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6 Reasons Why Babies Cry and How to Soothe Them


Newborn babies bring joy and happiness when they arrive. Taking care of them will probably be the simplest and most difficult thing anyone can do. Crying and screaming will be their only means of communication with the world even with their fellow babies! They depend totally on their parents and carers for everything. This can be overwhelming to even the most experienced hand. The first thing to do is relax; it’s not as difficult as you may think. 

Here are some things your baby maybe saying to you during a crying session and useful advice on what to do:

I’m Hungry

This is one of the main reasons why babies cry. Younger babies tend to cry more because their stomachs are small and cannot retain much food. If you are breastfeeding exclusively your baby will require feeding regularly. If your baby cries for food so soon after eating, it is no cause for worry.

For babies that are formula fed, they may not feel hungry for up to 2 hours after their last meal.

Common signs you will see when your baby is hungry are fussing, smacking of lips, rooting (a newborn reflex that cause babies to turn their head toward your hand when you stroke their cheek), and putting their hands to their mouth.

I’m tired

Often, babies find it hard to get to sleep, particularly if they are over-tired. You will soon become aware of your baby’s sleep ‘i want to sleep’ signal. Whining and crying at the slightest thing, staring blankly into space, and going quiet and still are just three examples. If your baby has received a lot of attention and cuddles from doting visitors, she may become over-stimulated. Then, when it comes to sleeping, she’ll find it hard to switch off and settle. Take your baby somewhere calm and quiet to help her to settle down.

Mummy, please hold me

Your baby will need lots of cuddling, physical contact and reassurance to comfort her. So it may be that she just wants to be held. Try holding her close to you, perhaps swaying and singing to her while you hold her. This is a good time to remember all the nursery rhymes you learnt as a child. You may be worried about spoiling your baby if you hold her too much. But during the first few months of her life that’s not possible. Small babies need lots of physical comfort. If you hold your baby close she may be soothed by hearing your heartbeat and feeling the warmth from your body.

I feel hot or cold

When your baby feels cold, such as when you remove his clothes to change a diaper or clean his bottom with a cold wipe, he may protest by crying. Newborns like to be bundled up and kept warm — but not too warm. As a rule, they’re comfortable wearing one more layer than you need to be comfortable. Babies are less likely to whine about being too warm than being too cold.

It’s time for a diaper change

Your baby may protest if his/her clothes are too tight, when they are in a wet or soiled nappy. They may not mind if their nappy is full and may actually enjoy the warm and comfortable feeling. But if your baby’s tender skin is irritated he/she will most likely cry. Checking and ensuring she’s dry all the time will help keep her happy and prevent the very much dreaded nappy rash.

I just feel like crying

This might mean they need attention. If your baby is under five months old, he/she may cry in the late afternoon and evenings. This is normal, and doesn’t necessarily mean your baby is unwell. When babies are irritated, they can cry for a few minutes of inconsolable crying or very much longer. During this period, they may refuse all efforts to comfort them; they may also clench their fists, draw up knees, or arch his/her back. For a lot of parents, it’s upsetting when it seems you can’t do anything to ease your baby’s distress. However hard it is at the time, be rest assured that your baby will grow out of this trying phase.

The best you can do is to enjoy each phase as your baby grows older; really great memories come from there.

About Olubukola Tikare

Olubukola Tikare is a qualified pharmacist with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University Ogun State Nigeria and a Masters degree in Clinical Pharmacy, International Practice and Policy from the School of Pharmacy, University of London. Her experience includes conducting field research and writing for leading global pharmaceutical companies. Her research centres on finding ways of improving access to healthcare in the African continent.

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