Giving birth to our baby and bringing her/him home is one of the most happiest feelings for us especially for first time parents. This happiness comes with a lot of responsibility and hard work as well. Today we will be discussing all about “crying baby” along with really useful and practical tips to answer every new parent’s most commonly asked question i.e., “How to calm a crying baby?”
Before discussing about calming techniques for a crying baby, it is very important to learn all about a baby’s cry, so that we can have proper know-how about it. Without understanding a baby’s cry, it is nearly impossible for all of us to tackle and manage it. This guide about a baby’s cry and calming techniques is very useful for all new parents, especially first timers.
WHAT IS BABY’S CRY?
After birth, our baby is totally dependent on us for everything, whether it’s feeding, bathing, sleeping, and healthcare. We as parents are always keen to see our baby’s all first milestones, like first word, first laugh and first walk and many many more. When we talk for the first word of our baby, it’s “the cry” that is baby’s first communication. Through cry, they communicate about their different needs and discomforts.
WHAT OUR BABIES REALLY TRYING TO COMMUNICATE TO US WHILE CRYING?
- I am hungry: Hunger is one of the most common reasons why our babies cry. The stomach of a newborn baby is very tiny, it gets full very quickly and gets empty very quickly too. That’s why babies cry a lot especially when they are newborn. We should feed our baby quite often i.e., every hour or as much as they want. Approximately a newborn baby should be fed for roughly 8 hours a day.
Paul Horowitz, MD, Pediatrician in Valencia, California says that crying is the Late sing of hunger.
Early signs of Hunger: Lip smacking, sucking his/her hands or Rooting (turning head to look for breast).
- I am sleepy: This is the second most common reason for a baby’s cry. their sleep varies from baby to baby. If our baby doesn’t have enough sleep or needs more, it’s when they communicate their need by crying. So, we should make her comfortable on her bed so that she can relax and have a sound sleep.
- I am tired: Getting fed, observing the surrounding world and not sleeping properly makes baby tired, cry is the way to let us know about her need of having more comfort.
- I am having colic: Colic is also one of the most common causes of Cry. It is when our baby’s tummy is bloated with gas, she clenches her fists and pull her legs to the tummy. A colicky baby usually cries in late evenings and throughout the night.
- I just need a cuddle/attention: Babies do cry when they need mummy’s warm cuddles and attention too, and they do cry to get our attention and love.
- I need nappy change: Wet and dirty nappies make babies uncomfortable and they communicate this to us by crying.
- I am not feeling well: If our baby is in pain, having colic, early teething or ear-ache can make babies cry.
- I am too cold/too hot: We can check our baby’s tummy and back to see either she is too cold or hot. Babies do need just one more layer of clothes as compared to older kids and adults. Their room temperature should be between 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. For maintaining this proper temperature we can use room thermometer and temperature controlled heaters.
If your baby is looking unwell and crying non stop for more than 2 hours, then take your baby to the doctor for proper consultation.
HOW TO CALM A CRYING BABY?
1-Shushing The Crying Baby & How It Works?
During the third months of gestation, our baby’s ears develop and as time passes, our baby started to hear our voices, especially mums voice. For Baby’s ears, mum’s voice is the most calming sound to hear.
When we sush our baby, it triggered a calming response in her brain and also relaxes her body and muscles and that’s how it works really well when our baby is crying. What could be better than repetitive shushes in mum’s voice? It gets even better if we hold our baby in a sling or rock him/her. It also diverts our baby’s mind away from her discomforts.
2- Sounds & White Noise: Sounds like a hoover, hair dryer or any white noise can calms a baby. It is because, these noises sound familiar with what our baby hears in our womb like, a sound of heart beat, food in the digestive tract and blood flow. You can play white noise by using White Noise Machine or on YouTube.
3- Swaddling & Cuddling: This world is too wide for our babies and they do miss their previous life in the womb. Swaddling and cuddling mimic that life and calms them down. As babies are already familiar with mum’s smell and warmth even before birth, so mum’s cuddles are always a “Must Have” for a crying baby to stay relaxed.
4- Change The Surrounding: If we stayed in one place all day, how do you feel? I know you all will answer “distressed & bored”. Well, our tiny babies do feel the same way. If we change the surrounding, take them to a different place or take them to a walk makes them relaxed and happy. This is really a great way to calm our babies.
5- Change the position: Lying on the back makes baby, frustrated too. Hold your baby from her side or on the tummy in your hands with good support also relaxes them. Babies do enjoy Tummy time too, it will help them to pass out their tummy gas as well.
6-Bath & Massage: Bathing and proper tummy, back, limbs, and head massage calms the baby down and relaxes her. Babies do familiarize bath with amniotic fluid and it takes them to their comfort zone and this helps our baby to stop crying.
7- Dimmed Lights: Babies are not used to live in so much bright lights in the womb. After coming into this world, these bright lights overstimulate them and make them cry. Dimmed lights relax our babies and calm them down.
8-Sucking: Sometimes Sucking relaxes our overstimulated and crying baby. In that case, use pacifiers but keep sterilizing them as you do your baby’s bottles.
9-Constant Movements: Constant movements also make baby happy and relaxed. Rockers, bouncer, and swings can be used to calm the baby down. If in the swing, rocker or bouncer keep baby in semi-sitting or raised position, then only use them for upto two hours, not more than at a time.
10- Holding/cuddling Stuff/Plush Toy Or Comforter Blankets: Holding any stuff/plush toy or any comforter blankets also give our babies a feeling of softness and comfort. This is because, inside the womb, babies do enjoy holding their tiny little fingers, hand and umbilical cord. So stuff toys, especially comforter blankets also work really well in calming our baby.
5 Key S’s to Calm a Crying Baby: Swaddle, Side/Stomach Position, Shush, Swing and Sucking.
TIPS FOR NEW PARENTS:
When we become a parent, especially for the very first time, Non-stop baby crying makes us, especially mum frustrated and depressed, post-natal depression and baby blues could also be the reason for this as well.
- Tips For Mothers: If you are a new mum and going through the same situation, then believe me you are doing really great. Giving birth, going through hormonal changes and discomforts and dealing a crying baby is not at all easy. It is absolutely normal to feel depressed, angry and anxious. It doesn’t mean that you are not a good parent.
- Try to sleep whenever you get a chance.
- Don’t feel hesitant to discuss your anxious mood and feelings with your friend, partner or a loved one.
- Stay well hydrated, take a balanced diet with postnatal multivitamins too. It will keep you healthy and energized.
- Join local post-natal mum’s groups to make friends and discussing your new lifestyle and problems with other mums who are going through the same situation. Plan regular or weekly meetups, it will make you happy and relaxed.
- Do regular post-natal exercises or light YOGA to stay relaxed and mindful.
Tips For Dads: When a baby arrives into our lives, it’s not only mums job to take care of everything, here are some tips for dads to be helpful for their partner and new baby.
- Always be a good and supportive partner for the mother. Always hear all the worries and discuss everything that makes your partner depressed and does what makes her relaxed. Be considerate, if your partner is in a bad mood or cries for no reason, just have a good listening ear.
- Help her to have a good sleep by taking care of the baby when your partner is tired.
- If your partner is tired and sleepless, help her with cooking, cleaning and other chores.
- Bring her the things your partner needs from the market or put things like snacks, water or other necessary things on her bedside table. This will help her grab the things she wants very easily if you are busy doing other work.
- If your baby is on Breast Feed, then you can get the milk expressed so that baby can have it while mum is resting and sleeping.
- Always remember, it’s not only your partner who becomes a mother, you too are a dad now. So, taking care of the baby is your responsibility too, your care and togetherness with your partner make the parenthood complete and successful.