If you want to know why your baby cries but most importantly how to soothe those heartbreaking tears you are in the right place.
When it comes to babies some things you can’t control. Crying is one of them. Sometimes you can do something about it but other times it’s out of your hand.
Don’t forget that every baby is different: one will cry more than the other and vice versa. But, the one thing they all have in common is that they cry. And that’s because it’s their only way to communicate. So be patient. I know it’s easier said than done.
WHY DO BABIES CRY?
If you have a crying baby chances are she is trying to communicate with you. Interpret it as a signal. Your baby is trying to send you a signal of urgent attention for different reasons: hunger, dirty diaper, etc.
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COMMON REASONS WHY BABIES CRY
1. BABY IS HUNGRY
Do you remember that Snickers Ad “You’re not you when you’re hungry”? That exactly how it goes. Who doesn’t get fussy when they’re hungry. I know I am.
Babies too. And they can get fussier and fussier until they see their milky. A mom will know when her baby is asking for food. She is usually familiar with the specific noises her baby makes according to her needs. Babies tend to make the sound ‘neh’ when they’re hungry.
Feeding is relative. Like I said every baby is different, so they have different needs. plus, they can only fit so much in their tiny stomach. Some get hungry sonner than others.
My daughter still wakes up twice to three times a night to eat. When she was younger she used to wake up 5 times. This formula machine kept my sanity.
But the point is that you should feed a baby based on her needs, monitor and look for early signs so you can prevent her from getting fussy.
Early hunger signs include finger sucking and lip-smacking,
2. BABY IS TIRED
Remember that for babies everything is a learning process. When they are sleepy they may not know how to soothe themselves and go to sleep on their own. You have to see what works best for your little one. At this young age, she still thinks she is in the womb. So mimicking the womb environment would be one option to help her stop crying.
How do you do that?
I personally used for my baby a rocker because it kept her pretty snuggled in there. Plus, I liked the rocking motion and the inclined position to avoid vomiting (they vomit frequently in the beginning).
Some babies react well when swaddled because it keeps them cozy and comfy.
Another option would be white noise machine. Don’t think babies like a quiet environment. On the contrary. They enjoy the noise and mainly noise that can mimic the one from the womb. Yes, our womb is pretty noisy.
My baby is a picky fussy sleeper mainly at night. I tried to give up her afternoon nap thinking she would fall asleep faster and sleep through the night, but that did not work out. She was even fussier.
That’s because when babies are overtired it’s actually harder for them to fall asleep. Once again it all comes down to your baby’s needs. If she’s tired put her to sleep. Don’t deprive her of getting a nap.
3. BABY NEEDS TO BE CHANGED
Your baby may cry like there’s no tomorrow when they have a dirty diaper. Or she may wander around as if nothing happened. It’s your duty to take this into consideration when you see any signs of discomfort, fussiness, and ultimately intense crying.
You can either sniff really quick or take a pick inside the diaper. A smart move would be to use Pampers Swaddlers because they have the wetness indicator so it immediately tells you when the diaper is wet. It also spares you from undressing your baby every time you want to check the diaper.
I go in detail about the things to consider when choosing a diaper and why I chose Pampers Swaddlers over other brands in my article Tried And True Baby List.
4. BABY NEEDS TO BURP
You probably know that after each feeding your baby needs to be burped to avoid swallowing air. It’s not necessarily a rule that you have to do it only after feeding, so you can try to burp your baby if she cries for no apparent reason just to rule out this possibility. It doesn’t hurt a pat on the back, right? There are plenty of techniques on how to burp a baby. See which one works better on your baby. I used this technique.
5. BABY HAS GAS
In this situation, you can either try “manually” to relieve the gas by bending the baby’s legs and push them up to the chest. Another option would be to use Windi The Gas Passer which works great. It will give you instant results.
6. BABY IS TEETHING
My daughter started teething around 3 months but her first teeth came in at around 8 months. Which means a lot of crying. Her symptoms were severe: fever, diarrhea, red inflamed gums, diaper rash, drooling rash.
I wrote an entire article on teething because it was a true struggle for me (and for my baby). I mentioned everything that I tried and what worked best on her.
7. BABY HAS COLIC
The much-dreaded colic. And for good reasons. Honestly, that was the worst period for my baby. I simply did not know what else to try to soothe her pain. I was holding her in my arms powerless.
I tried everything and it paid off. I was able to discover the cause and the solution. Read all about it in Baby Colic – How To Stop The Excessive Crying. The only comforting thing about colic is that it doesn’t last that long. Suspect colic if your baby cries at the same time several days in a row for no apparent reason.
TIP: if you feed your baby with formula choose a gentle one like Gerber Soothe.
8. BABY IS OVERSTIMULATED
Too many around or too much agitation will overstimulate your baby and she may get cranky and start crying. Just another way of not knowing or rather learning how to react to the new world. Try not to have too many visitors. Taking her out for a walk in the park. The fresh air and the quiet time spent with you will make the bond between you two even greater. And she will enjoy every second of that because she feels safe with you.
9. BABY NEEDS YOU – WANTS TO CUDDLE WITH YOU
Your baby needs you. It’s simple. Your baby is familiar with you, she can smell you and feels best next to you. You had her for so many months in your womb so it’s natural to be this way. Babies don’t like being alone. They want attention and love. So when your baby cries just be there to attend her, don’t let things get aggravated.
10. BABY IS TOO COLD OR TOO HOT
Be careful not to overdress your baby. She feels the temperature the same you do. If you are hot then she is too. It works the other way around also. My baby, for example, hates cold. She starts shivering and her skin turns purplish. The idea is to constantly monitor your baby and watch for any sign of discomfort.
11. BABY IS SICK
When you’re sick you’re miserable. The same way goes with babies. Like I mentioned earlier a mom will always distinguish her baby’s sounds. She will know if things are more serious depending on the cry. So if you see your baby cries longer than usual or crying harder check for fever or contact the pediatrician.
A mom must- have: thermometer
12. SOMETHING IS BOTHERING YOUR BABY
When you have an itchy nose don’t you scratch it like crazy? It’s super annoying. Well, how about if you were not able to scratch it to stop the itching? That would be torture. So maybe the onesie’s tag is bothering your baby. How will she let you know? Crying.
Or maybe the socks are too tight. Or maybe she wants to be held in your arms. Or her diaper rash is unbearable. Speaking of diaper rash, if that’s the case I have the perfect solution for you and believe me when I say that. Find it in my article Natural Remedy For Diaper Rash.
HOW TO SOOTHE YOUR CRYING BABY
FIND THE CAUSE
If you don’t know why your baby is crying you won’t know how to address the problem so your baby will cry even harder. Think of all the possible causes mentioned above. Pay attention to her behavior. Is it pain? Is it hunger? Is it the need for attention?
Think of all the things that make a baby happy:
Swaddling – they love to be swaddled because that mimics the womb, their favorite place.
White Noise – any noise similar to the one in the womb will soothe them. If you don’t have a white noise machine you can simply make a gentle shushing noise while you hold the baby.
Rocking Motion – babies love this motion and a swing will solve the problem.
Pacifier – babies relax when they suck on something. Whether their thumbs or a pacifier sucking does calm them down. I kind of avoided giving my baby the pacifier that often. I didn’t want her to get “too attached” to it.
I mainly gave it to her at bedtime and that’s how I still do it now and she seemed to understand the pattern. She never asks for her pacifier unless she is in her crib ready to go to sleep.
SHOULD YOU LET YOUR BABY CRY?
My body starts shaking every time my daughter cries. I don’t want her in any kind of distress. So when she does cry I just pick her up and start talking to her and try to calm her down.
Sometimes it works instantly and other times it takes a while until she relaxes. But no matter what I always try to comfort her. Is wrong or right? I do what I think it’s best.
And you should do the same. It’s ok if your baby cries for a little bit. It’s not gonna hurt her. But don’t let frustration and anger overwhelm you, not yourself not your baby nor your partner.
Now if you are trying to sleep train your baby that is another story. Your baby will cry more until she learns to soothe herself.
Don’t forget all of this will end eventually. They won’t be babies forever. There is hope:)
Until next time,