Why is Your Baby Crying?

Why does your baby cry so much? Well, it is his only voice; his only way to communicate to you that he has a need. (A newborn will only be crying for needs, not for wants. Tell that to your mother the next time she is telling you that you are spoiling your baby!) There are several common culprits for your baby’s crying. As he gets older, your infant’s crying will change for different needs and you will be able to recognize them. Until then, it is good to have a checklist to go over. (The order of needs will be listed from most common to least common.)

1. Hunger- Try to assume, at least while baby is very young, that hunger is one of his biggest motivations in life. He really won’t be doing much besides eating, sleeping, and pooing. He will be pretty boring for a month or two, actually. Try offering baby some food, especially if it has been a few hours since he has eaten. If you are breastfeeding, and hopefully you are, offering your breast will also be a source of comfort when he is upset, not just a source of food.

2. Diaper Issues- In the old days, when a baby would bellow loudly, mothers would instantly check to see if a diaper pin was sticking baby. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. (Even those using cloth diapers can use an alternative to pins.) So, that leaves most diaper issues to be the need the need of a change. Soiled diapers can get very uncomfortable for some babies, although some don’t complain, and younger babies soil diapers a lot! Also, a diaper issue that could be making baby cry is a diaper rash, in which case cream should be applied and diapers should be changed all the more frequently.

3. Temperature- Babies have just left the best climate controlled area in the world- his mother’s womb. Anytime a baby feels too hot or too cold, he may cry about it. Check to make sure you aren’t over bundling baby. Remember, he should be dressed to the same comfort level you are at. It is a misconception that babies need to be wrapped up in layers. In fact, that can be a risk of SIDS. How can you tell if he is too hot or cold? Feel his feet and feel his tummy to check. Obviously, if baby is shivering or sweating, you should knowâÂ?¦hopefully he won’t be.

4. Comfort- It cannot be overstressed how much physical bonding is important to a baby, especially when he is a newborn. Nursing can offer a lot of skin contact between mother and baby, which is important. He may also cry if he just needs to be held. You can NEVER hold a baby too much. Again, ignore your aunties and mother if you are told this. In fact, the more you nurture baby in his first year, the more independent he will become later because he knows he has a good support system and he has a higher self esteem.

5. Sleep- Newborns will most likely drift off easily as soon as they are tired (much of the time before they even finish their meal). However, an older baby may find it a little harder to fall asleep and will become fussy when he is tired. This is especially true once he is getting closer to the half-year mark. He will be hitting so many milestones and be so interested in staying awake, that he will begin to fight sleep.

6. Colic- Colic. The word strikes fear into all of us parents. An unfortunate minority of babies will have a three or four-month streak in which NOTHING seems to make them happy and they cry for several hours at a time. This will most likely happen at night, when parents are at their most exhausted. It is hard to console a parent of a colicky child by saying, “It won’t last forever”. For them, every night seems like forever.

Just try to console baby the best he can- easier said than done, as the sound of our little ones upset is so terrible. We all want to make it better right away. If you do have a colicky baby, try taking turns consoling him with daddy/mommy. Try not to lose patience and if you feel you are losing patience, set baby down for just a minute and walk away. Collect your thoughts for a minute, take a deep breath, and then go back to baby. By the way, it really won’t last forever.

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