The crying baby

All babies cry, some more than others. Crying is the newborn’s way of telling us that she needs comfort and care.

The most common causes of a newborn crying

When a newborn cries, sometimes the cause is known, sometimes not. The most common causes are:

  • because he’s hungry
  • because he has a dirty or wet diaper,
  • because he is tired,
  • because he wants to be pampered,
  • because it’s too hot or too cold,
  • why is he bored,
  • because it is overstimulated.

At certain times of the day, some children may have a tendency to cry, even a lot, without the parents being able to make them stop: this usually happens in the early hours of the evening just when the mother is most tired.

However, these cries of the newborn tend to be greatest around the 7th week of their birth and then gradually decrease.

How to calm a crying baby

Often, the best way to calm a crying baby is to find out the reason for the crying. That said, try one or more of the following ways to calm him down: some may work better than others.

1 – Try to find out if he wants to be breastfed.

2 – Create a soft background noise that could distract him from crying.

  • You can try white noise, but be careful that this noise does not have too high frequencies that could damage the baby’s ears.
  • Fortunately, there are also special white noise generators . These are devices that can also be purchased with a few tens of euros.

3 – Try putting him in a sling so he can be close to you, or hold him and gently sway and dance, talk to him or sing to him.

4 – Put him in a pram and cradle him by moving him back and forth.

5 – Go for a walk or a car ride. Many children like to sleep in the car: even if your child wakes up when you stop, at least you will have had some relaxation.

6 – Find something he can listen to or look at: it could be music from the radio, a CD, a rattle or a mobile phone on the crib.

7 – Holding him against you, or lying face down on your knees, try to stroke his back in a firm and rhythmic way.

8 – Undress him and massage him gently:

  • however, avoid using oils or lotions until he is at least a month old;
  • talk to him reassuringly,
  • while doing all of this, keep the room you’re in warm enough.

8 – Try a hot bath: A hot bath calms some babies instantly, but others make them cry even more.

10 – If these tricks don’t work, you can ask your pediatrician for advice.

When he cries during feedings

Some babies cry right in the middle of a feed and seem upset.

If you breastfeed and you do, you may be making your baby feel better by improving his positioning and attachment.

During feedings, sometimes crying can be a symptom of gastric reflux: for further information and advice, talk to your doctor.

When he cries incessantly

It can be exhausting trying to do everything to keep the baby from crying – but to no avail.

Unfortunately, there are several reasons that can make him cry even a lot: also the fact that newborns feel any kind of  pain in an amplified way .

This depends on their hypersensitivity and the immaturity of their nervous system which fails to interpret and correctly manage painful stimuli.

a) colic (or colic)

Excessive crying in a baby could be a sign that they are suffering from colic. If the crying “sounds” sad and anguished, if it stops for a moment or two and then starts again, this crying could be caused by “waves” of stomach pain.

It could continue for a few hours, and there could be very little to do, except to try to comfort the baby and wait for the crying to stop, bearing in mind however that the crying spells have no negative consequences on the health of the newborn.

In the case of colic, it could be useful to put him in a position that relaxes him and favors the escape of air from his intestines. For example, the so-called anti-colic position, which consists in placing the newborn / infant on his stomach on his arm, with his head in the crook of the elbow, and then rocking him while giving him small pats on the bottom.

b) other conditions that can cause her to cry

If your baby cries constantly and you just can’t comfort or distract him, or if his crying doesn’t seem like his usual cry, it could be a sign that he’s sick. In this case, contact your family doctor or pediatrician.

When you have to worry

Take the newborn to the emergency room or call 911 if,

  • has a fit of convulsions,
  • have blue, mottled, ashy (gray) or very pale skin,
  • breathe rapidly or make a guttural noise while breathing,
  • have a high fever but your hands and feet are cold,
  • has a mottled purplish-red rash all over the body.

One thing to never do!

No matter how frustrated you may be, never shake (or throw, even onto a bed or pillow!) your baby – this could cause brain damage or even death.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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