Whether you are a first time parent or have one or more zipping around your home, you may still be trying to decode what your baby is communicating by the only language he knows- crying. Without getting scientific about it, humans are wired to react to the sound of a crying baby. Mothers who are breastfeeding even have a physical reaction, called let-down, where their breast milk pushes to the front of their breasts in preparation for nursing their baby. Both moms and dads may have a slight adrenalin reaction to the sound of their baby crying. So, why is she crying and what do you do to soothe your baby?
Here is a bullet list of many of the whys:
~ Wet diaper
~ Tired, sleepy
~ Waking up
~ Needs to have a stool
~ Too warm or cold
~ Is over or under-stimulated
~ Other discomforts: gassy, clothing
Solutions to try:
Start with the basic and most immediate needs first. Ask yourself a few questions regarding what the most pressing need may be. How long has it been since the last feeding? In the past, has my baby stopped crying after being changed? (Some infants find wet diapers to be uncomfortable while others seem not to notice either way.) Could she be cold/hot?
Using this knowledge, work your way down the list of possibilities. Cold/hot is a quick fix. If hungry, feed him. If your baby is one that is sensitive to wet diapers, change her first. If you know your baby is plain old sleepy, and can self-soothe for sleep, lay her on her back in her crib, knowing that it is very typical for babies to cry for several minutes. Often, these basic solutions are your ticket to Happy Baby. Here are a few other possibilities.
~ Swaddling- Many infants, especially newborns, feel secure when wrapped snugly in a lightweight receiving blanket.
~ Holding baby upright against your shoulder, pat or rub her back. Maybe she needs to burp but, regardless, many babies find this soothing.
~ If you’ve been holding him and the crying persists, lay him down. If she has been in her crib or carrier, try picking her up.
~ Rocking is very soothing, both standing and swaying or in a rocking chair.
~ You will get to know when he is over-stimulated and needs soothing by soft music, your soft voice, talking or singing, or even silence.
~ It may be she is lonely or bored. Offer a playful tone of voice and/or colorful toys to touch and explore.
If these tips do not quiet your crying baby, it may be that your infant is ill. Check his temperature in whatever way that your doctor has instructed. If you begin to feel frazzled or stressed, it is really OK to put baby down in the crib while you ponder your next plan. It will help you and your baby. Coping with a fussy baby can wear you down and stress you out. Babies can sense this. Try to relax, re-group and, if you need, reach out for support. Call your parent, sibling or a friend that has been through it, if that feels right for you. You can call your pediatrician, according to their office policy. You may want to consider adding me or another parenting coach as a support to guide you through these early months.
Above all, remember: Infants just sometimes have rough days or nights and, as mom or dad, you’ll be there to take care of them. Be sure to take care of yourself. Rest when you can, eat when you can, exercise when you can and laugh every chance you get!