As a new parent, you’re in the adjustment phase. You’re now taking care of an infant that can’t communicate the way you're accustomed to. Without the verbal communication, it’s hard to understand what a baby needs.
As the child becomes fussy or cries, you often ask yourself what’s wrong? Overtime, you’ll learn your baby’s signals. They will begin to make specific cries or whines for certain needs. An “I’m pooping” and “I’m hungry” will be distinctively different. Eventually, you’ll anticipate those situations and take preventative steps like timing baby’s feedings.
In the meantime, when baby starts wailin' check these six potential reasons.
Maybe baby just ate an hour ago and you’re thinking, “there is no way they are hungry again!” It’s still worth trying to feed them because they could be going through a growth spurt and need the extra calories.
When baby clearly isn’t interested in eating, the next most obvious thing to check is the diaper. Some babies could live in a soiled diaper all day with a smile on their face. Other babies sense even the tiniest moisture and their shrieks can be heard 100 miles away.
As a rule of thumb, babies only need to wear one additional layer of clothing more than adults to feel comfortable in any particular climate. So if it’s summer and you wish you could be running naked through the sprinklers but baby is wearing more than just a diaper, they might be too hot. If they appear sweaty or flushed, chances are they are too hot.
On the opposite side, if you wish you were wearing 25 layers on a cold winter’s day, baby needs 26. And if baby ever looks pale or feels cold, they probably are. Remedy either of these issues and their tears might just cease.
It’s also possible that your crying baby could be in pain. Maybe the car seat buckle pinched baby’s chunky thighs. Or maybe their swing has them scrunched in an uncomfortable position. Or maybe their fingernails scratched their delicate skin.
One important, nearly invisible cause of pain can be a small string or hair wrapped tightly around baby’s fingers or toes so be sure to remove their socks and gloves/mittens to check and make sure this doesn’t happen to your baby.
If baby has: a fever over 100.4 F; an inexplicable rash; isn’t eating their usual amount; vomits up nearly their entire feeding; or hasn’t had their normal number of wet or poopy diapers, then you should contact the pediatrician to rule out any illness. If you ever have any concerns, always contact your pediatrician to discuss and possibly bring baby in for a check up!
By practicing checking for these 6 common reasons babies cry, you will eventually learn to easily read your baby’s cries and provide the proper solutions to comfort them. But what if you’ve checked for all these issues, and baby still cries? Fortunately, there are many other tools parents can use to comfort those babies who seem to “cry for no reason,” including the famous “5 S’s” popularized by pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp. I will write more on this in future posts!
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