Preparing for the birth of a new baby is an exciting time, especially when you consider all the planning involved for meeting the needs of your new bundle of joy. Then all of a sudden, your little one is here! Night feedings, burping, diaper changes and your sweet baby’s crying are all new experiences. New parents report being concerned about not knowing why their babies are crying, especially in the first few months of life. Lucky, it’s totally normal for your baby to cry. But interpreting what your little darling is trying to communicate can be challenging — and stressful. While it’s not a perfect science, experts can agree on the most common reasons for your bundle of joy to cry and fuss: remember it’s your baby’s only way to communicate. Here are six of most common reasons your baby may be crying paired with a few tips to help any new mom or dad better understand and soothe their crying baby.
1. Feed me! I’m hungry!
Babies communicate their basic needs through crying and a babies little tummy is small and fills up quickly so they need to eat often. Whether your baby feeds on demand or you’re scheduling their feedings, keeping track of how often your baby is eating and how long they are feeding each session is helpful for ruling out whether a cry is for feeding or something else. Keep in mind nursing moms will find they need to feed baby more often than those using formula.
2. I’m wet, dirty, and uncomfortable! I need a diaper change!
Needing a diaper change is another common reason for an infant to cry — or scream! Depending on your baby’s discomfort, he or she may let you know with a hearty cry. Some infants are more sensitive than others but all new babies have sensitive, and often, dry skin. Make sure to check and change your baby often. Not only will it reduce your baby’s crying but it will also help keep diaper rashes in check.
3. I’m tired or over-stimulated!
The world is a big place for a new baby. Everything is new, different, and stimulating. Every moment your little one is awake he or she is learning, exploring, and growing. With so much going on, a little one will need a lot of sleep. Babies that become overtired will struggle to stay awake, often fussing off and on or outright crying. Swaddling your baby may soothe them and help them get to sleep before they become overtired. Some babies relax with a warm bath or quiet rocking. Moving to a quieter, darkened, less stimulating room can help, too.
4. My tummy hurts from gas!
Babies take in air when nursing or feeding, which causes air to be trapped in your child’s stomach. This causes gas. A good burp or two mid-feed can help prevent gas pains. Burp your baby by lightly patting her on the back in various positions. Some babies have trouble passing gas, because of slow digestion or food sensitivities or allergies which can cause prolonged pain and longer periods of crying. This is often referred to as colic. Contact your child’s physician if you think she may have colic.
5. I want to be held!
Your baby has been warm and snuggly in your belly for nine months, and all of the sudden they find themselves coping with new sensations. Light, temperature, and sound may make your baby fuss. Crying happens and some babies just feel cranky. Cuddling and holding your baby provides warmth and comfort. Babies love feeling and hearing their mommy’s (and daddy’s) voice. Holding and cuddling your baby helps them feel safe and secure.
6. I feel sick!
Being around new people and places can expose your little one to respiratory or digestive illnesses. You know your baby best. If crying is prolonged, incessant, or is paired with other symptoms, contact your child’s physician. All new babies communicate with a cry, but having a good idea of why your baby may be crying can help you navigate his seemingly sudden wails.