How to Calm a Crying BabyAuthor: John Hughes
Crying is a completely normal part of being a baby. Crying is the only way that a baby has to communicate needs and wants with you. Crying is your baby's way of telling you that they are upset, and they need you. About the Author:
When a baby cries, she may be trying to tell you any number of things, such as:
- She is hungry. This is the most common reason that babies cry. Especially for the little babies who need to feed more often, crying lets you know that she thinks it is time to eat. A baby's stomach, especially in the early weeks, is tiny and can't hold very much. When she cries, she's letting you know that it's time to fill it. If she has been fed but she is still crying, there may be another problem.
- She is tired. Just as the four year-old might cry when it is time for his nap, so your baby might cry when she is tired. If she 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 she may fall right to sleep.
- She 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 amount of moisture. Some babies may be bothered by tight clothing as well. If your baby is crying, it is always worth checking clothing and diapers.
- She 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, she may be ill. A call to your health care provider can help you check for trouble and determine whether a visit is necessary.
- She may not know what she 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 patterns will differentiate. You'll likely be able to tell a hungry cry from a comfort cry. Eventually those crying patterns will separate into sounds; then those sounds into words. Eventually, what was just crying will become verbal and physical communication. Until then, there are basic things you can do to try to meet your little one's needs, including:
- Checking and, if necessary, changing diapers or clothing.
- Holding your baby.
- Rocking your baby, either on your lap or in 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 white noise of a household appliance.
- Provide a pacifier or something else to meet the sucking need.
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