Newborns spend most of their day crying, especially during the first few months of life. Understandably so, since crying is your child’s only way to communicate and get you to attend to their needs. While crying is normal, it can be frustrating for most new parents if you can’t get them to stop, let alone understand why they’re upset in the first place.
Why Do Newborns Cry?
At this early stage of life, your baby will only cry if he is feeling discomfort and/or needs something from you. Your baby isn’t trying to trick you or annoy you on purpose! With some patience and practice, you will eventually get attuned to your child’s needs and learn how to interpret his different cries. Below are several common reasons why babies cry:
Overtired / Needs a nap
Hungry / Needs milk
Dirty diaper that needs changing
Colic and needs to be burped
Overstimulated by activity or noise
Body temperature too hot or too cold
Most of the time, solving these issues will be enough to calm your baby. However, if they continue to cry even after checking all of the above, and you know they are not in physically hurt or have an illness, you can try a few different methods to help soothe your baby.
Swaddle Your Baby
Wrapping your baby securely in a swaddle blanket mimics the feeling of safety in the womb. It provides a sensation that makes them feel secure, reduces their anxiety, and helps them learn to self-soothe. Swaddling your baby also helps to prevent the moro reflex, which causes them to accidentally wake themselves up and cry!
Give Them Something to Suck
Babies are born with a sucking reflex, which they develop in the womb. Sucking is not only useful for feeding; it actually helps babies self-soothe! Their innate need to suck sometimes doesn’t get satisfied even if they are full, so if your little one is fussy, you can offer your breast or a pacifier. One word of caution, though. If you plan to breastfeed, don’t introduce a pacifier until proper latching/breastfeeding is established, as it might lead to nipple confusion.
One of the most common ways parents soothe their babies is through rocking. Your baby’s life inside the womb is impacted by mommy’s movement. Thus, rhythmic motions that resemble life in the womb often relaxes them. Cradle your baby and support their head as you gently sway, or alternatively you can place them on a rocker or bouncer. Some parents even find that taking their baby for a drive around the neighborhood does the trick!
Turn On White Noise
Have you ever wondered why shushing is so effective? While the womb is a dark, enclosed space, it’s not very quiet. That’s because your baby is surrounded by white noise from mommy’s blood passing through the placenta and mommy’s heartbeat. So next time your baby is crying, try a white noise machine or one of the many free apps available to download on smartphones. Otherwise, common household items like a fan or hairdryer should also do the trick. Just make sure to keep the volume low and use it only when needed so you don’t damage our baby’s ears.
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