When new parents anxiously leave the hospital with their new bundle of joy, they sometimes have no clue as to what lies ahead in the coming weeks. After the babies birth, while still in the hospital many new parents will be under the impression that their baby is going to be an easy baby. The simple fact to that is the baby is simply worn out.
Just when you thought you had the perfect bundle of joy, all can be turned upside down. But did you know that during the first few months of life a baby will cry an average of two or three hours a day. This comes as a shock to most new parents. There are five main reasons a baby will cry: hunger, discomfort/pain, fatigue, boredom/lonely, and over stimulation. Over time you will learn your babies cries and know what is wrong right away. But until then lets review what most cries sound like and what they will mean, and you can start from there.
The hunger cry: Usually a hungry baby will cry a low cry that gets louder, the baby will also turn its head with its mouth open searching for the breast/bottle. If not attended to fast enough you will notice a change in the tone as if the baby is getting angry. So the main clues to watch for is the open mouth, or if it has been a couple hours since the last feeding.
Discomfort/Pain cry: If you are startled by an ear piercing scream, then a pause, and another screeching wail chances are the baby is in pain. You should look for the cause. Sometimes a baby can have pain due to an air bubble/gas. If you think that is the cause you should try to burp the baby. Is the baby hot/cold? Check the babies diaper, does it need changed? Was it too tight? Another reason for pain that happens quite often is a baby can get hair wrapped around its fingers or toes causing it to pinch and cause pain.
Fatigue: A tired cry usually starts out slow and low. That will grow louder sounding like a cry for help, sorta like a distress call. If it has been a while since a feeding you should offer a feeding before putting baby down for a nap, as full babies usually sleep better and longer.
Boredom/Lonely: This cry is usually an attention getting cry. The baby might kick its legs and swing its arms. This is usually not a full blown cry more of a whimper. If you pick the baby up, or just talk to her and it makes things all better, then you know they were just bored of the same view, lonely, or maybe just scared because they didn’t have a view of someone. Try playing with the baby, giving her a toy, or even just changing the babies position will usually do the trick!
Over stimulation: When overtired or overstimulated, babies tend to cry to release tension/stress. The cry starts off similar to the cry of being fatigued. If you are in a noisy room, or its a crowded area, the baby may close his eyes, turn his head away, and cry. You should try to move the baby to an area with less interaction going on until the baby is calmer.
There you have it, those are the main reasons a baby is fussy. There will still be times when no matter what you attempt to do, the baby will still fuss. Don’t panic, this too is normal.
Here are ten ways to help comfort a fussy baby:
White noise: run the vacuum, a fan, or a white noise machine.
Bath: give the baby a nice warm bath.
Sing: babies love a familiar voice, they don’t care if you sing off tune.
Sucking: babies have a need so suck. Some more then others. Offer a pacifier, finger, or breast.
Swaddling: some babies love to be tucked in tight, it reminds them of the womb.
Massage: babies love and need touch, sometimes this will relieve stress and calm them at the same time.
Sling: Use a sling, or just hold the baby near your chest, your heartbeat will help sooth her.
Vibrations: invest in a baby bouncer seat, or bounce the baby gently on your knee.
Position: babies can’t turn over yet, just as you wouldn’t want to lay one way for long, neither does a baby.
Walking: sometimes just hold your baby close and walking around can work wonders.
You should contact your baby’s healthcare provider if she continues to cry or is fussy. If you feel something is wrong, if the baby’s behavior or crying pattern changes suddenly or if the crying is associated any other symptoms such as, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.