It can be difficult to work out which need your baby wants you to take care of. It can be even harder when your baby has been crying for a while and you just don’t know how to soothe them.
Don’t worry, this is normal for every baby and parent and it gets easier.
Crying is your baby’s way of communicating with you. As they grow, they’ll get better at making certain noises, smiling, and making eye contact, so crying won’t be as frequent as it is in the early days, but in the meantime, you will need to listen and learn the difference between your baby’s cries so that you can identify the need they need taken care of so that you can soothe them.
To help you recognise some needs, here are 8 reasons why your baby might be crying.
1. I’m hungry
One of the most common reasons why your baby will cry, especially if they are a newborn, is because they are hungry. Babies have very small stomachs which can’t hold much so they will need to be fed little and often in the early days.
2. I have colic
If your baby cries a lot but is otherwise healthy, they may have colic. Colic is a severe pain in the abdomen caused by wind or obstruction in the intestines and it is very common in babies. Symptoms include a flushed face, frustration, clenching fists, arching of the back, and drawing the knees close to the chest.
The causes of colic are unknown but experts think that it is associated with food allergies, acid reflux, wind or constipation. Living with a baby who cries inconsolably can be very stressful and tiring, so here are a few things that you can do to make it easier.
3. I need comfort
Babies are completely dependent on us, so sometimes they just need to be held to feel safe. The physical contact of cuddling is reassuring and comforting to them so if they are crying because they need to be held, you’ll know this immediately when you pick them up and sway them.
4. I’m tired
You think it’s exhausting being a parent, but imagine being hypersensitive to every sound, smell and visual stimulus. Babies can get over-stimulated very easy, especially when there is a lot of noise and activity, so if they are extra fussy and crying all of a sudden they may just need to be taken into a quiet room to get some shut eye.
5. I’m too hot or too cold
If your baby won’t stop crying when you’ve tried to feed them and put them to sleep, check the temperature of their tummy or on the back of their neck. Being cold or overheated can cause your baby to become stressed so make sure not to overdress your baby, keep their room between 16 and 20 degrees C, and use a couple of cotton sheets in their cot which you can add or remove a layer as necessary.
6. I need my nappy changed
Another common reason that your baby might be crying is that their nappy is wet or dirty. You can imagine how uncomfortable this must be and it’s an easy reason to identify by feeling the outside of it or giving it a sniff.
7. I don’t feel well
Many parents say that when their baby is unwell, the tone of their cry is very different. Listen to your baby and try to identify if their cry is more urgent, continuous, high-pitched or weaker than normal. Here are some tips to help you.
8. I’m in pain
Sometimes your baby won’t stop crying because they are in pain but they can’t communicate this with you. Usually, they may be in pain from trapped gas or because they’re teething. Try to hold them against you with their head over your shoulder and pat them to burp them or if they are teething, try a remedy to soothe them.
If you’ve tried to satisfy all of these needs and your baby still won’t stop crying, they may just be crying because they are a baby. Try to ride out this stage as smoothly and calmly as possible, it won’t last forever! And if you need some extra help, check out our blog that gives 12 tips to soothe a crying baby.
Need more help or advice? Find more from us here:
- The Secrets to Soothing a Teething Baby to Sleep
- How to Develop a Peaceful Bedtime Routine
- How to Choose the Best Educational Toys: the Ultimate Guide for Parents