You’ve done everything you could think of. You’ve fed your baby, you’ve changed her half a dozen times in the last hour, you gave her lots of cuddles, you even checked her temperature to make sure she doesn’t have a fever and she still won’t stop crying. What else could you do?
Common reasons why babies cry
You’ve probably already know most of these reasons, but I’ll mention them anyway because sometimes in the middle of sleepless haze we can forget the most obvious things. Babies cry because they’re hungry, tired, they need a nappy change, they’re overstimulated, they have gas, they’re suffering from pain or illness. Sometimes they seem to cry for a reason only known to them and unfortunately they can’t communicate it.
Even when you identify the reason, you may not be sure what to do about it. Take overtiredness or overstimulation, for example. It’s not as simple as putting your baby to bed or taking the stimuli away – by that time your baby have probably already worked herself into a state of uncontrollable crying that she can’t just snap out of.
Tricks to calm a crying baby
If you’re worried that your baby is sick or in pain, don’t hesitate to get a doctor’s advice, even if they already recognise your voice over the phone at the doctor’s practice. It’ll give you a peace of mind and a reassurance that you’re doing everything you can.
Once you’ve eliminated illness and most of the other reasons for crying, try some of these tricks:
- Offer breastfeeds for comfort, even if your baby is not hungry. You cannot overfeed a breastfeeding baby.
- Put the baby in a baby carrier or a pram and go for a walk. This worked so well for my own babies that eventually I got convinced that they were only crying because they wanted to go out. That was probably not the case, it’s more likely that the movement and the change of scenery calmed them and distracted them into finally falling asleep.
- Use an exercise ball to bounce on while holding your baby. It’ll give you a break from the constant pacing around the room and still provide calming motion for your baby.
- Use white noise like the vacuum cleaner or special white noise recordings. I haven’t found this effective, but I know other people who swear by this method, so it’s worth giving it a try.
- Change the baby’s position onto her side or her stomach. Some experts say that it reminds the baby of her position in the uterus and it may also help release the gas, if that’s what’s bothering her.
Recognise your own limits
Spending hours trying to comfort a crying baby can be exhausting and can make you doubt your abilities as a mother. In truth, these crying episodes have happened to most of us and they have no reflection on your parenting skills. Not being able to cope with the constant crying is definitely not a sign that you’re a bad mum, either, and neither is reaching out for help. Ask your partner or a friend to take over while you’re having a break or call a helpline for emotional support.
Image by TanyaVdB via pixabay.com
By Tatiana Apostolova