Crying is synonymous with new born babies. When your baby cries, it is her way of communicating with you to hold her, feed her or change her nappy. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, the crying doesn’t stop and you are left worried. We asked experts what to do to soothe incessant crying so that your little one can get back to her playful self.
Why do they cry:
Babies can neither understand their needs nor do anything on their own and with no other mode of communication, crying is their only way to let people know that they need something.
Dr. Manish Mannan, consultant paediatritian, Paras hospital, Gurgaon says, “Babies (infants) have only one method of communication, and that is crying. Babies cry for various reasons, which may vary from hunger, pain, soiled diapers, nasal congestion, feeling hot or cold, boredom or just being wanting to be picked up.”
He emphasizes, “Parents should indentify the cause of crying and address it. Crying should never be ignored as – babies cry normally. There is nothing such as crying without a reason.”
Sometimes it may be difficult to find the cause of why your baby is being cranky. “Relentless crying is the manifestation of something uncomfortable, uneasy or unpleasant with the baby,” explains Dr. Rohit Agrawal, Paediatrician, Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP).
Sometimes you might not be able recognise what it is that your kid requires. But with time you will understand each other better, and may also develop a sign language or mutual understanding of eye contact, noises and expressions.
Dr Agrawal says, “There are innumerable reasons that are age dependent. Few of the commonest are hunger, intestinal coli, earaches, nose blocks and temper tantrums in older infants.”
Here’s elaborating the causes in detail:
· Hunger pangs: The most common cause crying is hunger. Babies have small tummies which do not hold much so they need to be fed several times. The first thing you should do to soothe your baby is offer her a feed.
· A nappy change: A wet, dirty nappy can cause irritation and discomfort to your baby. It’ll make movement difficult and can be a cause of crying too. Check if your baby needs a change if she is cranky and not hungry.
· Tired: Babies are full of activity, moving their hands and legs, screaming, shouting, laughing and trying out all their antics that they have picked up. But when babies get tired they cry, so try to get your little one to catch up on some sleep.
· Want to be picked up: Babies usually burst out into tears and howls when they want to be picked up. During the first few months, babies want to feel physical contact. The comfort of being held helps them feel secure and soothes them. So chances are as soon as you pick her up she will be playful again.
· Temperature: Sometimes the weather acts erratic and your baby might feel hot or cold. This discomfort will make her express herself. Take a cue from your surroundings and over dress or under dress her so that she is comfortable. Sometimes, the fabric that she wearing might be too heavy or poky and cause discomfort.
· Crying during feeds: Babies sometimes tend to cry during their feeding sessions. This may be due to their unsettled behavior or not being able to feed properly. Try a better attachment that will make them comfortable.
· Sensitive: Some kids are very sensitive to their surroundings and any harsh changes may cause them distress. Too much light, too many strangers, loud sounds, noisy environments etc will trigger your baby to weep.
How to soothe the crying:
“Soothers are not recommended. If there is a problem at hand, the cause and not the symptom should be addressed. Similarly if a baby is crying, find the cause and address it and do not opt for shortcuts,” advices Dr. Mannan.
But staying put with a cranky baby is a very stressful task. Be assured that your baby’s persistent crying will not last forever.
“Nursing and lap caressing are the best soothers. Other basic measures are anti colics and removal of wax from ears,” says Dr. Agrawal.
Here’s a list of things that will help soothe a cranky baby:
1) Rocking a baby is one solution that always works. Babies crave physical contact, so when picked up and rocked they will be pleased.
2) A constant sound like that of a washing machine, or cooker or radio may sometimes help soothe a cranky baby. Try switching on some soft music to distract her attention.
3) A soothing massage will help calm the child and make her feel relaxed.
4) Try different feeding positions that will be more comfortable for the baby.
5) Give her something that she can suck on and be busy at least for a few minutes till you come up with a permanent solution.
6) Stroke the baby’s back to help her relax.
Note: If your child cries for three hours or more in a day, more than three days a week then it is best to consult your paediatrician. Sometimes colic, bad acid reflux, ear or throat infection or a nose block could be the causes that need to be treated.