Hunger, colic, tiredness and boredom are just a few of the reasons your baby cries. Crying is normal as it’s the only way your little one can communicate her needs and feelings to you. Sometimes the reasons for crying are easy to solve – if they are hungry you can feed them, if they have a dirty nappy you can change them, but what do you do when they’ve been fed and changed but those tears are still coming? These eight techniques may help soothe away the tears and save your sanity.
Don’t be scared to pick your baby up when she’s crying for fear of letting her get her own way. At such a young age, there’s likely to be a reason why your baby is crying rather than just an attempt to wrap you around her little finger. Babies don’t just cry when they physically need you; they have emotional needs, too. Your baby may feel startled, lonely or bored and want to feel Mum’s presence and security – the same warmth and security they got so used to in Mummy’s tummy!
Best-selling childcare author and mum of three Deborah Jackson believes that instead of living in the present with their babies, many parents are pre-occupied by the future: ‘They fear that if the baby is nursed on demand, carried everywhere or cuddled at night, they will never be able to move her on from these “habits”. But of course, they will,’ says Deborah. ‘We put them in nappies without worrying that they’ll still need them at 25. We feed them on fruit purees knowing that they’ll soon progress to solid meals.’ The bottom line is to follow your instincts. Mum usually knows best! However, don’t be afraid to hand her over to someone else. There is only so much we can all take before our own tiredness and frustration kicks in and our baby will sense this. If there is no one there and you are rapidly reaching your limit, simply put her down in a safe place and take a short break.
Settle a fretful baby
Baby’s best friend
Sucking is a baby’s first and most strongest instinct, which is why babies will often suck for comfort as well as to feed. Many babies suck a thumb in the womb. Sucking on a dummy or her thumb can be very soothing and may help to calm her down.
Twinkle, twinkle little star
Hearing your voice is of great comfort to your baby because it reassures her you are close by. A lullaby from Mum or Dad is a great antidote to crying. Next time your little one is upset, sing your heart out and watch those tears disappear.
Rub my tummy, mummy
Colic is common in babies and can be hard to soothe. Colicky babies like gentle pressure on their tummy. Try holding her flat on her tummy along your arm or knees and rubbing her back gently, but firmly.
Detective Inspector Mum
Try to suss out what those cries mean. If she felt a sharp pain, you will hear a shriek, followed by a short pause and another shriek. Short, rhythmic cries that sound desperate may mean she is hungry.
Up close and personal
Wrapping your baby up and holding her tightly against you will provide her with warmth and security. She’ll miss the security she once felt in your tummy and needs to know you are there.
Massage your tot back to calmness. Gently stroke and pat her back or tummy. The calm atmosphere and being able to feel your touch should help her unwind and feel more secure and content.
A room with a view
Babies often cry through boredom. Try taking her into the garden or a different room. Babies under 1 month love to look at faces so stand with her close to a mirror, so she can see both herself and you.
Your baby was used to being rocked in the womb. So next time your baby cries, pick her up and gently rock her. Rocking is also said to help your baby’s breathing, circulation and digestion. Happy rocking!
And remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can call Cry-sis on 020 7404 5011 (9am-10pm, daily).