Why Is My Baby Crying? Help!
How To Interpret Your Baby's Cries
Drooling, fever, diarrhea, runny nose...? Find the true signs of baby teething here.
A crying baby can make any parent feel desperate, especially if you don't know why your baby is crying. The younger your infant is, the harder it is to know why he or she is crying and what to do about it.
But remember, babies cry in order to communicate. This is their only way to get your attention and help in the beginning. When you think about it from this perspective, it is worse to have a baby who doesn't cry!
Generally speaking, if your baby is healthy, he will cry as a result of hunger, fatigue, dirty diapers or stomach pain.
He might also be too cold or too hot or just want to be hugged. When your baby gets a few months older, add boredom, anger and fear to the list.
Below you'll find tips on how to know why your baby cries and how to help him in each situation.
Interpreting A Baby Crying
Short, sharp screams that won't stop away until the baby is fed indicate hunger. The crying increases as the baby gets hungrier and hungrier. And the solution is - did you guess - food!
You might have to try to calm your baby by hugging him before he can eat if he is very upset. The best thing is to avoid letting him get that hungry.
FatigueIf the area around your baby's eyes gets red or if he rubs his eyes or yawns, he is likely to be tired. Help him go to sleep by breastfeeding him, rocking him, swaddling him or whatever you are used to do. For baby sleep tips, click here.
Dirty diapersJust check the diaper. In addition to the diaper being dirty, you might want to make sure that your baby hasn't developed a diaper rash or that the diaper elastic isn't irritating his skin.
Stomach painHe might pull his legs up towards his stomach. The stomach might feel a bit hard if you press it lightly. Try to help your baby burp by holding him upright or release gas by putting him down on his back and lightly press his thighs towards his stomach.
Many babies seem to feel better if held tummy down, resting on your forearm. Make sure that he can breathe! You can pat his stomach lightly with your other hand.
To prevent and mitigate stomach pain, baby massage is great.
If nothing else works and you are desperate, a car ride may be just what you need to soothe a baby.
TemperatureIf none of the above seems to be the reason your baby is crying, check that your baby is not too cold or too hot. A good place to check is on his back. If he is sweaty he is definitely too warm.
BoredomStarts with whining rather than crying. Boredom usually occurs if the baby has been put down for a long time in his bed on his own for example. Babies need more and more stimulation and variation the older they get. If yo uneed inspiration, check out our suggestions for baby activities or games to play with babies depending on their age. (Browse the different baby months to find age appropriate games to play.)
An over-stimulated baby tries to look away. He might cry and will get calmer just by being placed in a calmer spot.
For example, if you are out in a shopping mall or at a dinner with lots of people, the sights and sounds can become too much after a while. Put your baby down in his stroller or take him to a calm room and just hold him for a while and he'll be much calmer.
FearHysterical cries indicate fear. Your baby will usually watch his mom or dad intensely, almost as if to ask how dangerous this situation is. A baby that cries out of fear is usually quite easily soothed by holding him, talking gently and taking him away from whatever scared him.
AngerWhen your baby grows older, you will notice how his willpower increases. Even as early as at the age of 7 months, some babies can get furious when not allowed to do or get what they want.
Just get used to it! It is still nothing compared to how your baby will react when he or she is 2 years old! Or 3 years old. Or a teenager ;-)
If your baby is angry, you'll probably know. Many babies scream, wave their arms, kick their legs and cry hard.
PainTeething, tummy pain, a sore throat, tipping over from sitting on the floor etc etc. will of course make your baby cry too.
If your baby seems to be in pain and you are the least worried, consult a doctor.
Wants a cuddleNow if your baby is not in pain and you have tried everything else, but your baby won't stop crying, just pick him up for a while, cuddle him and talk to him. Maybe he just longs for your love!
If nothing helps, check that he isn't ill and take his temperature. And if he screams a lot for no apparent reason, it might be colic (if he is younger than 4 months old).
Remember that there will be many, many times in the beginning, when you won't be able to figure out what is making your baby cry. It takes time to get to know each other.
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