Make it stop!
7 causes of baby’s tears
FOR A COUPLE of weeks at the beginning of her life, crying is the only way in which your new baby is able to communicate. When a baby cries, she is letting you know her basic needs. She’s actually telling you: “Help me, something is not right here.”
In time you’ll get to know your baby’s different cries as well as if they were spoken words – but it takes some training. You have to listen carefully, observe and then decide what’s wrong...
1 IS SHE HUNGRY OR THIRSTY?
When last did your baby nurse? If it’s three or four hours since her last feed, she just woke up, or had a big soiled nappy, chances are good that your baby is hungry. A feed will most probably stop her crying. If she’s not hungry or thirsty, she might just want to suck something. A dummy can work wonders sometimes. (Strangers will always think your baby’s crying for her dummy. Just breathe and count to 10.)
2 IS SHE UNCOMFORTABLE?
Most babies don’t like a dirty or wet bottom, so make sure that’s not perhaps the problem. If a baby feels uncomfortable (she might be too hot or too cold) she usually arches her back when she cries, as if she’s trying to get away from it. Try to determine what it is that’s causing the discomfort and solve the problem. A baby who is cold will appear pale, while a baby who is too warm will be flushed and sweaty. Feel her body for her body temperature – you should be able to tell pretty quickly if this is the problem.
3 COULD IT BE COLIC?
If your baby cries uncontrollably for long stints every day (usually at the same time or a little while after nursing), she could have colic. A baby with colic usually pulls up her little legs as if she has tummyache and cries till she’s red in the face. Researchers are still not sure what causes colic, but if you suspect that your baby has colic, it’s a good plan to take her to the doctor. Meanwhile, you can try and calm her down by holding or rocking her.
4 IS SHE ILL OR IN PAIN?
A sick baby’s cry is usually faint but incessant, and she can appear listless. On the other hand a baby that’s in pain can suddenly start crying an intense cry. Examine her body to determine the possible causes of pain. Take her temperature, and if it’s not normal, it’s time to take her to the doctor.
5 IS SHE OVERSTIMULATED?
A noisy room, a crowd of people trying to attract your baby’s attention, rattles making noise – all this chaos can cause your baby to decide that enough is enough. If she closes her eyes, turns her little head away and suddenly starts crying, she might be trying to tell you that she needs peace and quiet. Take her to a quiet, dimly lit room where you can calm her down with your voice. Rock her gently in your arms where she feels safe or try giving her a tepid bath with rooibos tea or chamomile oil to calm her down.
6 PERHAPS SHE’S FEELING LONELY?
If your baby starts crying shortly after she’s fallen asleep, she might be telling you she’s feeling lonely and needs some comfort. Remember, she spent nine cosy months in your womb, and after birth she needs your touch more than ever. You can’t ever spoil her by touching her too much. Spend as much time as possible with her, and talk softly to her; she might be missing your voice as she’s become so used to it.
7 IS SHE TIRED OR OVERTIRED?
Too many activities around your baby can be taxing. Be on the lookout for signs pointing to fatigue: she might be rubbing her eyes, yawning or losing interest in those around her.
Rock her in your arms until she’s fast asleep, and try to stick to a set routine as far as possible.