How To Calm A Crying Newborn

How To Calm A Newborn Baby

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The house is peaceful. It is dark outside and you are asleep. All of a sudden the wail of your newborn goes off like an alarm. All you want to do is make it stop so that you can get a little extra sleep, but how? It can be very frustrating and at times it can push even the most loving parents right over the edge. Knowing how to calm down your screaming newborn can bring much relief to both you and your baby. After all, everyone knows how essential sleep is for an infant, and parents need it too.

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Babies Can Cry As Much As Two To Three Hours In A 24

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My son George was a screamer. Unlike his go-with-the-flow older sister, he cried for what seemed like the first six months of his life. He screamed when he was hungry, when he was wet, when he was tired, and when he was bored.

He would change from a sweet cherub to a hot mess in a matter of seconds. His face would turn red, and he’d arch his back and flail his arms. I tried my best to soothe him with nursing, diaper changes, and hugs. When those didn’t work, I’d end up in tears, too. Thoughts such as, “What’s wrong with my baby?” were soon replaced with, “What’s wrong with me?” I felt totally overwhelmed and, worse, like I was failing at a basic task of motheringthe ability to comfort my child.

“For new parents, figuring out what all the crying means can be challenging, frustrating, and even scary,” says Rallie McAllister, M.D., a family physician in Lexington, Kentucky, and coauthor of The Mommy M.D. Guide to Your Baby’s First Year. “If they aren’t able to immediately pinpoint the reason for the crying, they get frightened that there is something physically wrong with the baby.”

An inconsolable little one can also make a new parent feel powerless, notes Crystal Clancy, of Eagan, Minnesota, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in perinatal mental health. This can be particularly distressful for parents who felt competent and in control in their pre-parent life, she says.

What Are Some Of The Common Reasons For Crying

Sometimes it may be hard to know why your baby is crying. But its helpful to be able to rule out a few of the more common causes of crying and to understand why your baby is upset.

Consider whether your baby might be:

  • feeling uncomfortable try changing their nappy and checking theyre not too hot or cold
  • hungry, tired or have a tummy ache overtired babies often cry loudly when they need to sleep
  • in need of cuddles and reassurance
  • not feeling well sometimes crying is the only obvious sign that a baby is unwell

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Where To Turn For Help

If your baby is crying or upset often, or unresponsive, you should seek help from your pediatrician or a child development specialist. Your pediatrician should be able to recommend a specialist in early infant behaviors to help you figure out if there is a problem and what to do about it. Alternately, contact the pediatrics branch in your local hospital and ask about services in your area, such as:

Parenting skills classes. Available in many areas, coaching and education for parents and caregivers can build necessary parenting skills and offer support and advice.

Support groups. Run by peers rather than professionals, support groups provide a safe environment to share experiences, advice, encouragement, and coping strategies for parents of babies who wont stop crying.

Theres Too Much Going On

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Just like us, when theres too much commotion happening, your baby might just want some quiet time. I love having the family over to visit, but am usually relieved when the frenetic cooking and looking after them ends. I get my home back and all is good in my world.

Babies can feel just the same too much noise, too much being passed around, and they cant cope. They start crying to let you know they want some quiet time as well.

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Ways To Soothe Your Crying Baby When You Dont Know The Reason

As a mom, I have always found it heartbreaking to see my baby cry, especially when not knowing the exact reason behind it. Not being able to help and calm a screaming baby is hard.

Obviously, crying is one of the main ways of communicating for a newborn, and whatever the reason might be, a baby cries when trying to communicate a need.

There are some very basic methods of how to calm a crying baby. Try out these general comforting ways to soothe your baby when the specific need cant be found and met right away.

Naturally, over time after your baby is born, you will get to know your child more and more. That will help you to identify specific needs more easily. And as your baby is growing, he or she also learns to communicate more specifically.

Did you know that babies are only able to control and cry consciously towards the end of the first six months of their lives? Please, dont try to let your newborn cry out a situation! If your baby is crying, there is always a reason! Even if you are unable to identify it at the moment.

Even if you can rule out the most common reasons such as pain, a full diaper, or hunger, your baby may simply be crying because he or she cannot find rest. Or, it might be a season of a big leap in natural baby development, and your little one is just overwhelmed by it.

So, no matter the reason and if you are aware of it or not, make sure you give your baby your attention in the situation.

And try to always remember one thing above all: Keep calm!

When To Call The Health Care Provider

Most of the time, the crying will stop when the babys comfort needs are met. Call their health care provider if any of these occur:

  • cries constantly for more than 3 hours
  • their cry sounds different or like they are in pain
  • vomiting, diarrhea, or not feeding well
  • your baby cannot be soothed
  • you feel scared that you are tired, angry, or you might hurt the baby
  • your baby is ill, especially if they have a fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or 38 Celsius or more

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What Not To Do When Your Baby Is Crying

It can be stressful and frustrating at times when your baby is crying, especially when you can’t get them to settle down.

Whats important is that you never:

  • shake your baby this can cause bleeding in their brain, which can lead to brain damage and even death
  • become angry with your baby, including raising your voice, smacking, or handling them roughly
  • stay physically close to your baby when you feel youre feeling angry

If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by your babys crying, place them in their cot and walk away. Return when youre feeling calm. Be mindful of your own mental health and see your GP or child health nurse if youre feeling anxious or depressed.

What Causes Babies To Cry

How To Calm a Crying Baby

Lets start things off by getting down to the basics. The first time you heard your baby cry as they entered this world, it may have sounded like music to your ears. But even an enjoyable tune can lose its appeal fast. Crying is your babys primary mode of communication. Therefore, they use it to convey a lot. Your baby may be crying due to hunger, discomfort, sleepiness, or frustration. They may even be seeking your attention. All in all, there can be any number of crying baby reasons.

Determining what your little one is trying to say can be daunting. And it often requires a bit of trial-and-error before you decode your babys unique language. Once you do, youll be able to figure out what works to help soothe them most of the time.

So, before you get upset by your babys crying, try doing a reality check. All babies cryits the foundation of baby talk. Its also important to remember that, as long as your infant seems otherwise healthy and fine, its perfectly alright for the cause of your babys cries to remain a mystery.

To reassure you even more, if youve ever worried if crying is bad for your baby, the answer is no. Crying doesnt hurt anyone, including your baby. Even so, we know the tears can take a toll on both you and your baby. Though theres no single, surefire way to calm your upset infant, there are countless methods parents have triedmany successfully.

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Keeping A Crying Baby Safe

Never shake a baby. It can cause permanent brain damage, disability or death.

Are you frustrated or upset? Put baby in a safe place and walk away until you feel calmer. Or ask someone else to hold baby.

Its OK to ask for help. If its hard to cope with your babys crying, call your local Parentline or talk to your GP or child and family health nurse.

What To Do About Colic

Pediatricians may be sympathetic and recommend Mylicon drops or gripe water, but often doctors will tell parents to just be patient, because colic is not harmful and will go away on its own. Of course, in the midst of all that crying, having someone tell you to be patient may seem impossible to consider. In order to make it through, you will have to develop some great self-care strategies and enlist support.

Focus on one day at a time .

Ask your doctor to consider the possibilities of food allergies or acid reflux , which can be remedied. If you are breastfeeding, you can try adjusting your diet to see if that affects your babys crying spells.

Ask for helpsupport from your spouse, family, friends, and a babysitter or nanny will be essential to getting through the first few months of your babys life.

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Attachment Milestone : Give And Take Communication

With the third milestone, your babys level of engagement with you becomes more sophisticated.

Your baby uses an ever-increasing range of sounds, facial expressions, and gestureswide eyes, coos, nonsensical babbles, giggles, pointingto invite you to play and to indicate needs and wants.

You continue to watch your childs signals, gestures, and facial expressions and adjust your responses to those cues. You should notice more back and forth communication.

Notice Your Babys Tells

How To Calm A Crying Baby

There are other, subtler, cues that offer a peek into what your baby needs, and reading these can prevent crying spells.

A few are clear, like rubbing their eyes or yawning when theyre tired.

Others are less obvious, such as averting their gaze when theyve had enough stimulation. Watch your baby closely their body movements, positions, facial expressions, and vocal sounds at various times of day to learn these cues.

Remember, every baby is unique. Just because your first baby sucked on their hand when they were hungry doesnt mean your second one will. Instead, this action may say, I need to calm down.

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Food Allergy Or Intolerance

Your baby constantly crying during or soon after feeds could be a sign of an allergy to cowâs milk or soya or an intolerance for lactose, all of which can make your baby uncomfortable. Talk to your midwife, health visitor or doctor if you suspect your baby may have a food allergy or intolerance.If you’re breastfeeding, you may be advised to remove potential allergens such as dairy products from your diet. If your infant gets his or nourishment from formula and your baby is allergic to soya or milk, for example, your doctor may recommend that you switch to a hypoallergenic formula.

In Summary

If your baby cries a lot during or after feeds, it might be caused by reflux, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease , or a food intolerance or allergy. If simple steps like burping your baby more frequently and holding him or her upright for feeds donât seem to help, talk to your midwife, health visitor or doctor.

Things To Remember About Your Crying Baby:

  • The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to calm your baby. They can sense fear!
  • If you feel overwhelmed by your babys cries, ask for help and have someone else take over while you take a break. If you are alone, put your baby down in a safe place while you take a minute to take a breather, reassess the situation and then go to calm your baby.
  • Dont take your babys crying as a sign that you are doing something wrong or that they dont like you. All babies cryits their only way to communicate. It takes time for a baby and parent to learn each other.
  • If the crying seems different and the baby seems inconsolable after trying many of the tricks, dont be scared to call your health care provider for some guidance.
  • All babies will cry, with the average being anywhere from 1-4 hours a day. It does get better with time!

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Why Does My Babys Feet Turn Red

Because our bodies are always reacting to the world around us, its normal for our faces, hands and even feet to change color in cold weather as the body uses blood flow to adjust its thermostat. But if your child has a rare condition known as Raynauds phenomenon, his blood vessels react in an exaggerated way to

Crying: How Your Baby Communicates

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Since your baby can’t verbalize her needs, just about the only way she can communicate is by crying, and it’s normal for a newborn to cry for one to four hours every day. As a parent, itâs up to you to try to figure out why she may be crying. It can be a tough job, but you’re the person to do itâtrust in your abilities!

After a while you may start to recognize the different cries your baby makes. For example, your little oneâs hungry cry may be completely different from a cry signaling sheâs feeling distressed. Eventually you’ll get better at picking up on your baby’s signals and you’ll know how to get your baby to stop crying by responding to her cues.

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Baby Blues And Postpartum Depression

Having a baby who is difficult to comfort can increase parents stress and can contribute to the baby blues and/or postpartum depression. As many as 50%80% of new mothers experience the baby blues in the first 10 days after childbirth. Symptoms may include tearfulness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of loss. The baby blues usually get better after about 10 days.

Approximately 8%15% of new moms experience postpartum depression in the first year of motherhood, which is different from the blues. With depression, symptoms last more than 2 weeks and include feeling down and hopeless, increased crying, feeling little pleasure or interest in activities one used to enjoy, and loss of energy. If you are experiencing these feelings, it is very importantfor you and your babythat you seek help from a trusted health professional.

Special Circumstances That Might Require Professional Help

Physical, mental, or emotional challenges at birth, or soon after, are often traumatic to an infant and can cause your babys nervous system to get stuck. A nervous system that is stuck will probably have difficulty with regulation, which means the baby will have a hard time settling down.

Special or traumatic circumstances that might cause problems include:

  • Premature birth.
  • Adoption or separation from primary caregiver.

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Attachment Milestone : Gestures And Problem Solving

Your babys new motor skillsscooting, crawling, pointing, and maybe walkingshould lead to better communication and connection with you.

Your baby starts to combine their motor and nonverbal skills with their need to solve problems. For example, your baby might point to something out of reach or crawl to the highchair when hungry.

You continue to respond to your babys cues and use words, facial expressions, and gestures of your own to confirm to your baby that the messages are heard.

If Your Baby Continues To Cry

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Babies are exposed to many new sights, sounds, touches, tastes and smells, and sometimes this is overwhelming for them. Crying is the only way babies have to release tension. Your baby may be telling you that he or she needs to be left alone. Try swaddling your baby snugly in a blanket and lay him or her in a crib in a quiet, dark room. Allow your baby to cry for 10 to 15 minutes. Often your baby will fall asleep or will quiet down when you pick him or her up. You may need to go to another room and shut the door during this time, but remember you are not being mean to your baby by allowing him or her some time to cry. Also, remember to consider whether your baby might be sick.

Your baby’s crying is not an indication that you are a bad parent. However, if you feel like you might accidentally hurt your baby, please call 441-KIDS or your baby’s pediatrician immediately. Never shake your baby. Shaking or spanking a baby can cause serious injury or death.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your child’s provider.

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