Babies cry…a lot. But have you ever thought, why is my baby crying so much?
New parents tend to get upset when their babies cry and this is completely normal. A crying baby can be very upsetting and frustrating for new parents, not to mention emotionally exhausting.
Remember, all parents have been there and it is part and parcel of bringing a new bundle of joy into the world.
Let’s take a closer look at why babies cry and what you can do to help them settle.
How long do newborn babies cry for?
Some good news – this phase doesn’t last forever. New-born babies are the biggest culprits in the crying stakes and babies tend to cry most in the first four months of their lives.
On average a baby in the first four months of its life will have a good cry for around two to three hours a day!
Is it normal for my baby to cry so much?
Yes, unfortunately it is but you should know why babies tend to cry and also be aware of underlying symptoms of serious conditions that need medical assistance.
Why is my baby crying so much?
Babies can’t speak! The only way they can communicate with us to make noises. This is one of the main reason babies cry. They are trying to tell us something.
Mum, I’m hungry!
Your baby has a tiny tummy so it is not uncommon for a baby to have a good cry every few hours when it decides it needs to tell Mum that it wants a feed.
One of the first things a breastfeeding Mum does when a baby starts to cry is to over it the breast.
If you are feeding your little one from a bottle make sure you check that they are completely finishing their feeds and maybe try mixing things up with a little more often.
Also, check for reflux, which is a very common cause of crying at feeding time.
Seriously, I’m HUNGRY!
There are behaviours a baby displays that will show when they want their food.
You may have heard of the terms rooting, or that babies do things like try to eat their own firsts. These are both clear signs of wanting to be fed and if you pick up on these signals quickly you will find that the crying starts to reduce significantly.
I’m tired…so I’m going to have a good cry!
Babies will often have a good cry when they become tired. Try to pick up on the signs of a tired baby (restlessness, shifting positions) and find somewhere for you both to nap together to stop a crying episode coming on.
What’s that smell?
Would you like to sit in your own poo? Dirty nappies (wet and smelly) will make a baby cry.
Can I have a cuddle, please?
Remember that your baby has spent nine months with you, literally inside you.
Babies want love, attention, warmth and the smell of mum at all times. Have you ever seen a new Mum try to proudly pass their new-born baby around a room full of relatives? This normally ends in a screaming baby, desperate to be returned to the warmth and smell of mum.
Something is hurting
OK, so if you have ticked off all the common drivers that cause a baby to cry and things aren’t getting any better now is the time to put your Mum detective hat on.
No one knows your baby better than you and if at any point you think your baby might be crying because they are in pain then you need to seek medical help immediately.
Never ever try to talk yourself out of seeking medical help if you have exhausted all possibilities and everything you have tried has failed.
Pick up the phone and talk to your GP straight away.
Too hot or too cold?
New born babies find it difficult to self-regulate their temperature.
It is very important that you make sure your baby is wrapped up well in the colder months (but not excessively hot), and in summer has plenty to drink and is wearing the right clothing and are kept out of direct sunlight.
Make sure you also have the right type of blankets for them in their bed/basket.
I need to fart and it’s not coming out!
Your newborn baby has a tiny teeny weening little belly. Wind and reflux can be a real source of discomfort for little new born babies.
You should know how to wind your little one and get into the habit of winding them after every feed until you hear the burps.
The three most common methods of winding are:
- Gently pat and rub their backs whilst they are lying over your shoulder
- Softly massage their stomach (think clockwise)
- Gently bend their legs up toward their stomach, just like that are trying to ride a bicycle
Give me some attention
Babies are quick learners and are as sneaky as ninjas. They quickly learn that crying leads to hugs, kisses, soothing and Mum time, irrespective of what time of the day.
Get into a habit of running through a quick checklist with your baby and if you think they are seeking attention don’t feel bad about putting them back down again.
Obviously don’t leave them crying hysterically, but you need to be aware of how sneaky babies can be when they learn that crying gets them attention and other nice things!
Will my newborn baby ever stop crying?
There is not a parent in the world that has not felt useless when trying to stop their baby from crying uncontrollably in the middle of the night. It can be overwhelming but don’t be hard on yourself. You are doing a fantastic job so keep going.
As you build up a bond of communication with your baby you will find that you can very quickly identify the driver of the tears and the remedy.
This phase won’t last forever and once it’s over you will be able to return to a normal (ish) sleep pattern once again.
Remember you can always ask for help from your family or partner if Mum needs a little bit of downtime and if you have tried everything to stop your baby from crying without success always contact your GP.