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Why is my baby crying?

Crying is normal behaviour for babies. Research shows that babies tend to cry most between the ages of two weeks and three months, with crying peaking between six to eight weeks. Periods of inconsolable crying are not unusual.

Just like adults, babies have a range of different needs and crying is one of their ways of trying to let their parents know what they need. Here are some of the reasons why babies cry:

Hunger/Thirst

Your baby may be hungry or thirsty. Crying may not stop immediately when you offer a feed. If you are able to stay relaxed, your child will be able to calm herself more easily and start to feed. Newborns have very small tummies so don’t be surprised if they need to feed frequently.

Sleep:

Babies often cry when they are tired so finding a way to get your baby to sleep may help you all. You could try soothing your child then putting her down in her cot and leaving her for a few minutes to see if she will go off to sleep while you have a break, or you could put her in the pram and go for a walk.

Over-stimulation:

Too much stimulation can be overwhelming; try taking your baby somewhere calm to settle them.

Emotional comfort:

Babies need to adjust to the transition from womb to the outside world. They generally love to be held and touched and can also need reassurance that someone is close by.

Physical comfort:

Check if your baby has a soiled nappy or perhaps she is uncomfortable, or too hot or too cold.
Illness: If you’ve done everything you can, you may wonder if your baby is ill or in pain. A child who is ill often cries in a different tone. It may be more urgent or high-pitched. If your child has difficulty breathing through the crying, or if the crying is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, call your GP.

Colic:

Some babies keep on crying even when you’ve tried everything and there are no obvious signs of illness. If you find that your baby is constantly crying; they may have colic. Colic is excessive crying or extended and repeated periods of crying or fussing in babies who are otherwise healthy and thriving. Common symptoms in babies usually begin within the first few weeks of life and generally end by around three months.

Reflux:

Excessive crying might also be caused by reflux, which is when the stomach contents— food (milk) and acid — come back up into the gullet or into the mouth. Most babies have reflux to a degree because the muscular valve at the end of their food pipe, which acts to keep food in the stomach, hasn’t developed properly yet. This is painful for only a small proportion of babies but if you suspect that reflux is upsetting your baby, talk to your GP or health visitor.

Ways to soothe a crying baby:-

Some experts suggest that re-creating a ‘womb-like’ environment in the early weeks and months, as well as staying close to them, can help your child feel safer and therefore calmer.

You could also try.....

  • Gently rocking her in your arms, in a sling or her buggy.
  • Stroke or massage her back gently.
  • Try holding her in different positions.
  • Take her outside: babies often like to feel the air on their faces.
  • Try soothing sounds or talk gently, sing or hum.
  • Offer her a clean finger-tip to suck.
  • Ask someone else to take over, sometimes a new pair of hands works wonders!!
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