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Babies cry for a number of reasons. And since they can’t talk yet, crying is their way of communicating with you and simply means that they are trying to tell you something. So, how can you tell what it is? Take a look at our list of common reasons why your baby might be crying and try and apply them to everyday situations. Next time your baby cries, do a quick run-through to see if your baby is upset due to any of the following reasons, and then comfort them accordingly.
1. Your baby is hungry
Just like us, babies too get very cranky when they’re hungry. In fact, crying is a late sign of hunger. That’s why it’s important to look out for early signs of hunger like sucking of the thumb/fist or smacking of the lips. Once you get into a proper feeding rhythm, you won’t notice this happening very often.
2. Your baby needs a diaper change
A dirty diaper can be very uncomfortable and can cause skin irritations as well, if left that way too long. Some babies will start crying as soon as they have soiled their diaper, while some are not bothered as much. Either way, changing your baby’s diaper when dirty will leave them feeling clean and fresh.
3. Your baby might be gassy or might need to be burped
A gassy baby is not a happy baby. If your little one is crying soon after a feeding, it could be due to tummy problems. Luckily, this can beresolved easily. One of the most common ways to burp your little one is by holding them over your shoulder and rubbing their back in slow, circular motions. To relieve gas, hold your baby on the stomach or left side and pat gently or place them on their back and gently push their legs up to their stomach a few times.
4. Your little one might be suffering from ‘colic’
The actual cause of colic is unknown but it is formally defined as ‘episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child’. In these cases, crying commonly occurs mostly in the evening but can also occur at other times. This condition can be extremely distressing for both Mom and baby, but don’t worry - it will eventually pass. Speak to your pediatrician regarding this so that he/she can suggest ways in which you can help your colicky baby.
5. Your baby is either too hot or too cold
When your baby cries, one of the first things to check is whether they are overheated or they are feeling cold. As per the rule of thumb, always dress your baby in one layer more than what an adult would wear in that weather. Dress your baby in breathable, lightweight fabric such as organic cotton to avoid overheating, and to keep them cozy and comfy. The Softsens range of baby bodysuits are all made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and are perfect for everyday wear.
Your little one can also tend to get cold easily, so try and make diaper changes and baths quick. Always check the temperature of the water first. It should ideally be around 37 degrees Celsius, i.e. not too hot and not too cold. If you can tell that your baby is visibly cold, then you can adjust the temperature a little.
6. Your baby might simply be sleepy
When your little ones get overtired, it’s harder for them to fall asleep. Instead, they may become cranky and upset. To avoid this, don’t wait for your baby to get tired before you try putting them to sleep. Look for early signs of sleepiness instead. If your baby is crying due to this reason, go into a quiet room, dim the lights, hold them close and speak to them in a soft voice. Swaddling your baby can also be very comforting and can help them fall asleep faster. Our ultra – soft and breathable Softsens 100% GOTS certified Organic muslincotton swaddles are designed with a whole lot of love & care to specially care for & comfort your baby, even helping them sleep better.
7. Your baby needs to be comforted and held
Your tiny little one is still adapting to this whole new world and needs lots of love, reassurance and security from Mom and Dad. Bond with your little one by carrying them for a short while every day or with a comforting massage. Swaddling is also a very helpful technique for comforting your baby as it can help them feel safe and secure.
8. Your little one’s clothes might be causing skin irritation
Sometimes, a harsh fabric or a clothing tag might cause your baby’s skin to itch, and in turn, make them cry. Always buy soft, light and breathable fabrics as your little one’s skin is extremely sensitive. We wholeheartedly advocate the use of organic cotton fabrics for babies. Here’s why:
9. It could be something that is not noticeable at first glance
Your baby could be crying due to some minor discomfort, which might not be noticeable at first glance. In such a case, it might be helpful to do a quick check to see if there is anything that could be irritating your little one. For example: if you have swaddled your baby, check to see if the swaddle is properly in place or whether it needs to be redone. It’s time to put those Mummy detective skills to full use.
10. Your baby could be teething
Teething pain can be extremely uncomfortable for babies. You can tell if your little one is teething by looking for signs such excessive drooling, swollen gums, sleeplessness or a need to chew or suck on anything in sight. You can also gently check their gums for signs of an emerging tooth with your finger. Teething usually begins at the four-month mark but some babies can begin teething earlier. Soothe your crying baby by giving them a gum massage with your finger. Sucking on a pacifier or chewing on a cold spoon can also help. Many teething toys are also available in the market.
11. Your baby might be overwhelmed
Too much noise and stimulation might leave your baby feeling overwhelmed and cranky. Try and keep their late-evening routine as peaceful and noise-free as possible so that they are not over stimulated when it’s time to sleep.
12. Your little one might be unwell
If it’s not one of the above reasons, it’s possible that your baby might be unwell. Check your baby’s temperature and observe their bodily fluids. Excessive crying can be a sign of illness. Speak to your doctor if you feel this may be the case.
We hope that this checklist will be useful to you on a daily basis. However, there are times when, even after checking off everything on the list, your baby is still crying. Don’t worry. Trust your instincts and have patience. As your baby grows and develops, this phase will also outgrow itself.