February 24, 2019 4 min read

Babies, especially newborns, cry because that’s the only way they can communicate. Without the ability to talk, gesture, or even have a range of facial expressions, crying is the only option for these tiny humans. While some babies only cry a little and calm down quickly, some others create a havoc with incessant bawling and leave their mummies all stressed and flustered. So, without further ado, let’s quickly take a look at all the reasons a baby might be crying and what you should do to calm them down.


The baby is hungry

This is the number one reason why babies cry. Usually, the crying is accompanied by rooting and trying to suck anything within reach. A feed will help in calming them down. Also, it might help to recognize the signs of hunger before the baby starts crying inconsolably!


The baby is sleepy

Experienced mummies know how silly it is to assume that a tired baby will automatically fall asleep. In fact, many babies find it difficult to calm down on their own after getting tired. Overtired babies can take a long time to stop crying and fall asleep. Prevention is better than cure in this case. Make sure your baby, especially a newborn, naps often and on time. For times when you still end up with an overtired baby, a gentle massage and a warm bath can help her calm down and lull into a sleep easily. Many mummies swear by rocking their babies to help them sleep.


The baby needs a diaper change

A wet or soiled diaper can cause discomfort to a baby and they respond to it by some more crying. Change the diaper every 2-3 hours and immediately when it is soiled. If you always keep an eye on the baby, you will be able to notice the need for a diaper change before she starts getting fussy.


The baby is colicky

tiger hold baby
Image source: Black Rabbit Doulas

Stomach ache caused by colic and gas can be extremely discomforting for a tiny baby. While the pediatrician can prescribe medicines to help soothe the baby from extreme colic, you can try certain techniques at home too. The ‘tiger-on-the-branch hold’, sometimes also known as the ‘football hold’ works well for relieving colic. In this hold, the baby is held face down on one arm, with her head resting near your elbow, stomach flat against your arm, and your hand supporting the baby’s bottom. With the other hand, rub the baby’s back and soon she will start feeling better. One more way is to lay the baby on her stomach upon your knees with her head resting on one knee and the stomach on the other. Again, gently rub her back until she starts feeling better. You can also lay the baby on her back and slowly bend her legs so that her knees press against her stomach. This helps in relieving gas too.


The baby wants to be close to you

Newborns are anything but independent. After spending nine months inside the womb, the outside world can be daunting. This is the reason babies crave closeness and want to be held most of the time when they are awake. To signal this craving, crying is all they can do. While it is a great bonding experience to hold the baby close to you while you talk to her in soothing tones, swaddling a newborn is also a great option. Swaddling makes the baby feel secure and safe. Also, given that newborns spend a lot of time sleeping, swaddled babies find it easy to go back to sleep after a quick feed or a diaper change.


The baby is too hot or too cold

Are you layering your baby in a blanket too many or are you keeping her below the fan? If the baby is feeling too hot with all that swaddling or too cold due to a direct cool wind, it might start getting fussy. Make sure you keep the room temperature comfortable and dress the baby in appropriate clothes according to the weather.


Other tips for soothing the baby when you cannot figure out the reason

When your baby has been crying too much, and you cannot figure out the reason for the fuss, you can try the below tips.

  • Try holding the baby close to you and make shushing sounds.
  • Take the baby out of the house. Sometimes, a little fresh air is all they need.
  • Put the baby in a rocker or a baby swing. The rhythmic movement soothes them.
  • Talk to the baby. Your soothing voice can help her calm down.
  • If your baby is fussy immediately after a feed, keep her upright and help her burp before you put her down in the crib.

If you find that your baby cries too much and nothing works, it is best to talk to her pediatrician about it. It is probably nothing, but always better to be sure. And of course, try not to get too stressed with your baby’s crying. It’s just a phase, ladies!

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