New parents, raise your hand if you agree: dealing with an inconsolable infant make you want to pull all your hair out especially when it’s happening in the wee hours of the morning. As the renowned pediatrician and child development expert, Dr. Harvey Karp, soothing a fussy baby is one of the great difficulties of new parenthood.
And when parents can’t handle anymore, it can even lead to breastfeeding failure, postpartum depression, and shaken baby syndrome, said Dr. Karp. “All that stuff is related to desperate parents who were just so frustrated and trying to do the best thing for their kids,” he added.
The hard part is trying to figure out what exactly is troubling your little one. To ease the guesswork even a little bit, here’s a rundown of possible reasons your baby is crying. 1. Hunger One of the first things a parent does to soothe baby's crying is to give him milk. Dr. Paul Horowitz, a pediatrician, reminded parents via The Bump, however, that “crying is a late sign of hunger.” Lessen the tears by watching for cues that your baby is hungry, like when he's sucking on his hands or lip-smacking.
2. Tummy troubles Babies need a little help when they get gassy. Pediatrician Dr. Preeti Parikh says to try to move your baby's legs in a bicycle motion, pushing them up gently to her chest. With a little luck, you'll be able to relieve the gas and get your baby tooting. Other times, however, tummy troubles could be due to colic -- which is known to cause inconsolable crying in babies for several hours a day. Learn about it here.
3. Dirty diaper Some babies are sensitive to a wet or dirty diaper. Check if he needs to be changed and for signs of a diaper rash that can be irritating your baby.
4. “I’m too hot/cold!” Babies can easily get too hot or cold, which can make them fussy. “A rule of thumb is to check what you would be comfortable wearing. A baby less than 3 months old just needs one more extra layer than an adult, while you should dress an older baby the way you would yourself,” pediatrician Dr. Roman Araullotold Smart Parenting.
“Many worried parents will overdress their baby, and that’s a real risk in the hot Manila climate,” he added. “Choose cool, loose clothes and skip the blanket.”
5. “I want mom/dad!” Babies are very clingy. So your baby may be crying because he simply wants you to hold him, rock him or hear your voice. Try putting him on your chest and having some quality skin-to-skin contact bonding time.
6. Tired or sleepy It will take time for infants to soothe themselves to sleep. So, they cry instead and ask for mom or dad to help them get some Zs. Remember that newborns can sleep up to 16 hours a day. Follow bedtime routine to ease calm him.
7. Too many things are going on! “Noise and commotion can overwhelm a baby,” said Dr. Karp, so try and see if he’s over-stimulated. Lights, loud sounds or being passed around too much can bother your little one. If this is the case, find somewhere where you both can find a little peace.
8. Teething If your baby is around 3 or 4 months old or older, he may be getting his first tooth already! It's an exciting milestone for mom and dad, but teething can be painful for your baby. Try feeling your baby’s gums with your finger for the bump of a sprouting baby tooth. If you do find one, you can find tips on how to soothe teething pain here.
9. Not feeling well If you’ve met your baby’s basics needs and tried to comfort him, but he still won’t stop crying, check for signs of illness, said BabyCenter. Take his temperature, for example, and look for any unusual behavior. “If your baby's crying just doesn't sound ‘right,’ trust your instincts and call or see a doctor.”