to unusually loud noises for long hours, she might feel upset. If you sense that your baby is crying because of the discomfort in the surrounding environment, take her away to a quiet room. Help her soothe down by taking a stroll across the room or swaddling.
Is your baby unwell?
When babies are unwell they are sure going to cry. If you cannot find an apparent reason for your baby crying, check if she has a temperature, if she is able to breathe comfortably, if she is arching her back as a sign of a tummy discomfort, or if a button or zip on her dress is causing discomfort.
Is your baby teething?
Newborns in general are not going to have teething, but there are rare chances that teething begins early in some babies. Though it is not a thing of serious concern, it may be difficult to identify why your baby is crying if this is the case. Check if there is a visible teething symptom, and perhaps you can take guidance from your pediatrician about how to handle an early teething.
Is your baby colicky?
If babies older than two weeks cry incessantly for long hours, colic can be a reason. The thumb rule to diagnose a colic baby is that your baby cries for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for at least three weeks. It might seem your baby has been crying most of the time when he or she is awake. If you suspect that your baby is colicky, it can be helpful to talk with your doctor about your baby’s crying behavior.
Most often, the mother or the primary caretaker of the baby would understand why the baby cries. However, remember that a crying baby who doesn’t seem to calm down for a long period of time needs to be taken to a doctor to identify the cause.