You never really know why babies cry; but you can be sure when your baby cries, he is trying to tell you that something isn't right. Crying is the baby's main form of communication.
As frustrating as it can be, babies don't cry to annoy you or because they are naturally naughty or grumpy. Babies just cry; it's just what they do.
Some babies seem to be more sensitive to change and discomfort than others are, but ignoring their cries won't make them change. Usually a cuddle with mum or dad is all that is needed to help settling.
Fortunately, crying hardly ever indicates a major physical problem or illness. Yet if you are worried about it, then ask for your doctor's advice, to rule out any illness.
In the majority of cases, crying babies are healthy, even babies who cry for a long time, and at least once a day. Your doctor will be able to reassure you your baby's developing well.
Here are the types of things your baby might cry about:
Is he hungry or thirsty?
This is the most common reason for crying. Let your baby decide when to come off the first breast, if you're breast-feeding. Then offer the next breast. Make up an extra amount of formula and offer it if you're bottle-feeding.
Is he getting a good, satisfying feed?
Check your baby's position on the breast, to make sure he's stimulating the letdown reflex, which brings him the calorie-rich hind milk. If you are bottle-feeding, check the teat hole is not too small and thus making sucking and swallowing difficult, or that the hole is too big and overwhelming him.
Does he need 'winding'?
If so, sit your baby in an upright position and rub his back. He’s bound to feel better.
Is he uncomfortably hot or cold?
Check his chest with the back of your hand; it should feel comfortably warm, not hot and clammy, or cold. In the early weeks it is quite common for some babies to suffer from colic.
Is he bored and needs some company?
Some cuddles, soft singing, back-patting and a lukewarm bath… can all have a calming effect on your baby.
Is he tired, yet unable to settle down to sleep?
Try rocking him otherwise or up and down in the pram.
Is he irritated by noise, excitement and people?
If so, go to a quiet room with him and settle him down.
Check his clothing for tightness round the wrists or ankles. Any such discomfort can cause him to cry. A baby with a diaper rash will cry in a wet or dirty diaper.
All said and done, a baby might simply want a cuddle from mum or dad. He loves the sense of security he seeks in your arms, finds comfort in your smell and just being near you. So go ahead and let your baby feel the love!
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