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    Why babies cry, and what to do

    By lizmcg | July 17, 2008

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    Generally speaking, babies cry for just a handful of reasons. Some babies have a slightly different cry for each reason – others may just scream equally loudly for every situation. Here are the general reasons babies cry:

    • Hunger – Whether you are bottle feeding or breastfeeding (or doing a combination of both), most babies will loudly proclaim when it’s time for dinner.

    • Diaper – Some babies can live with a wet or dirty diaper, others will have a fit. As you get to know your baby, you’ll soon find out which camp your baby belongs to.

    • Pain – If your baby is suffering from colic, constipation, has a fever, or you have any concerns regarding a health issue, you need to call your pediatrician and get your questions answered about what to do. NEVER administer medication to your baby without consulting with your pediatrician first. EVER.

    • Surprise/Fear – Everything in your baby’s environment is new, so at times there are going to be some surprises. Most often, a few quiet minutes of soothing will do the trick here. Consistently soothing your baby now will help allay fears in the future.

    • Over-stimulation – When baby is too tired, such as after a long day or an interesting event, you may have a crying baby on your hands. If mom or dad is trying to do too much during the day – going too many places, trying to get everything at home done – the result is over-stimulation and crying. Try to set a peaceful mood throughout the day and allow yourself plenty of flexibility in your schedule. Don’t force it, and your baby may be more peaceful, too.

    • Boredom – Sometimes, like it or not, your baby may just need to cry. If you suspect boredom, try reading a book together, playing with a toy, turning on some favorite music, or interacting in a way that your baby usually enjoys. For some babies, a ride in the stroller or car (in a car seat) can bring relief for both of you!

    What to do when your baby is often fussy

    If your baby seems constantly fussy (aka, just seems to cry an awful lot), you should discuss this with your pediatrician. Keep track on a notepad what time(s) of day the fussiness is occurring. Note what happened before  the crying began, and what your baby ate (or what you ate if you are breastfeeding). This information will help you be ready to have a good discussion with your pediatrician.

    If you just need a few minutes to yourself, that’s understandable. It’s OK to let your baby cry for a while in his crib, as long as you know he is safe and can’t reach anything to hurt himself. If you take care of yourself, you will be better take care of him.

    Every parent also needs others who can help, so enlist help as soon as possible. Call your family, best friend, babysitter, neighbor… you get the picture. Ask them to come over, or ask if you can go to them. Give them any instructions you need to, make sure they have plenty of bottles and diapers, and if you are breastfeeding let them know when you’ll be back.

    If you don’t know anyone who can do this for you, or if you need more time than your network can give you, consider finding a regular babysitter who can help. Having even just a couple of hours every week away from your little one (or even an evening out) may help you feel much more able to face day-to-day responsibilities.

    Topics: infant care |