My Baby Wont Stop Crying – What Can I Do To Soothe Him?
A crying baby can be extremely frustrating for the baby as well as for his parents. Crying is a completely normal part of being a baby. Crying is the only way that a baby has to communicate its needs and wants with you. Crying is your baby’s way of telling you that they are upset, and that they need you.
When a baby cries, he may be trying to tell you any number of things, such as:
– He is hungry. This is the most common reason that babies cry. Especially for little babies who need to feed more often, crying lets you know that he thinks it is time to eat. A baby’s stomach, especially in the early weeks, is tiny and can’t hold very much. When he cries, he’s letting you know that it is time to fill it. If he has been fed but he still is crying, there may be another problem.
– He is tired. Just as the four year-old might cry when it is time for his nap, so your baby might cry when he is tired. If he has been over-stimulated, through a flurry of visitors or activities, it may be hard for her to settle down. If this is the case, take her somewhere quiet, removing the stimulation, and he may fall right to sleep.
– He would like to be held. While parents often disagree philosophically about how much a crying baby should be held, none would argue that it is never appropriate to hold your baby. Sometimes, he just needs a physical contact with mommy or daddy to be reassured.
– He is uncomfortable. Some babies are more sensitive to discomfort than others. Some babies with a full diaper won’t mind; others may be bothered by the smallest moisture. Some babies may be bothered by tight clothing as well. If your baby is crying, it is always worth checking clothing and diapers.
– He doesn’t feel good. Often, a baby who is ill will cry in a more urgent or high-pitched tone than a baby who is hungry or tired, for example. If you cannot determine another cause, and/or if your baby’s tone is different than usual, he may be ill. A call to your health care provider can help you check for trouble and determine whether a visit is necessary.
– He may not know what he wants. Sometimes, babies just cry. Many babies will go through times where they cannot easily be comforted. This might last for a short while, or it may last for hours or days. When a baby cries all the time, it is known as colic. Clinically, colic is defined as inconsolable crying for at least 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. The good news about colic is that it rarely lasts more than three months.
Eventually, your baby’s crying patters will differentiate. You’ll likely be able to tell a hungry cry from a comfort cry. Eventually those crying patters will separate into sounds; then, those sounds into words. Eventually, what was just crying will become verbal and physical communication.
Until your baby learns to communicate, or until you learn to differentiate between his different crying patterns, there are basic things you can do to try to soothe him, including:
– Checking and, if necessary, changing diapers or clothing
– Holding your baby
– Rocking your baby, either on your lap or on a swing
– Gently massaging your baby’s back or belly
– Lull your baby with a constant, gentle, rhythmic noise, such as singing or with the steady noise of a household appliance
– Provide a pacifier or something else to meet the sucking need.