Your baby is crying. Again. Why?!
You may be feeling a little defeated as you try to figure out what it is your baby wants or needs when all of their communication sounds the same. Let us help! Here are the typical reasons why babies cry, and some tips to get you through.
The solution to this one seems obvious: feed them, right? But this is easier said than done when baby is too upset/angry to accept the breast or bottle you are frantically offering them.
The simplest way to avoid this situation is to watch for early hunger cues so that you can start the feed before things escalate. If you notice your infant licking their lips, sticking their tongue out, or making smacking noises; rooting (i.e. searching for the breast/bottle); or sucking on their hands, this would be a good time to try feeding. These signs (known as early hunger cues) are ways that your baby is communicating their need for food before they resort to crying.
You would be surprised how many parents forget to check their new baby’s diaper before looking for other, often worse causes for the tears. The truth is, your baby’s cry can cloud your judgment and ability to think as your cortisol (aka stress hormone) levels rises in response to their distress – which means you are more likely to overlook the most basic reasons why your baby may be upset in the first place. Making checklist – and even writing it down – can help you keep your cool and change the diaper before things get out of hand.
Babies spend their first nine months nice and cozy in the womb, protected from outside stimuli—bright lights, loud noises, countless colors. When they are born, everything they know about life changes in an instant! As your baby becomes more and more aware of their surroundings, you may find them struggling to cope. Too much at once is tiring for such a tiny person! But just like when they cry out of hunger, your baby may become so overstimulated and overtired that they struggle to fall asleep – even though it’s what they really need.
To help them calm down, try moving them to the darkest, quietest room in your house
—we often find that a closet can do magic!—and placing them on your chest. Create
white noise either by shushing or using an app or machine to mimic the sounds of the
womb, and try rocking gently from side to side.
This is just how they communicate.
Barring any medical concerns, crying is just a normal part of being a baby sometimes—
right now it’s one of the only ways they have to communicate with you! Try not to take
it personally, and know that this phase won’t last forever.
Someday, sooner than you think, your baby will be able to tell you exactly what they are thinking – and we will have some tips for you then, too.