WHAT TO DO WHEN A BABY CRIES
- Listen for the type of cry and watch her other behaviors. Soon you will learn what these signals are telling you:
- I’m hungry; I’m dirty or uncomfortable.
- I’m bored and want to go for a walk or dance around the house.
- I just have too much pent up energy and just need to cry it out.
Try these things:
- Change him.
- Try feeding her.
- If it is soon after a nursing or bottle, try to burp him.
- Help him find his thumb to suckle.
- Swaddle her so her legs and arms are firmly contained.
- Cuddle him and speak softly and comfortingly until you break through the crying. Massage his back and limbs gently.
- Sing to her and dance around the house (avoid shaking her).
- Let him cry it out.
She may not need to eat but just want to suckle. Encourage him to find his thumb. Thumb suckers are better self-soothers, better sleepers. He can always find his thumb in the night, but only you can find the pacifier. Most kids don’t get any long term problems with thumbs or pacifiers and these can be very helpful to a baby to help him learn to soothe himself. Don’t be afraid to try, you both may be very grateful. Babies that are held more cry less. Enjoy this time with your baby. Don’t be too rushed. Try to make your life simpler and not do too many things. Take some time to rest and cuddle your baby.
- Fussy crying for no obvious reason. It can drive you crazy and make you feel totally incompetent. Trust me…we all have been there. Both Dr. DiMarco and Dr. McNeely had really fussy babies. It will take a while to learn your baby’s signals and figure out what helps to soothe her and to convince yourself that it will end. Crying is not all bad. Crying is one of the ways she communicates with you. Crying helps a baby to tire and eventually sleep.
- Keep a diary of when the crying occurs and what helps. You will probably find that she has predictable crying periods. You can get in the mindset that “Oh, it must be 5 o’clock and she’ll probably cry till 7 or so.” Keep notes of what has helped in the past. Watch what grandma or a good friend does to help soothe your baby.
- Take care of yourself, too. It can be quite humbling to find how much the fussy crying can upset you. Call a friend over to watch the baby during the fussy periods and go for a walk or watch a movie. Never shake a baby. This can cause serious brain damage.
- Signs of serious causes of crying. If your child has been eating well, gaining weight, and is fine between crying periods, there is no cause for alarm. But if there is a sudden change in the character of the cry or progressive worsening, pay close attention. Check her over closely for localized pain, fever, decreased appetite, feeding intolerance. Call us and plan to come in to have your baby checked.
- Let him cry it out. You have been through your checklist and know that you’ve done everything you need to do. Check on him every 5 minutes or so. It’s ok to let him cry out all that pent up energy. He will eventually tire and be able to sleep. You may find that he sleeps really well after a period of crying.
Pinellas Pediatrics Dr. DiMarco & Dr. McNeely 727-461-3163