Posted by TinyTotties on July 16 2009
Babies' cries are designed to grab your attention. Have you ever listened to a newborn wail? That tiny body is certainly able to produce big sounds, and that’s no coincidence – babies’ survival depends on their ability to get adults to take care of them. Unlike animals, human babies are completely dependent on their caretakers for their survival.
So, why DO babies cry? Or, maybe we should ask, why do they cry so much? As a bleary-eyed first-time parent, I was quite amazed – not to say distraught – at the amount of crying my baby produced. She used to cry several times each hour, for various reasons; three or four times during the night; and there was also the notorious colic, that produced prolonged, inconsolable crying for about two hours each evening.
Babies cry for many reasons. As a new parent, before you have learned to recognize different cry patterns, the best you can do is go through a mental list of things to do when your baby cries, such as changing her diaper, feeding her, or just holding her. Sometimes nothing you do will comfort your baby. This is no doubt frustrating, but you should try not to get upset. Eventually, even inconsolable babies calm down.
The good news: as babies grow, they gradually learn other ways of communicating, which greatly reduces their need for crying.
Six common reasons for babies crying
Hunger. This is by far the most common reason babies cry – especially very young babies, and so feeding your baby is the first thing you should try to do when she cries. Babies’ small tummies can’t hold much food, so they need to be fed very frequently, and only take small amounts with each feeding.
Diaper Change. If your baby still cries after feeding, it’s always a good idea to check his diaper and see if he needs a diaper change. A soiled diaper can be highly irritating to baby’s skin.
Tiredness. Young babies can become over-stimulated quite easily. When this happens, it is very difficult for them to fall asleep even if they’re tired. A lot of crying happens simply because your baby is very tired but is unable to fall asleep. Try taking her to a dark, quiet place, and walk with her until she nods off. Of course, many babies will wake up and resume crying as soon as you place them in their crib. At this point, it’s up to you: you can repeat the process, allow your baby to sleep on you, or sleep with your baby.
Being Too Hot or Too Cold. This is another common reason for babies’ crying. Try to feel his tummy: if it feels very warm, remove a layer of clothes or a blanket. If it feels cold, add a layer. It’s always a good idea to dress babies in layers.
Cuddling. Different babies have different needs. Some babies need very little touch, and become over stimulated when held too much. Others need a lot of cuddling. Some babies cry simply because they want to be held. Please don’t worry about “spoiling” your baby by holding him too much! Babies are incapable of manipulation and cannot be spoiled.
Illness. Babies do cry when they are in pain, although some actually become very quiet. If your baby has fever, diarrhea, vomiting or constipation, this is likely the reason she’s crying. If no clear symptoms are present but your baby is still agitated, listen to your instincts: if you suspect that something is wrong, you should give your pediatrician a call. Most pediatricians employ advice nurses that would be happy to listen to your concerns and advise you over the phone.
Sometimes, babies cry for no apparent reason whatsoever. Prolonged episodes of inconsolable crying are known as “colic.” I experienced that with my first child. It was challenging, to say the least. In fact, apart from lack of sleep, colic was the most challenging thing I had to cope with as a young parent. Try to remember that colic usually disappears completely after the first three months, and that your baby WILL grow out of it.