How to Calm a Crying Baby? Complete Guide to Reasons & Solutions
There are not enough books that can ever prepare you for motherhood as much as actually living through motherhood with a newborn. While reading books and taking classes can help with the basics of what you MAY expect, but every baby is different. Here is what I’ve learned as a mother of two toddlers on why babies cry and what to expect.
Reasons Babies Might Cry
Babies communicate by crying and newborns may reach their crying peak in the first 6 weeks. In general, keeping in mind that all babies are different, time spent crying will start to decline. Understanding why a child might be crying and finding solutions to assist is extremely important. Research reports the first three months, also called the fourth trimester for mothers, is the most likely reason to explain why babies are extra fussy and crying during this time. Babies are inclined to express their needs and emotions differently in the way they cry. Decoding those cries can help you find solutions on how to help your baby.
Why Babies May Be Crying and What to Look Out For
- Dirty Diaper: If your baby’s crying is whiny and has a pattern of short repetitions, like the sound “uh-uh, uh-uh” this may signify annoyance or discomfort. Crying in general can mean that your baby might have a wet or dirty diaper. In my experience whenever my baby cried, I always checked their diaper first.
- Hungry: Hunger is one of the most common reasons babies cry. If your baby’s cry is a low-pitched, rhythmic and repetitive along with them rooting for your breast or putting fingers in your mouth then this might possibly mean they’re hungry. Also, listen for a “neh” sound in the cry.
- Hurt: If your baby’s cry is high-pitched accompanied by an arching of their back, and crying more than usual then this might signify that something is hurting them. When in doubt contact your pediatrician to have your baby seen immediately for advice.
- Tired: If your baby’s cry is a whiny, continuous cry that increases with intensity accompanied by yawning and rubbing their eyes then they might be tired or uncomfortable. Also, listen for the “owh” sound in the cry. Attempt putting them down for a nap in a safe place.
- Constipated: If your baby strains, cries and is extremely fussy while making a bowel movement this can be a sign that your baby might be constipated. Also, listen for the “eairh” sound in their crying which may signify gas discomfort.
- Teething: If your baby’s crying is whiny, fussy, high pitched accompanied by screaming and signs of your baby’s gums being swollen, a slightly raised temperature, lots of drools, coughing then your baby might be teething. Try giving your child a teething toy, cold food, and speak to a pediatrician if medication might be an option.
- Cold or Hot: If your baby is overly fussy accompanied by sweating, damp hair, heat rash, clammy, flushed cheeks or heavy breathing they might not be happy with the temperature. Also, listen for the “heh” sound in their cry which signifies discomfort. Attempt removing clothing if hot or swaddling them safely if they are cold. Swaddling saved us so much with sleep and fussiness issues with both my babies. Check out these amazing swaddle options.
- Over Stimulated: If your baby’s cry changes its pitch and intensity, they become unsettled or unhappy, their eyes get heavy and look away to break eye contact then your baby may be over stimulated. This may happen when your baby is surrounded by many new people or loud noises. Attempt darkening a room, turning on a white noise machine or patting them down gently in hopes it helps them relax.
- Colic: This condition is when an infant cries for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, or for three or more weeks, according to the APA. The condition is said to be a mystery and tends to go away on its own after the first trimester. If your baby cries for no reason, cries around the same time each day, clenches their fists, curls up their legs, cries like they’re in pain they may be colicky. Attempt laying the baby on her belly and rub her back or lay her on her back and push her legs up to her belly, release, and repeat.
- Oral Thrush: A very common infection in infants that causes your baby irritation around their mouth. Doctor may be able to prescribe an antifungal medication that can be applied to the tongue and the inside of your baby’s mouth for 10 days for relief. Attempt calling the Pediatrician for direction.
- Tongue Tie: This is a condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion that is present at birth. It may affect how your baby eats, speaks and can interfere with breastfeeding. A few symptoms you should look out for are: difficulty lifting tongue, trouble sticking out tongue past the lower front teeth and trouble latching onto your breast. Babies may outgrow this or it can be medically corrected. Try calling the pediatrician for direction.
- Boredom: If your baby’s cry is low toned and whiny accompanied by yawning, looking away, and squirming then your baby may just be bored. Yes, babies get bored. Try moving them to another room or giving them a toy for some quiet time.
3 Best Ways to Stop a Baby from Crying
Crying babies can definitely increase your stress level as a new mom. Don’t despair and have faith that you and your new baby will soon sync and learn to understand each other.
- It’s important to educate yourself on the reason why your baby cries and what to look out for to help comfort your baby as best as you can.
- Finding products to help soothe them is key. The top products that helped me comfort my baby outside of what I mentioned above were swaddles, baby carriers/wraps and pacifiers. Whether your baby is tired, teething, over-stimulated, colicky or bored carrying them near is sometimes all your baby needs.
- I highly suggest finding yourself a good pediatrician as well, that understands and welcomes that you will be contacting them more than ever in the first few of months of your new baby’s life. Don’t ever feel that you are bothering them, it’s their job to be available for your children’s needs. Also, contacting them can eliminate any underlying issues that may be causing your baby to cry if you have tried everything to calm them. Always side with precaution when your gut is telling you something.
Managing Expectations When Babies Cry
I think the most important mom tip that I can give you is to educate yourself on what types of crying to listen for, know the reasons why your baby might be crying and arm yourself with what solutions you can try to assist your baby when they cry. As a new mom everything is new and overwhelming and if you don’t know why babies cry it can lead to unnecessary stress. Remember and keep this in mind throughout your baby stages just because your baby cries too much does not mean that a) you’re doing a bad job and 2) the baby doesn’t love you. If you ever feel that the crying is overwhelming, put your baby in a safe place and take a breather for a few minutes. Never shake a baby out of frustration of trying to stop them from crying.
I see you mamas. I know it’s difficult as a new mom and a being a mom in general. Don’t ever compare why your baby cries more than any another baby. The comparison game is so detrimental to your job as a mother. Every kid is different. What might work for another child might or might not work for yours. You’re doing an amazing job and keep it up! Remember that in every stage of your children’s life when things get tough remember the phrase: this phase shall pass. You deserve the world mamas.