- We love our happy little babies, but sometimes they aren't so happy.
- Crying is normal & key for communication!
- There are many reasons why a baby could be crying, & you'll be able to learn their cries as you go on.
- Take a moment to breathe if the crying gets too much, & know you are doing your best even when your baby gets fussy!
We have all been there. Your little one is crying, & it’s easy to feel helpless & confused! What is your baby trying to say, & how can you help them?
Crying is Key
The first thing to remember is that babies cry to communicate. You are not spoiling your baby if you hold them often & tend to them promptly. Studies have shown the opposite to be true! When babies are held often & responded to quickly by a caregiver, they cry less often, & it builds trust & creates a secure attachment to you. When your baby starts to cry tend to them right away if you are able to or have another caregiver tend to them. Pick them up & talk to them, let them know that you are here for them.
Overtime, you will learn how to read your baby, but especially in the beginning, you are just getting to know each other! Check out the Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia® blog posts for some great ideas on how to and get to know them better.
Cries & Their Meaning
In the meantime, here are some tips on interpreting your baby’s cries & caring for your crying baby. Listen to what they are saying & their body language
Type of Cry: Rhythmic, intense cry. You may have also seen them gnawing on their hand or sucking hard on a pacifier.
Check to see if your baby is hungry. Hold them close to help calm them down and then offer your breast or a bottle. Little ones eat every few hours & during growth spurts they can ‘cluster feed’. If they have been crying, burping during the feeding can help remove any extra air and prevent them from being overfed, especially if you are giving them a bottle. However, don’t force the feeding if they turn, push away, or give other cues they are not hungry.
Type of Cry: Starts out slow and builds in both intensity and tone. You may also see them rubbing their eyes.
A tired baby is a fussy baby! When did they last nap? Little babies need lots of sleep during the day & night but don’t always know how to put themselves to sleep. Try swaddling baby and rocking them or do their bedtime routine to help them drift off.
Type of Cry: The fussy cry. You might also notice them looking away from things or people and fussing again.
Your baby may be overwhelmed. Notice if the room is too bright or noisy. Going to a calmer environment or going outside can help as well. Put your baby in a stroller or carrier & go for a walk for some fresh air; it will be good for you too!
Type of Cry: Screeching cry. Baby may also look startled.
Was there a loud noise? Your baby might be scared. Try rocking, holding, & soothing your baby to calm him or her down and them know that they are safe.
Type of Cry: Loud, high intensity, rhythmic crying. Baby may also be raising their legs to their tummy, arching their back, and fidgeting.
Did baby burp after they ate? When did they last have a dirty diaper? Your baby may be gassy, have constipation or colic. This cry will last until the gas or stool is passed. Try burping them or lay your baby on their back and gently move their legs in a bicycle motion to help relieve gas pressure.
Type of Cry: A softer cry than those mentioned above.
Your baby may be uncomfortable or want some snuggles. Check to see if they have a wet diaper, are too warm or cold. If everything is fine, they may just want you! You are their favorite person in the whole wide world & sometimes they just need to lay on Mom’s chest & be held close. Skin-to-skin contact, where you take off their shirt & lay them your bare chest can calm them down too!
We all have those days that are just hard, baby included! If we have checked everything else & they are still upset, it’s okay to just keep your baby near. Gently rock them or wear them in a baby carrier, & let them cry for a while. Remember, this phase won’t last forever & you’re doing your best!
When should I be worried or ask for help? If your baby is frequently crying & will not calm down you can always call your medical provider & ask for advice. They are here to help!
Remember, as you get in a routine & learn more about your baby, you’ll feel more confident in caring for them when they start crying!