Crying is your baby’s only way of communicating with you. They are trying to tell you something and it could be a number of things, so use this checklist to make sure you have everything covered:
- Are they hungry? As you bond with your baby you will be able to learn the difference between their cries, and a hungry one should be easy to fix.
- Do they need a nappy change? Even we get irritable when we’re uncomfortable for a toilet stop.
- They may just want a cuddle. When they’re upset they won’t develop any bad habits from being held, so don’t worry about spoiling your baby just by comforting them, enjoy these precious cuddles.
- Are they cold or overheating? Check the temperature of their chest, or the back of their neck because their hands and feet tend to feel quite cold even when they’re hot. You may need to de-layer them or wrap them up some more.
- Are they crying more in the evening? They might be overtired so make sure they are getting enough sleep during the day.
- Are they poorly? If they are feeling unwell they may cry less, and it will sound different to normal. If they refuse food and start to lose weight, take them to the doctor because weight loss will affect your baby’s health.
- Crying after feeding? They may have trapped wind, so don’t forget to burp them during or after feeds. If they still don’t settle they may have colic.
Did you know that when babies are born they aren’t able to produce tears? This is because when they’re newborn their tear ducts are primarily for keeping their eyes moist. It is only when they are a couple of months old that they actually start producing tears. It is hard to ignore a baby’s cry, even if it’s not your own. Looking after a crying baby can be stressful, but you have to remember that crying is a normal part of their development and they are not being naughty when they cry. Make a plan for times when it gets too much and you feel upset or angry. If you think you might lose control, put your baby down in a safe place and just walk away for a short break.
Babies need a lot of soothing when they’re distressed. Here are some ways to help calm them:
- Hold, rock or keep them close in a sling
- Sing, put the radio on, or some white noise like the vacuum
- Take them for a walk or a drive
- Try offering a dummy as some babies can comfort themselves with a dummy
- Warm bath or a massage with coconut or vegetable oil
- Pass them along to your partner, family member or even a friend; everyone needs a break sometimes, so don’t hesitate to ask
If your baby’s crying is affecting your relationship with them, or even between you and your partner, then please seek some help; people are always there for you.