If you’re a first-time parent of a newborn, then you are dealing with one of the most confounding parts of early parenthood: “why is my baby crying?” The feeling of helplessness when a baby cries is one of the biggest reasons new parents can feel so overwhelmed. Parents are given so much advice from so many sources, it can be difficult to understand what is happening, especially when you are sleep-deprived. This article looks at the basic reasons that babies cry. Once you understand why babies cry you will know that your worries about not being a good enough mom are misplaced.
Feed and Soothe
Babies cry when they are hungry, hurt or separated from their caregivers. If babies are crying for these reasons, then the answer is to feed them, take care of the hurt and reunite them with their caregivers. The advice of letting a newborn cry is not validated by researchers as the proper response. Not responding to crying babies only makes whatever they are feeling – hunger, pain or separation anxiety – worse. When you are talking about newborns and not 3 year olds, you do not need to be worrying about teaching baby a lesson about being independent! Feed the baby, fix the hurt, cuddle baby and the cries will end.
Touching the baby has been proven by research to be helpful to soothing his cries. Researchers have found that you need to think like a baby in order to understand what kind of touch the baby wants. Babies like skin-to-skin touch, being rocked, being held closely, and being talked to. They do not respond as well to silence and they want to see your face. Always talk directly to the baby and look him or her in the eyes.
Babies like to be moved around and rocked when they are crying, so you are not wrong to walk or drive the baby around when baby refuses to clam down. For this to work, you have to keep up some continuous motion. When you put the baby back down the cries may wind back up. This is why many desperate parents put the baby in the car and drive around. If you are a cyclist or runner, consider putting the baby in a ride-along. It will give you much needed outside time and also calm the baby down.
For millennia parents have been putting babies to sleep with lullabies. Now research is proving what parents instinctively know to be true: babies stay calmer longer when someone is singing directly to them.
Infant Carrying and Colic
Holding and carrying a baby has the most positive affect on baby’s cries. That’s why swaddling and carrying in baby bjorn is so popular. It mimics the way babies were once carried in hunter/gatherer societies.
But what if your baby is crying inconsolably or won’t be soothed? Do not hesitate to have your baby examined. If there is an underlying medical condition, you will find out and be able to treat it as quickly as possible. If your baby is colicky, then his cries are not your fault. Studies have determined that in colicky babies, the amount of parent-child contact has no effect on whether the baby continues to cry, so the baby is not crying because you are not holding him or her enough. Medical professionals can help you come up with a good plan.
Consult your pediatrician if you have questions and concerns. And remember, children often pick up on our emotions, so if you feel stressed, baby may mimic your emotions. Try to relax and be confident that you are doing a good job.