Are you a new parent? If you’re a new parent, you may feel anxious when your little baby cries. You may ask yourself, “What should I do?”
If you respond to your baby, but he keeps on crying, you may get confused.
If you’re very tired and your baby keeps crying, you may get frustrated or even angry.
The good thing is—you want to help him!
Remember: All babies cry. Newborn babies cry a lot. Many young babies cry for about 2 hours, 3 hours or even longer every day!
Your baby will cry less and less as he gets older. When your baby is 3 or 4 months old, he probably won’t be fussy any longer.
Why do babies cry? Babies cry for many reasons. Your baby may be crying because:
• he’s hungry
• he has a dirty diaper
• he needs sleep
• he wants to be held
• he has gas and his tummy hurts
• he needs to burp
• he’s too cold or too hot
• he wants less stimulation
• he wants more stimulation
• he heard a loud noise
• he’s feeling sick
• he’s teething
• he hurts for another reason
Before he cries Pay attention to your baby. Your baby may tell you what he wants by the way he moves or with his face. And if you respond quickly, he won’t need to cry.
Baby’s hungry? He is probably hungry if he
• is making sucking noises
• is puckering his lips
• is keeping his hands near his mouth
Breastfeed your baby when you think he is hungry. If he isn’t hungry, he may suckle at your breast for comfort. And that’s OK.
If you bottle feed your baby and you think he may be hungry, let your baby decide how much to take. You will know that he’s had enough when he
• sucks more slowly at the bottle nipple
• relaxes his arms and hands
• turns away from the bottle nipple or pushes it away
• falls asleep
Baby needs a break? Your baby probably needs a break from what’s happening if he
• is turning or pushing away.
• is stretching out his fingers.
• has tense muscles in his face and body.
Think about how you can help your baby be calm:
• Have you been playing with him a lot? Stop playing with him for awhile.
• Is the radio loud? Turn it off.
• Have the other children been noisy? Ask them to use quiet voices.
• Or take the baby to another room.
Baby needs sleep? Your baby probably needs to sleep if he
• is rubbing his eyes.
• is yawning.
Help your baby get the sleep he needs before he cries. Read more about sleep here>>
Hold your baby Hold your baby when he starts crying. Maybe that’s what he needs. You can’t hold a baby too much. Talk softly to him and be gentle.
Try to calm your baby Sometimes it’s really hard to calm a baby who is crying. You may want to cry too! It’s OK for you to take a break. Ask a family member or friend to watch your baby for awhile.
Here are some ways you can try to calm your baby:
• Nurse your baby while you’re walking around or rocking.
• Give him a bath.
• Hold your baby and gently sway back and forth or dance.
• Put him in a sling or baby carrier and walk around inside your home or outside.
• Take your baby for a walk in the stroller.
• Put your baby in his car seat and take him for a ride in the car.
• Turn on a fan or dishwasher. The sound may comfort him.
• Sing to your baby.
It can take awhile Even when you have figured out how to help your baby, it may take him awhile to calm down. Holding him lovingly will help.
What most babies do It’s hard to take care of a baby who cries a lot. Try to remember that your baby is doing what most babies do. And as he gets older, he won’t cry as much.
Try to stay calm Are you worried about your crying baby? Are you frustrated that your baby keeps crying? Do your best to stay calm. If you need to take a break, see if a family member or friend can take care of your baby for awhile.
Take care of yourself! Make sure you get as much rest as you can. If you are rested, it will be easier to stay calm and continue to be loving.
Worried about baby? If you’re worried about your baby, take him to the doctor. Write down your questions and make sure to ask the doctor all your questions.
Are you on WIC? If you’re a WIC parent, you can talk to your WIC educator about your baby and ask any questions you may have.
You will also attend parent sessions where you meet other parents. A WIC educator will talk with you and the other parents about “baby cues” and the reasons babies cry. She or he will give you tips that will help you with taking care of your baby.