Guest Post: The Reasons Why Babies Cry and Tips On How to Soothe Them

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It’s normal for babies to cry. It helps them develop their lungs and it is the only way they have of communicating. Some babies cry more than others. Some perfectly healthy babies can have daily crying spells that last a couple of hours, particularly during the first five months of their lives. For parents it can be an unnerving and exhausting experience. Trying to discover the reason your baby is crying requires patience along with a little trial and error. Through the process of elimination, you can rule out possible causes, starting with the most common reasons and working your way down the list.

The Checklist – Determining what your baby is trying to tell you

    • I’m hungry. For very young infants, this is the most common reason for crying. They need frequent, small feedings and will usually stop crying once their small stomachs are full.
    • I’m uncomfortable. Some babies will alert you as soon as their nappies need changing. They may also cry because they are lying in an uncomfortable position, or their sensitive skin is being irritated by scratchy fabric or labels in their clothing, or clothing that is too tight. If your baby does have sensitive skin then it’s worth contemplating purchasing an organic cot bed mattress which will be chemical free
    • I’m cold or too hot. Most babies are very sensitive to cold. They like to be warm but not too hot. Generally, an ambient temperature of around 18 degrees C / 64 degrees F is ideal. Touch the skin on their abdomen to gauge how cold or hot they are. Simply added or removing clothes will solve the problem.
    • I want to be held. Some babies need more close physical contact than others.
    •  I’m tired. Just like anyone else, babies can become over stimulated and unable to settle down. A cranky, fussy, overtired baby will usually settle down in calm, quiet surroundings.
    • I’m in pain. Gas pains are common as babies have a tendency to swallow air when feeding or crying. If you suspect gas, try burping the baby or laying the infant on its back and moving the legs in a pedaling motion. Check for signs of teething by rubbing your finger over the infant’s gums. Also be alert for signs of fever, congestion, rashes, etc. and contact your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
    • Probably the most difficult thing for parents to deal with is when they have run through the checklist only to conclude their baby is crying for no apparent reason.  Their bundle of joy has turned into a screaming banshee and they are at a loss on how to console the infant. Here are a few tips on soothing a crying baby that have worked for other parents.
    • Get moving. Many babies are soothed by motion. Rocking them, putting them in a baby swing, walking around the house holding them, taking them out for a walk in their pushchairs, or for a ride in the car, will often do the trick. When filling the new baby’s room with nursery furniture it’s worth leaving a space for a big comfy nursing chair near to the cot to ease the burden of the night time feeding routine.
    • Try sound and music. Many babies respond well to music, particularly if it has a rhythmic, regular beat, reminiscent of the sound of their mother’s heartbeat while they were in the womb. They also can be soothed by white noise. Try placing the infant child close to a running washer, dryer or dishwasher and if it works, consider purchasing a white noise machine.
    • Try hydrotherapy or massage. If you have a baby that enjoys bath-time, they will likely be soothed by a warm bath and the sound of running water. Gently massaging the baby’s back and tummy can also be very calming.
    • Remain calm. This can seem like a tall order, particularly when you are dealing with a baby who won’t stop crying. But babies will pick up on your anxiety and tension and it only serves to increase their agitation. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break; ask for help and let someone else look after the infant for a time. And remember, this too shall pass. As your baby grows and develops new ways of communicating, the crying will become a thing of the past.

About the Author:
James Anderson is a proud Dad of 2, apple geek, photographer and daddy blogger. James has created and managed his own blog for a few years now. James enjoys writing articles for mums to be and parents of young children and currently writes for Baby Planet who are a leading UK retailer of baby equipment including pushchairs, nursery furniture and cots.

This was a guest post as part of The Brand New Baby Event.

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