Babies are too small to be able to tell us what they need or want. That’s why they cry. Many new parents, however, just see the crying as an annoyance. They must hurry and get the baby to stop. While it is understandable, it is also important to understand why the baby is crying in the first place.
During the first few months of life is when the baby will do the most crying. She has been in her mother’s womb for almost a year and now everything is different. There are so many new sounds and sights, it is easy for her to get overwhelmed.
There are many different reasons that babies may cry. One of the most common is hunger. When your baby is hungry she can wake up from a deep sleep and release a horrible sounding howl. You may think she is hurt. The cry may scare you. Chances are she’s just hungry. Many babies will display signs of hunger before completely waking up, however. If you watch her face you may see her mouth making sucking motions while sleeping. This is a good indication that she will wake up hungry soon. Now is the time to start preparing her bottle so that it’s ready and waiting when she wakes up hungry.
But what if your baby doesn’t take the bottle? What if she doesn’t want to eat but she is still crying? The next thing to check is her diaper. Baby’s don’t like to be laying in wet and dirty diapers. Can you imagine laying around in a filthy, wet mess? It would be very uncomfortable. Make sure your baby is clean and dry and she will be happier.
If your baby is not hungry, wet or dirty and still continues to cry, check to make sure nothing is hurting her. Sometimes snaps or zippers on her clothing can rub against her skin and irritate her. Once she is comfortable again she will often calm down and stop crying.
Of course, there is another reason babies may cry. This reason is a very important one, and is most often the bane of a new parent’s existence. Yes, I’m talking about colic. Babies with colic often cry a lot. Sometimes nothing seems to get them to stop. Colic, while not completely understood, is thought to have something to do with gas in the baby’s stomach. This makes the baby uncomfortable and causes her to cry out. There are a few things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms.
First try laying your baby flat on her back and pump her legs. It should look like she is riding a bicycle. If she has gas in her stomach this will help to dispel it. Babies also seem to like this motion and will sometimes calm down immediately.
As a parent of a newborn I have found that walking outside is the number one way to calm down the baby. For some reason she really loves being outside. Hold your baby chest-to-chest and cradle her. Walk up and down your driveway or sidewalk with her. It usually only takes a few times before my little one falls asleep.
Finally, one of the most important things you can do is sleep every chance you get. Since newborn baby sleep patterns are so unpredictable is is often impossible to know when she will wake up and cry. You need your sleep, too, so do your best to get it every time she does. This will help you feel more rested and just a little bit more ready to face the next bout of crying.