We often get calls from parents frustrated and exhausted holding a crying or fussing baby. Crying is a normal behavior, because it is the only way babies can communicate. Babies can go through difficult stages in the early months, some due to issues that can be recognized and addressed, but sometimes the issue isn’t quite as clear. Excessive crying in babies is a frustrating situation that most parents do not feel equipped to handle after awhile.
Why is my baby crying?
There are often ways to decode your baby’s cries. If a baby is crying after nursing, you should consider your diet. Often babies are sensitive to dairy, caffeine, spicy foods. Pay attention to a pattern, does your baby cry every time you eat a specific food? Crying in public may be a sign of overstimulation and a need for quiet time. Changing or bathing may cause your baby to cry simply because your baby is cold and having its body pulled around. If you are able to catch the beginning stages of fussiness or crying, it can be easy to calm a crying baby. But sometimes, babies excessively cry and working to soothe them can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
How to calm a crying baby
Start the calming process as quickly as you can. We find the 5 S’s of Soothing to be an efficient method for soothing a baby. Keep in mind, this technique will take some practice to perfect. Luckily, the quicker you implement the soothing, the less steps you will need.
Consult with your pediatrician if your baby doesn’t calm easily or seems to be in pain. They may suggest an over the counter or prescribed medication to calm suspected reflux, which can be painful for babies. Your baby may also be diagnosed with colic. Colic typically peaks at 6 weeks of age and can last 3-4 months. Colic has no known cause, and no known treatment at this time.
Ask for help
A crying baby is something we think we can handle and correct, and most of the time, this is true. But sometimes babies cry so often and for such long periods that it can become an actual safety issue. It’s hard to imagine a parent hurting their child or themselves or over crying, but it’s a scary reality. So ask for help. Many times we have been called to a home just to hold or rock a baby so the parents can leave the house to recenter and have a break. Asking someone to take the baby isn’t selfish or weak. It’s many times the best thing you could do for yourself and your baby.
Safety guidelines for parents
There are steps to follow to keep babies safe during stressful crying sessions. The CDC recommends following these steps, in addition to the steps listed above.
- Lower the lights and noise to help calm the baby.
- Walk the baby around holding him or her close to you.
- Take the baby for a ride in a stroller or a car.
- Call a friend, relative, neighbor or provider for help.
- Take a break – sit down and count to 10 or 20.
If all else fails, put the baby in the crib on his or her back. Close the door and check back every five minutes or so. Don’t pick up the baby until you feel calm.
Don’t ever feel like you are alone. Because sometimes, it really does take a village. And we are happy to be a part of your village.