With no proper language to express what they want, babies usually resort to crying to communicate a variety of signals. It is safe to assume though, that crying is almost always related to some kind of discomfort. It is often difficult for new parents to understand what exactly their baby is trying to communicate with crying. However, if you manage to be a little observant and see patterns in the baby’s cry, you can tell what the baby is expecting at the moment. It is when that expectation is not fulfilled, that leads to crying.
This is probably the first reason that comes to mind when one hears a baby cry. If you have a fixed pattern throughout the day for feeding the baby, you will be able to tell easily if the baby becomes uncomfortable around the time of feeding, if he/she is not given food. For babies less than 6 months old, great-feeding will soothe the hunger pangs. If your child has started having semi-solids then fruit or vegetable puree can help. Make sure you stick to the feeding routine and your baby has a full belly even before the crying starts.
Stomach Ache or Gas
If you find your baby crying non-stop after being fed, it is probably something to do with stomach related discomfort. If the baby is wearing diapers or pajamas, loosen the waist string so that there is no pressure on the tummy. If the baby continues to cry, lay him down on his back and move his feet in a bicycling motion. If there is a gas accumulation, the exercise will allow it to pass, relieving the baby of any stomach-related discomfort.
Another reason why babies may cry after feeding is that of a lack of burping. Not all babies are discomforted by this, yet if your baby is bothered by air bubbles in his tummy or food-pipe, he is going to cry. Sometimes while feeding babies suck air and this results in the bubble forming. All you need to do is to hold the baby upright with his head tilted up and gently rub/pat his back. If you hear a burp, chances are that your baby will stop crying.
Babies do not like wet sensations on their skin for too long. In fact, if a dirty diaper is not replaced for a long time, it can cause rashes which are a very irritating, often itchy and painful, skin condition. If your baby seems to be getting uncomfortable for no reason, check his diapers and make sure it is not dirty. If it is, change it immediately and your baby should stop crying as soon as he feels dry and warm again.
Need for Sleep
Babies tend to get cranky when they are over-tired and are unable to find a comfortable position to sleep. They will express this tiredness with crying. Again with this reason, make sure you are familiar with your baby’s sleeping pattern. When it is time for his regular nap, pre-arrange for a comfortable situation for him to sleep, whether in your arms or on a comfortable bed with minimum light and sound distractions.
Babies need a lot of human contacts to relax. They enjoy being cuddled and held close to the body, seeing the faces of their parents, hearing their voices and even recognize their smells. When your baby cries on waking up from a nap, it is most often because he wants to be held and feel the parent’s warmth. Holding them close in a nursing position and gently stroking their head or back should calm the baby down.
Babies feel comfortable being bundled up and warm. It is ideal to give your baby one layer more than what you feel ideal for yourself. Cold temperatures cause crying more than hot temperatures. A sudden change in temperatures is also very disturbing for a baby. Make sure the bathing water or the wet wipe you use on a baby’s skin is not too hot or too cold for the baby. Try and keep everything that comes in contact with the baby’s skin on an optimum temperature.
A baby’s skin and muscles are extra sensitive to pain and pressure. A rough fabric, a scratchy tag on their clothes, a thin strap on their tops or diapers, a tight waist string can be the cause of their annoyance. In this situation, hold your baby or lie it down in a most comfortable position and check for the above-mentioned sources. Often a tiny strand of hair wrapped around their fingers or toes can cause the blood circulation to stop and cause discomfort too.
If your baby is at the age where his teeth are going to show (between 4 to 7 months), gum irritation or gum pain can be a primary reason for his crying. Each new tooth pushes and breaks the tender layer of skin on the gums and makes the baby itchy and irritated. Try and feel his gums with your finger, if they feel knobby, your baby is teething. You can ease the pain with the help of rubber toys that your baby can chew on.
Do check out this video for some useful tips for soothing your baby’s teething pain-
If your baby does not respond to either of the above-mentioned reasons, and his cries are growing even more desperate and stressed, it is an indication that you should see a pediatrician. You’ll be able to tell with the tone of the baby’s cry that it is something serious. The first thing you can do is to check for a fever and go see a doctor at the earliest.
For a Concise overview, you can also view this video, to know How to soothe your baby when he’s crying –