A baby is crying because this is the way he or she uses to communicate a need. Crying is actually an automatic reaction or, in other words, a baby cries by reflex. A need the baby is sensing is triggering an air inspiration and a powerful elimination of that air through his or her vocal cords. Once the lungs are filled with air, the baby is generating the sounds that we call “cry”.
The baby crying is a perfect method of communication: it’s intense enough to get your attention and make you want to initiate an action in order to stop it.
How to decipher the baby crying
Each baby’s crying is different. And each mother is biologically programmed to respond to her baby’s crying: the blood flow in her breasts is increasing and she feels an urge to hold and feed the baby. This is actually the correct action whenever the baby is crying – picking up the baby and trying to detect and fix the problem, instead of letting him or her cry without responding to their needs.
In order to decipher your baby’s crying, the best method is to pay attention to elements like: the time passed since the last feeding, the temperature in the room, the number of clothes layers the baby is dressed in, the movements he or she makes (like waving the arms and legs in the air), the intensity of the crying.
Babies cry for a reason. And you can stop their crying by answering to the need signalized by crying. However, you must bear in mind that a small percentage of baby’s crying cannot be comforted. As Ron Barr, a professor in the department of pediatrics from “University of British Columbia” says, "some crying is unsoothable and that's okay. Your baby is fine and you're doing a good job."
Seven reasons for which babies cry
As a new parent, you have probably asked yourself even before the birth of your baby what are the reasons for which babies cry.
Below you can find a list of these reasons.
The baby is hungry
The stomach of your baby is small and can’t hold inside too much milk at a time. So it empties fast. Use the breastfeeding on demand – meaning feed the baby even if it’s been just a little while since the last meal. If the baby is on formula feeding, allow your baby’s stomach to rest for two hours before a new feeding. If the milk consumed previously is not entirely digested, the new meal will provide fresh milk that in combination with the partially digested one, can cause your baby bellyaches.
The baby is tired
If the baby is tired, the best remedy is to take her or him to a quiet room to help calm down before going to sleep. Avoid any potential over-stimulating causes, such as the visits of too much people and for long periods of time.
The baby is too hot or too cold
Make sure the temperature in the baby’s room is around 18 degrees C and use sheets and cellular blankets to keep the baby comfortable by either adding or removing a sheet or a blanket.
The baby wants to be held
The baby needs, especially as a newborn, lots of physical contact which ensures him or her that they are safe and that everything is alright. Sway your baby or sing to her or him. When you hold your baby, he or she is comforted not only by the contact with your skin, but also by your heartbeat and your body’s smell and warmth.
The baby needs a diaper change
Some babies might cry if the diaper needs to be changed, others don’t unless their skin feels irritated. However, the baby might not like this operation due to the feeling of cold air that comes in contact with the skin and that’s why you might get some protests from your baby when changing the diaper.The baby is not feeling well
The crying that signalizes the baby isn’t feeling well is a bit more different than the other types of crying: either high-pitched, weaker or without any pauses. The baby can cry due to colic, teething or gas. However, if you have tried remedies for all these potential causes and nothing worked, if your baby has fever, diarrhea, constipation or if he or she is vomiting, it’s time to call or go to the doctor. As in, NOW, to avoid a potential severe affection.
The baby just feels like crying
“Period of PURPLE crying” is a period in an infant’s life in which he or she cries without a specific reason and without sensing a need that you have to satisfy.
The acronym PURPLE stands for:
P: Peak of crying – the baby cries the most at two months and the cry becomes less frequent between three and five months.
U: Unexpected crying – appears and disappears without reason.
R: Resist consolation – the baby doesn’t stop crying, no matter what you do.
P: Pain-like face – although your baby’s face may look like he or she is in pain, most likely isn’t.
L: Long-lasting series of crying – from several hours to an entire day.
E: Evening – the baby cries more in the evening or late afternoon
How to calm a crying baby
Here are some tips to help you calming your crying baby, if you have ticked all the potential causes indicated above and the baby is still crying:
Swaddle the baby - Deana Andersen-Tennant, which is a postpartum doula in Portland, Oregon and is specialized in families with multiples, has discovered that 9 out of 10 babies are soothed by swaddling. And waffle-weave blankets are the perfect tools for that.
Try the white noise – the sound of a vacuum cleaner, a whirring fan or a hairdryer can calm down a crying, over-stimulated baby.
Sing to your baby – the baby recognizes the mother’s voice before he or she is even born. Finding a song that your baby loves will help you calm the little one when nothing else seems to work.
Try the 5 S’s - many hospitals are introduced with classes that teach the 5 S’s. This method can be found also on the DVD of doctor Harvey Karp, a pediatrician from Los Angeles.
Swaddle - cross the baby’s arms over his chest, inside the wrap. Make it comfortable - it gives a sense of security to your baby.
Side/Stomach – if your baby isn’t happy on his back, hold her or him tummy-down.
Shhh - shushing cams down a baby because it’s a reminder of the period spent in the womb. As doctor Karp suggests, shush "as loudly as your baby is crying."
Swinging - swing your baby either in a mechanized swing or in your arms.
Sucking – to maintain the state of calm of your baby, provide him or her a pacifier or your breast to suck.
Signs the baby is tired
When is tired, the baby sounds helpless or breathy. The baby’s crying, which is discontinuous, is easier to soothe compared to other types of crying.
The eyes of the baby can be closed while the baby is restless. The baby might rub his eyes or have them open, with redness underneath them. Other signs that show your baby is tired are whining, fussing and crying even at the slightest sound, staring blankly into space, turning head away, pulling hair or ears, limb movements, looking for comfort by sucking, yawning (3 to 12 months) or being quiet all of a sudden.
Signs the baby is hungry
When the baby is hungry, his or her crying sounds unrelenting, high-pitched and quite desperate. The baby is licking or smacking the lips, wiggles or gets frantic or is opening and closing his mouth.
The baby may also suck everything at hand, from tongue, lips, toys, fingers or toes. Some babies might also lay back or pull on to your clothes, in order to get in position for nursing, while others can fuss and breathe fast. Other signs of hunger are the hitting of your chest or arm in a repeated way and rooting around the chest of his carrier.
Toy to soothe your baby’s crying
Your baby’s crying can have, as shown above, several causes. The modern world today provides lots of toys and gadgets designed to amuse, teach and even help your baby stop crying. From shushing machines to noisy rainmakers, you can choose the one you think will work for your baby. If you are not sure what can soothe your baby, help him or her enjoy a good night sleep or a nap or if you’re just in the search of something amazing, have a look at this: a giant elephant pillow toy!
With a height of 55 cm, available in various colors from blue to pink or purple, this soft plush filled with 100% high quality PP cotton will soothe your baby, help him stop crying, makes him or her feel comfortable, provide a restful sleep and, why not, become your baby’s best friend in the first years of life.
Sounds good, doesn’t? Click the link below to order the product and have fun watching your baby make a new friend -> Soft Elephant Giant Pillow