Checklist -Common Reasons Baby may Cry and How to Help


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If you’re a new mom, it might take a while for you to accept that babies cry, period. It’s their most efficient means of communication; the best way they know to reach out to you, to demand something, to let you know something isn’t right. Even though all this crying might be overwhelming in the beginning (although, let’s be honest, a crying bout is never really anyone’s cup of tea), a new mom will soon learn to differentiate between the various types of crying, and be able to soothe babies more quickly and effectively.

In the meantime, whenever you feel at a loss, you might want to go over these common reasons why babies cry. After a while, you’ll learn to go through them one by one when your little ones’ start on the acapella, checking away and working by deduction. In fact, this is the order I usually go through them:

  1. They want you to hold them.

Sometimes all that babies need is just you: your warmth, your arms, your smell, your attention, your presence.

 

What to do?

You’re the most important thing in your baby’s life. You’re their only anchor in this incredibly overwhelming new place they’re in. So forget everything else and be present. Plus, this is the easiest reason for you to check. If your baby’s crying, hold him – if he doesn’t stop crying after a while, then it’s probably something else that’s bothering him.

 

  1. They’re hungry.

This is perhaps the most common reason if your baby’s a newborn. Small stomachs that can’t hold plenty, get emptied quite quickly.

 

What to do?

If you’re breastfeeding on demand, whip out that boob and let it work its magic. If you’re formula-feeding and it isn’t yet time for another feed, either try to keep baby entertained for longer or opt for offering an earlier feed.

 

  1. They need a diaper change.

You can’t really blame a baby for complaining about a wet or soiled diaper, especially if their skin is irritated.

 

What to do?

Not all babies are the same: some will sit in a dirty diaper for hours, whilst others’ skin will start crawling the minute they wet themselves. Make a quick check, and if you find your tots are wet, help them feel fresher as soon as possible. They’re already trying to get to grips with a million different new things; they could do without the irritatingly wet distraction.

 

  1. They need to sleep.

The more tired babies get, the harder it may become for them to drift off to sleep. Plus, it might be the case that they don’t really want to sleep, but they desperately need to.

 

What to do?

Try to learn what the best way of winding down your babies is. Try swaddling, rocking, lullabies, white noise or comfort nursing till you get an idea of what does the trick with your little ones. A great way of promoting sleep is through a bedtime routine: bath, feed, bed, for example.

 

  1. They’re either too hot or too cold.

Our little fully-dependent bundles of joy can’t really take off a layer of clothing or put on a jersey if they’re feeling either too hot or too cold. But they do know how to cry in the hopes of getting you to do that for them.



What to do?

Check your baby’s body temperature by feeling his chest. If it’s too hot and sweaty, either remove a layer of clothing or bedding, or put him in a cooler place. If you feel his chest is a bit on the cold side, try bundling him or cuddling him to provide warmth.

 

  1. They have stomach or tummy issues.

There’s a myriad of upsetting possibilities here. Your little ones might have gas, colic, reflux, constipation, or they might simply need to burp.

 

What to do?

The easiest place for you to start is by trying to burp your baby. Regardless of whether you’ve already burped him after his feed, your little one might have swallowed air during a bout of hiccups or crying. It won’t hurt to give him a pat on the back. If it that doesn’t do it, and you suspect your baby’s suffering from gas or colic, try to comfort him with warmth or by holding him in different positions, checking which ones work best for him. Whenever I suspect my baby’s trying to poop but is finding it difficult (normally I see him straining to no avail, or even grunting), I prop him up on a pillow, or I hold him up, wait a little, and voila’, we’re off to the nappy changer.

 

  1. They either want more stimulation or they’re over-stimulated.

You can’t expect a baby to lie down in the same place for hours on end without getting bored. Some do, but some need constant entertaining from your end. On the other hand, if you’re offering them too much stimulation they might get a frustrating sensory overload. So while a whole bunch of family members passing your baby from one hand to the other, all taking selfies, all trying to be the first to make your baby smile…while this might be too much for your little one, one-to-one stimulation with his favourite person – you – might be just the right amount of stimulation he needs.

 

What to do?

Keep baby entertained, but check for signs of frustration from oncoming over-stimulation. It’s safer to steer clear from commotion (although some babies seem to be thrive on chaos) and focus on one-to-one interaction. Take your baby for a walk, play with him, read him a book, or delight yourselves in a conversation of coos, oohs and aahs.

 

  1. They’re uncomfortable.

Apart from tummy and stomach troubles, your babies might be uncomfortable for a whole number of different reasons, ranging from a diaper rash to one of your lost hairs wrapped too tight around one of their toes.

 

What to do?

A quick check should do it. Check for skin irritation. If it’s eczema your baby’s suffering from, make sure to keep the skin supple and soft. Use moisturizers and natural, breathable materials like organic cotton. Sometimes it’s a clothes tag that’s bothering them. Keep an eye out for the little things.

 

  1. They aren’t feeling well.

If you still can’t make out what’s bothering your baby, and you’ve exhausted all the above probabilities, then consider the possibility your baby’s sick.

 

What to do?

Head for the thermometer. If your baby’s temperature is high, call up his doctor. If it isn’t, and you still have a hunch that something’s not quite right – especially if he’s been crying non-stop for hours – a call to your GP or paediatrician won’t hurt.

 

 

 

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