Crying and Soothing
If you think your baby’s incessant crying is frustrating, imagine if you couldn’t communicate what’s wrong. We’ll wait to cover colic until next week since most babies don’t start this unexplainable, inconsolable crying until week three. For now, these are the most likely causes of baby’s discontent:
- Hunger. This is one of the most common and easiest cries to distinguish, especially considering babies usually give other signals as well, such as sucking on their hand, smacking their lips, and turning their mouth toward you as you stroke their cheek. The sooner you recognize your baby’s particular signs, the less wailing you’ll have to endure.
- Pain. This is usually a loud, panicked shriek or an uncomfortable whine, depending on what’s wrong. First search for something simple like a strand of your hair wrapped around his or her finger or toe, and then check to make sure the baby isn’t too cold or sweating. If you can’t find a source, try to relieve any gas that might be upsetting your baby’s tummy. If burping doesn’t work, lay the baby flat and move his or her legs in a bicycle motion. You might also want to check with your doctor about anti-gas drops if the problem becomes consistent.
- Dirty diaper.
In need of some lovin’. If all else fails, your baby might be craving attention and comfort. Here are some tried and true soothing methods:
- Shushing and/or whispering
- Swinging or bouncing – a yoga ball works wonders
- Giving them something to suckle, such as a pacifier
- Patting their backs
- Carrying them in a sling
- Using white noise, a sound machine, or even a vacuum, fan or hairdryer
- Playing some calming music
Of course every baby is different, so the first weeks are largely a trial-and-error period to see what works and what doesn’t.