On an average newborn cry for one to four hours a day and for a lot of reasons. Don’t worry that if you can’t figure out why your baby is crying or how to stop the tears. Don’t take the tears personally. If your baby’s crying is causing you stress or anxiety, take a deep breath, and try to relax.
WHY DO BABIES CRY?
Crying is a baby’s way of communicating that he or she is hungry, tired, uncomfortable, or simply has had too much stimulation for one day.
- Hunger: Most newborns eat every few hours round the clock and usually wake for feedings during the night. Some babies remain quiet while many babies cry out loudly when there hunger strikes. They may be so hungry that they might even gulp air along with milk, which can cause trapped air inside the stomach and more crying.
- Discomfort: Just like adults, babies like to get a comfortable feel. Some common causes for the baby’s discomfort are a soiled diaper, abdominal discomfort due to indigestion or gas, temperature ( if the baby is too hot or cold ), or tight and itchy clothing.
- Loneliness, fear, or boredom: Sometimes, your baby might be in need of your attention and a little tender care is all that is needed. A baby seeking tender care usually calms down by seeing you, hearing you, feeling you or being cuddled. They like to see and hear parents and like hearing their heartbeats.
- Overtiredness or overstimulation: A newborn baby usually sleeps for 16 hours a day. Crying becomes a natural way for your baby to release tension. Too much of noise or movement or visual stimulation may turn a baby into tears. Some babies cry for no reason at a certain fixed period of the day.
There are a few “crying cues” that can help you understand the reason for a baby cry.
- A hungry cry might be short and low pitched.
- A cry of pain might be a sudden, long, high-pitched shriek.
- If your baby is making lip movements or rooting, hunger might be the problem.
- If your baby is rubbing his or her eyes, he or she might be tired and in need of some sleep.
- If your baby hears a loud noise and begins to cry, he or she may simply be startled.
HOW TO COMFORT A CRYING BABY?
OK. So my baby is crying. Now, what do I do? Sometimes, the cause is obvious and you can quickly remedy the situation. In other cases, you may have to experiment with a couple of calming techniques until you find out what your baby likes — what brings comfort to him or her. Keep in mind that babies are different. What works for one baby doesn’t always work for another.
- Check baby’s diaper: Checking your baby’s diaper by doing a quick examination. A dry and neat diaper may be the solution to the problem.
- See if the baby is hungry: If your baby is hungry, he or she will likely stop crying when you offer the breast or a bottle. Keep in mind, however, that crying is a late sign of hunger that can interfere with feeding. You might need to calm your baby before he or she can begin feeding. To avoid this situation, try to respond to early signs of hunger, such as lip-smacking, rooting, facial grimaces, or fussing. If your baby begins to gulp during the feeding, take a break. During and after each feeding, take time to burp your baby.
- Look for signs of discomfort: Feel your baby’s hands and feet. If baby seems too hot or too cold, add or remove a layer of clothing. If your baby is cold, a warm bath might help calm him or her. You might also remove his or her clothing to see if tight elastic or irritating material might be the cause of the tears. If the culprit is air or gas, try to burp the baby or gently massage the tummy. If your child remains warm, check his or her temperature to make sure he or she isn’t running a fever.
- Caress baby: A gentle massage or light pats on the back can often help soothe a crying baby. You might do this while lying baby tummy-down across your lap.
- Keep baby moving: Babies generally like movement. Sometimes, just that feeling of motion can help soothe the baby. You might rock baby or walk through the house. Keeping safety precautions in mind, try placing baby in an infant swing or vibrating infant seat, or experiment with an infant sling. If the weather permits, head outdoors with the stroller or a baby carrier. You might even want to buckle up baby in the car seat and go for a ride in the car.
- Sing or play music Quietly: singing or humming a song to your baby may calm him or her and stop the tears. You might even play soft, soothing music. White noise — such as a recording of ocean waves — or even the monotonous sound of an electric fan or vacuum cleaner in a nearby room sometimes can help a crying baby relax. Babies often like soothing, muffled sounds similar to the amniotic fluid waves or pulsing sounds they heard in the womb.
- Let baby suck: Offer a clean finger or pacifier. Sucking is a natural reflex. For many babies, it’s a comforting, soothing activity.
- Seek quiet: If your baby is overly tired or has had too much stimulation, move to a calmer environment. At times, baby just needs to get away from the noisy environment.
- Let the baby cry it out: If you’ve tried everything and your baby is still upset, consider letting your baby cry it out. While listening to your baby cry can be agonizing, keep in mind that sometimes babies cry to get rid of excess energy. And some babies can’t fall asleep without crying. Your baby might go to sleep more quickly if he or she is left to cry for a little bit. Be sure to put your baby in a safe place — such as the crib. If you’ve fed, burped, and changed your baby and he or she appears otherwise all right, it’s OK to let your baby cry for 10 or 15 minutes in the crib.