by Dana Dubinsky
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
There's no getting around it: Babies cry. It's how they communicate hunger, pain, fear, a need for sleep, and more.
Last updated: March 2012
2. A dirty diaper
3. Needs sleep
We thought our daughter was colicky for the first five weeks of life, until we read about how babies get really cranky if they're exhausted. After we started putting her to sleep as soon as she yawned the first time at any time of the day, she cried a lot less and had fewer problems with gas.
I've noticed that if my baby starts crying after being played with, fed, and changed, and she's been up for a while, she is overtired! I just hold her close, talk to her in a soft voice, and let her cry. She doesn't cry hard when I hold her like that. She makes funny fussy noises with her eyes closed. Before long, she's sound asleep.
A loud shhhhhh sound works incredibly well. I had to make a recording because I was getting lightheaded from doing it so much for my daughter. My recording lasts for 48 minutes, and it works every time!
My 2 ½-month-old is so interested in everything that she doesn't want to stop being part of it by falling asleep. Yet she's tired and cranky at the same time. Minimizing sensory input sometimes helps her feel like she's not "missing something" by settling down. (And then there are the times when she's just going to cry no matter what I do.)
4. Wants to be held
I like to lightly wrap my daughter in a soft blanket, hold her in a nursing position and lightly stroke her face and head. She loves feeling my hands in her hair and calms down pretty quickly.
My son loves to hear my voice, so when he cries uncontrollably, I hold him close to my chest and tell him that Mommy is here and will protect him. Within minutes, he is sleeping in my arms!
5. Tummy troubles (gas, colic, and more)
One time when my daughter was 9 months old she cried inconsolably for two hours. She had never done that before (nursing was always the answer to everything, but this time she wouldn't even nurse) and we had to catch a cross-country flight. The doctor told me to take her to a nearby clinic. While we waited in the exam room, she let out a big fart, and after that she was fine. It was just gas.
When my daughter was a baby she was gassy a lot, and would scream and cry in pain. I would give her some infant gas drops, lay her on my bed on her back, and gently push her knees up to her belly in a rocking motion and sing a little song. Soon she would let out some farts and be fine.
— Wife & mommy of two
If your baby is wearing any kind of pants, especially with a somewhat snug elastic waist, try pulling the waistband away from the belly to see if it helps. Sometimes that little bit of pressure hurts their tummy.
— Mom of 2
Just found out why my baby has been crying badly for the last day and a half – he was constipated! He finally passed a 4-inch poop that was very, very hard. Suppositories work wonders.
6. Needs to burp
My little one often cries because he has a difficult time burping after a feed, even with back rubbing and patting. What I found helps is some "tummy time." He'll often let out a great big burp after a few minutes on his tummy.
I can't count how many times I've burped (or tried unsuccessfully to burp) my little one when she's fussy after a feeding. Some more walking around and patting on the back will sometimes let loose a HUGE belch – no wonder she was crying!
7. Too cold or too hot
8. Something small
It helps me to think, "What could be making me uncomfortable if I were her?" These are some weird ones I've come up with: Is my finger or foot stuck/cramped? Do I need to sit/lie differently? The pacifier tastes gross and needs washing. This tag or outfit is itchy. It's colder near the floor. The light is too bright and the TV is annoying – I want soft music instead.
Something I've found that irritates my son is a hair wrapped around his penis. If you have a baby boy, be sure to check for hair in his diaper, since it is very sensitive down there.
My 2-month-old cried whenever we fed him. But sometimes he'd drink ravenously, so he was obviously hungry. The problem vanished when we switched to a different brand of nipple.
10. Wants less stimulation
Swaddling is a huge help, especially to infants. Being tightly wrapped mimics being in the womb and my daughter loved it.
My 6-month-old gets very excited (overexcited would be the right word) after we have fun together. He starts laughing at the most ridiculous sounds and when everything is quiet he starts to cry. That's when we sit on the bed with propped pillows and I read to him in a very low and soothing tone. He calms down in no time and goes to sleep!
11. Wants more stimulation
|My 7-month-old wants constant activity going on around him. If I put him on the floor with his toys while I work on the computer, he fusses. He's happiest when I pop him in a baby carrier while I wash dishes, do laundry, and other housework. He's also especially peaceful in stores and other public places because he's so interested in and curious about the world.|