Why babies cry: Common reasons and solutions

Crying is certainly the most effective tool your baby possesses to attract attention and seek instant gratification. After all, he could give you a wet, toothless smile to show his appreciation, couldn’t he? But in spite of his tender age, he knows what works to his advantage and he is not shy about using its powers.

A baby can cry for any number of reasons, but sometimes it is difficult for new mothers to understand what is troubling their little baby. Here are some of the common reasons why babies cry and how to stop them:

Hunger

For a new mother, understanding the feeding pattern of the baby might be a difficult challenge. A healthy baby’s diet will increase and so you’ll have to adjust continually to his needs. If you don’t, be sure he’ll let you know at the top of his lungs! Feed the child till he stops, burp him and then try again. If he is no longer interested or falls asleep, it is a sure sign that his tummy is full.

Colic

Blame it on the gas, but until the wind passes either from the rear end or through a burp, you’ll get no respite. A colicky baby can give you sleepless nights, make you distraught and rush you to the pediatric ward again and again. Always remember to burp your baby after each feed. Rest him against your shoulder and gently tap him on the back till you hear the blessed sound. Don’t put him down without burping him even if he falls asleep. Expulsion of gas while lying down can cause milk to reflux which can be dangerous. For colic, massaging the tummy with slightly warm olive oil is extremely effective.

Digestive troubles

Constipated and infrequent motion and hard stool can make your baby very difficult. Always consult your baby’s doctor to avoid complications. Make sure you drink plenty of water if you are breastfeeding and not eating anything that contributes to the baby’s distress (and your own too). If giving formula milk, try a different one to suit your baby’s need.

Environmental changes

If you think your baby does not get aware of his environment till he is older, think again. Loud noises, over friendly strangers, barking dogs, loud horns all can set a baby off. Even hearing another baby cry can make your little angel join the chorus. That is why taking your baby to movie theaters or boisterous birthday parties is not such a good idea. Move the baby away from such stimulants and soothe him gently in your arms till he relaxes and calms down.

Physical contact

Your baby has spent the last nine months in a warm, cozy and secure place called the womb. He is not going to let go of his favorite ride this easily. He is used to being rocked and swayed in rhythmic motions. He’ll crave human contact, so if you leave him alone for too long in the crib, he’ll feel lonely and scared. Rock your baby gently in your arms, massage him and talk to him reassuringly. Sing soothing lullabies and if you have older kids, involve them too. Make it a harmonious family tradition so that no one feels left out.

Genuine health problems

Fever, earache, blocked and stuffy nose, allergy, rash and teething can cause a great deal of discomfort and make your baby miserable. Doctor’s advice must always be sought and proper medication has to be given for a quick recovery.

Check the baby’s clothing

Maybe the new baby shoes are pinching the little toes or the socks are too tight. Maybe the safety pin to keep the cloth diaper is open and pricking him. Check the knot of the bib. It could be too tight and making the baby uncomfortable. A hard button, shirt tag or label or a buckle on the back of the shirt could be equally disturbing. Remove all such things before dressing the baby.

Keep an eye on the siblings

Sibling rivalry can manifest itself in many ways. If you think that the older sibling is jealous of the new arrival, do not leave the baby alone in the room with him. Your baby might be getting smacked or pinched when you aren’t looking. Keep calm under this disturbing situation and involve the older child in your joy and wonder. Making him feel bad, alienated or punishing him will only make matters worse.

Remove the irritants

Wet diaper, chaffing nappy or irritated bottom can cause your baby to cry incessantly. Always change the diaper as soon as it is soiled and check for any rashes. Apply liberal amounts of baby oil or Vaseline or to protect the delicate skin.

Seeking attention

People tend to forget that babies are human beings too and they have a big wide world to explore. As babies grow older they are not satisfied being confined to their crib or play pen. A crying baby can be soothed by bundling into a pram and taken for a quiet nature walk. It will do you good too to be out of the house and away from household chores for a while.

Little things to watch out for

A blocked bottle teat will make your baby really angry. If the milk is not flowing out, your baby will be able to see and smell milk but not drink that tantalizing fluid.

If a favorite toy is visible but out of reach, your baby will howl to get your attention.

A tired and sleepy baby usually cries before falling asleep. This is just as natural as yawning and a sign that he wants a bit of cuddle and snuggles before his nap.

If your baby is too hot or too cold, he’ll not be able to sleep and will become restless and irritated. The rule is to dress him in as many clothes as you are wearing according to the season and then add one more layer.

Never shout, smack or shake your little baby. It can cause irreparable damage even death. If you find yourself losing control or becoming distraught, always seek help from spouse, siblings or friends. Motherhood can be trying at times, but it is worth each sacrifice and trial when you are rewarded by a cute baby smile that is reserved especially for you.