All babies cry. But for many different reasons, some babies cry more than others. Understanding why your baby is crying and finding ways to settle them is a big part of being a parent.
Why do babies cry?
Crying is normal, it is how your baby communicates. Your baby may be telling you something is wrong, that they are uncomfortable, tired or hungry, or they may just need your attention and love. A lot of the time you will not know why your baby is crying. This can be very hard to cope with but it doesn't mean your baby is being naughty.
Infant colic is a term used for repeated, long-lasting episodes of crying without an obvious cause in babies that are otherwise healthy.
What to do?
- Cuddle and comfort your child.
- Your baby could be hungry. See if she wants to feed.
- Change your baby's nappy if it's dirty or damp.
- Check to ensure your baby’s clothing is comfortable and not too tight.
- Check your baby's temperature. Is she too hot or too cold?
- Burp your baby (trapped wind can cause pain).
- Wrap and hold your baby safely in a light-weight blanket.
- Your baby could be tired, try putting your baby down somewhere safe to sleep.
I’ve tried all of the above but my baby continues to cry... Now what?
- Hold your baby close to you, gently stroke their back, hum or sing.
- Have a warm, relaxing bath with your baby. Never leave your baby alone in the bath.
- Take your baby for a walk in their pram. Or try a drive in the car.
- If you are concerned your baby is not well, see your doctor, midwife or well-child provider.
Keep your baby safe
Looking after a crying baby can be exhausting. If you are finding it hard to cope, make a plan – what are you going to do if your baby will not stop crying and you begin to feel frustrated or upset?
- If you feel like you could lose control – walk away. Put your baby in a safe place and leave the room.
- Check on your baby regularly, but don't pick him or her up until you feel calmer.
- Try doing something that helps you relax – a walk to the letterbox, a quick shower or have a hot drink.
- Call a family member or friend and let them know that you need a break. Sometimes just talking to someone will be all you need.
- Don’t be ashamed. It’s OK to realise that you've reached your breaking point.
Never shake your baby
The leading reason for a baby being shaken is a frustrated caregiver or parent. You have the power to protect your baby. If you notice yourself becoming frustrated, walk away and take a break. When you feel ready, pick up your baby offer them love and comfort. Never leave your baby with a person who you feel could lose control.
If you ever think your baby could have been shaken, seek emergency help immediately by calling 111. Do not be scared or let your pride get in the way. This decision may save your baby’s life.