Do you ever wonder what makes a baby cry? As crying is one of the few ways babies have of communicating their needs to us, they cry about almost anything. They have a special cry when they are hungry, feel pain, have anxiety and are over stimulated. Even when they have gas, are exhausted, scared or frustrated, babies fuss and cry. It must be frustrating and stressful when they are doing their best to communicate to us and we don’t understand. Stressful not just for babies, but also for parents, who by nature want to respond with action. But, how can we respond appropriately?
To begin, feed your baby on demand, yes on demand. If you were hungry, how do you think you would feel? Would eating change your mood? Then feed your baby when they are hungry. Feeding on demand does not create spoiled children. Of course don’t automatically assume that your baby’s cries indicate that he is hungry. Just give the baby your breast and see what happens. If he still cries, check his diaper and if that’s not it, then try some of the following:
Speak Gently: Try speaking in a soft gentle voice or maybe even better, try singing. Your baby will recognize the tone of your voice and will respond to it. Even if you are a little off tune, baby won’t mind. Research has proven that many babies enjoy the sounds of female voices but that does not mean daddy can’t give it a try too!
Relaxing Strokes: Often, when a baby wants to be comforted, they cry for this loving attention. Maybe they’ve woken up abruptly or something frightened them. A nurturing stroke can make a world of difference. Try holding baby and gently stroking his back.
Make a Move: That’s right, try moving around. Babies love motion as it reminds them of being in utero. But what kind of movement? You might try walking, rocking, jiggling or swaying.
Swaddling: If you are not sure how to swaddle, ask your pediatrician, a nurse or experienced mother how to swaddle the baby. For many infants, being wrapped tightly in a blanket makes them feel safe and secure.
“Shushing” Sounds: Many babies are soothed by white noise. Some things to try: a washing machine, electric fan, vacuum and humidifier. It is important to be sure the “shushing” sounds are as loud as your baby’s crying.
Fresh Air: Try going outdoors. For many babies just being outside in the fresh air can soothe. Maybe it’s the sounds of the birds, the wind or the sun, whatever it is, many babies will calm by being outdoors. Maybe this will even calm you, too.
Have a Break: Have you been trying and trying to soothe your little one to no avail? Try giving dad, grandma, grandpa or even a good friend a try. They may have their own unique way of helping baby to calm and quiet.