Newborns Common Problems Crying

Babies cry for a number of reasons or sometimes for no reason at all. While persistent crying can try the patience of any parent, understanding that crying is one of the few ways your baby can communicate with you can help you learn more about what tends to trigger your baby’s crying.

Reasons for Baby Crying

For a newborn, crying is the only means of communication. Until a baby learns to talk or communicate in other nonverbal ways, (s)he is stuck with crying as the sole way of letting you know (s)he needs something. Babies commonly cry because they are:

  • hungry: Knowing when babies are hungry is usually easy for diligent parents to recognize. Having your baby on a regular feeding schedule can reduce crying because of hunger.
  • lonely: A parent’s face and voice are endless sources of entertainment to a baby. By interacting with you, your baby learns valuable lessons, including how to talk, smile and play. While some babies crave more interaction than others, many infants will cry when they want to be held or picked up.
  • over-stimulated: Although parents love to talk to their babies and receive lots of smiles and babbling in return, even the friendliest babies sometimes need a break from all the action. A baby can’t tell you that he’s weary of your voice, so he may cry in protest. Peace and quiet should be enough to soothe over-stimulated babies that are crying.
  • sick: It doesn’t take long for parents to recognize that their babies cry differently to express different emotions. A crying baby who can’t be soothed with a bottle or with cuddling may be sick. In these instances, check your baby’s temperature to rule out fever. If your infant starts displaying other health problems, such as diarrhea, visit the pediatrician for a proper diagnosis and immediate treatment.
  • uncomfortable: Soiled diapers, extreme temperatures and a variety of other things can cause your baby to be uncomfortable. While a diaper change may be enough to stop your baby’s crying, you may have to change his or her clothing or make other adjustments to make your baby comfortable and stop his or her tears.

How to Soothe a Crying Baby

There are several ways you can soothe your crying baby. Some will work better than others or will only work at certain times. Most babies love to be held, swaddled and rocked. Others calm down during car rides or by listening to white noise provided by appliances like vacuum cleaners. Soft music may also help. Try changing the scenery by taking your baby outside for a walk in the stroller.

If, after trying everything, your baby is still crying (and you’ve ruled out illness), try to remain calm and realize this is one of those times when you’ll just have to deal with an inevitable part of babyhood.

When a Baby Won’t Stop Crying

It can be difficult to cope when a baby continues to cry even after you’ve tried everything to make him or her feel better. Parents of colicky infants can have an especially hard time if they have to listen to their baby crying for hours on end day after day. Some things frazzled parents can do to remain calm in the face of their baby’s crying include:

  • getting out: For parents who stay at home all day with their baby while their partner works outside of the home, going out for fresh air without the baby once your partner gets home can do a lot of good.
  • remembering it’s no one’s fault: Your baby isn’t bad because he cries, and you’re not a failure if he cries a lot. Try to remember that this is a phase of childhood that will eventually pass.
  • resting: You’ll feel better and more capable of handling difficult situations if you’re well-rested. Nap when your baby naps to keep your energy level high and reduce your stress.
  • talking: Talk to your spouse, partner, family members or friends. If they have children, chances are they have gone through the same trials of child-rearing and can provide invaluable support.

Resources

BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board (2006). Seven reasons babies cry and how to soothe them. Retrieved February 3, 2008, from the BabyCenter Web site.

Mayo Clinic Staff (2007). Crying baby? How to keep your cool. Retrieved February 3, 2008, from the MayoClinic Web site.