Understanding Your Baby's Cry | Emma's Diary India

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Understanding your baby's cry

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Advice on what your baby’s cry may mean

Here we look at some common reasons for crying and offer some tips on what you can do to soothe your baby.

Hunger

This is one of the most likely reasons for crying especially during the first few months. Your baby’s stomach is small so he can’t take in a lot of milk during a feed.

This means that he will quite quickly become hungry again. Offer him a feed when he cries and allow him to keep feeding for as long as he wants so that his hunger is satisfied.

Discomfort

Some babies become upset when their nappy needs changing. Prolonged contact with a wet or dirty nappy can irritate your baby’s skin and cause nappy rash so it’s important to keep his bottom clean and dry.

Try changing your baby when he cries and check that the nappy isn’t too tight and that his clothes aren’t rubbing anywhere causing discomfort.

Too hot or too cold

Young babies can’t regulate their body temperature in the same way that older children and adults can, so they become upset when they get too hot or too cold.

The quickest way to check your baby’s temperature is by touching his stomach. Don’t rely on the temperature of his hands or feet as they will normally be slightly cooler than his body. If your baby’s skin feels hot, remove a piece of clothing or blanket.

If he feels cold and his hands and feet look blue and blotchy, add mittens, socks/bootees and a cardigan or blanket.

Outside, a hat will prevent heat loss through the scalp but you should never use a hat indoors.

Never place your baby’s cot near a window or a heater or blower.

Tiredness

Sometimes babies become over stimulated which makes it difficult for them to turn off when they want to sleep. If your baby seems tired but won’t settle, try to calm him by taking him away from any noise, bright lights and lots of people.

He may cry for a while but peaceful surroundings should eventually settle him to sleep.

Insecurity

New babies often need close physical contact so if your baby still cries after you’ve fed and changed him, it’s likely that he still needs to reassurance of being held in your arms.

Unwell

There are many reasons why your baby may feel unwell and some, such as having a cold are obvious, others such as stomach ache are not.

Rarely, excessive crying can be a sign of a serious illness, so if you are concerned that your baby is unwell always talk to your doctor.

Colic

The main symptom of colic is continuous crying for long periods of time. This crying can occur at any time but it is usually worse in the evening.

A baby with colic may seem in discomfort and draw his legs up towards his tummy, become red in the face and pass wind, he may also refuse to eat and have difficulty going to sleep. No one knows for sure why babies get colic but it doesn’t usually last past four months and does no harm to your baby.

However, the bouts of incessant crying can put a strain on you and your family so don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help.

Getting help

If your baby cries a lot and won’t settle, try not to get angry or upset with your baby. Remember, other parents have been through the same experience and have survived.

The best thing to do if you feel you can’t stand the crying anymore is to put your baby in a safe place, such as his cot, and go to another part of the house until you feel calmer.

Alternatively, ask your partner or a friend to give you a break. A few hours away from home, even if you just go window shopping, should help you calm down and feel more able to cope.

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for advice. They won’t think any less of you for being upset by your baby’s constant crying.

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