Why Babies Cry and How to Soothe Them
Babies can't talk but still need to communicate, so crying becomes one of the primary ways they tell you how they are feeling.
Unfortunately, crying doesn't let you know exactly what is wrong. Here are the most common reasons babies cry and what you can do to help them feel better.
- Keep track of how often your baby is eating. You'll start to see a pattern, and you should be able to anticipate the next feeding time, so they don't cry.
- Babies will give you cues other than crying to let you know they're getting hungry. For example, they might start moving their head around like they're looking for a bottle, sucking on their hands or sticking their tongue out.
Too Hot or Cold
- We all want to be comfortable with the temperature. Babies are no different.
- A good rule of thumb is that they should wear as many layers as you are, perhaps one more if it's chilly in the house or outside.
Time for a Fresh Diaper?
- Check for wet diapers often. During the first few months, babies need a new diaper about as often as they eat.
- As any new parent can tell you, keep a lot of clean diapers and wipes available and be ready to change your baby often.
Keep Things Calm
- Too much activity around them can cause babies to cry.
- At home, keep noise levels to a minimum or retreat to a quiet place if your baby is agitated. When baby is someplace new, make sure familiar people and toys are available.
- Colic is defined as when a baby cries for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, for at least three or more weeks.
- Basically, colic means a baby cries more often than we expect them to. About one-fifth of all babies develop colic.
- There's no known reason why colic occurs. So, it is common for a pediatrician to recommend diagnosis by exclusion.
- If you're breastfeeding, consider your diet. Look at possible environmental causes, try new and different soothing techniques, such as bicycling the legs, rubbing baby's belly clockwise and giving your baby tummy time.
When to Call a Doctor
- If your baby has a fever, call your pediatrician immediately. A fever is an emergency for a baby two months or younger.
- Another reason to call the doctor is if your baby is spitting up or vomiting while crying (this can be a sign of reflux) or if you see color changes such as blue, gray or purple around their mouth.
- Babies will sometimes tense up when crying, even holding their breath, and turning red. That's okay. However, call your pediatrician immediately if you feel like your baby isn't breathing and is turning other colors, such as blue, gray or purple.
Constant crying is difficult for your baby and you. Try to ensure that you have someone to take over for a bit if it feels like too much. An hour away to regroup while your partner or a parent takes over can go a long way toward your peace of mind.