Until they learn to talk, crying is the only way that our babies know how to communicate. As a parent, you will learn the different cries that your baby makes. Eventually you will become a master of calming that wee one down. When a baby cries, there is always a reason; whether it is a cry for food or simply a need to be cuddled.
Our babies are fully reliant on us. We give them everything. We provide them with their food, warmth and comfort. When I had my first daughter it was a continuous learning curve, as I discovered ways to comfort and soothe her - and ways that did work for her.
I though it would be easier this time around, as I had learnt all there is to know with my eldest daughter. I was so wrong! My two girls are proof of the saying, "every child is different". Where one thing worked for R, the opposite tends to be the case for Little L. One of the biggest example of this is when it comes to swaddling. R hated it, and Little L loves it!
A poll I ran resulted in 89% of parents saying that at some point they had panicked, even a little bit, when they're baby cried inconsolably. There are two important things to consider when it comes to helping your baby to calm down and stop crying.
Firstly, is there something that they need?
- Do they need changing?
Breastfed babies up to six weeks of age can poo after every feed. Formula fed babies may poo up to five times a day. On top of this they will wee, lots! Some babies are not too bothered by dirty nappies, and others, like both of my girls, hate being in dirty nappies. Even if their nappy is clean, sometimes the action of changing their nappy will help your baby to settle down.
- Do they need feeding?
On average, a newborn baby will need feeding every couple of hours which reduce down to every three to four hours as they grow and are able to take more milk in. Just because this is the case doesn't mean that they won't feed more often if they are having a growth spurt, or feeling under the weather.
Little L often cluster feeds meaning she'll feed every ten to fifteen minutes for short bursts, and as she is more alert and awake these days feeds more often then every four hours during the day.
- Do they need burping?
Sometimes, babies will cry because they have gas built up. Signs that your baby has trapped wind, include:
- Your baby becomes flushed and frustrated
- Your baby refuses all your efforts to comfort them
- Your baby starts to clench their fists, draw up their knees, or arch their back
If you try and bring the wind up by all conventional means, and they are still struggling to get it out, you can try grope water, which will help the wind clear out.
- Do they need to sleep?
This may seem silly, but knowing when your baby is simply over tired will help you worry a little less when they cry because of it.
Secondly, is there something about the environment that needs to change?
- Does your baby need a cuddle?
Babies need to know they are loved, and cared for. Sometimes all your baby needs is a cuddle. Some people believe in a method called, "controlled crying" but for me, I would rather pick up my baby and hold them close any day.
- Is it too hot (or too cold)?
- It is too loud?
Noise levels can be a massive disturbance to your baby. Having a quiet, calm environment is super important. It will not only help your baby to stop crying, but also get better, uninterrupted sleep.
- They might just be missing the womb.
The reality is, you baby has just spent nine months incubated inside a warm, squishy sack inside you, listening to the sound of you heart and the throb of the placenta. White noise is a great way of recreating this sensation, and can help to calm your baby.
- Does you baby need some comfort?
Babies sometimes just need something to make them feel more secure. This can be achieved in a number of different ways. Some babies like to soft labels; others like to grip a comforter, or soft blanket. Some, like my eldest daughter, comfort themselves with a dummy (or soother if you prefer to call it that!) and others, like Little L, feel the need to be swaddled, which is why we love our SwaddleMe wrapsack.
My eldest daughter was a model baby. She did everything by the book, sleeping through the night at six weeks, settling herself to sleep by three months without needed to breastfeed in order to drift off. Little L could not be any further from her sister in the way she has been in the eleven weeks she's been in our lives.
At almost three months of age, she still won't self soothe, always wanting to breastfeed to sleep. She point blank refused to have a dummy, (unlike her sister) even going as far as projectile spitting it into my face as I sat looking lovingly down at her. On top of all of this, apart from the odd night of sleeping through, she still wakes crying out for milk. Don't get me wrong, we have had a few nights where she has slept for eight hours straight; but just as I begin to relax and feel less like a zombie, she'll have a night of waking every hour.
In those late night moments when Little L wakes up and I am desperate for sleep, I will have to remember my own advice. Along with wrapping her in her Summer Infant Swaddle Wrap Sack, and switching on her Whisbear, I will have to stay calm and remember that the moment will pass.
Disclaimer: The lovely team at Summer Infant sent me one of their wrapsacks for my daughter, in return for an honest review. The review words and opinions are my own.