It is a universal fact that babies cry, and there is no getting around it really. They can cry for all sorts of reasons, ranging from the obvious culprits like feeding, diaper change, burp etc. to not so obvious reasons like fever, pain etc. If you have a crying child in your hands, then there is going to be no peace in the house till he’s back to being the happy cherub whom everyone loves with all their heart.
Sometimes it’s easy to calm them and sometimes it may feel like they’re inconsolable no matter what you do. In our experience, the first step is always trying to nail the reason and type of your baby’s crying, which will assist you in figuring out the best way to calm your crying baby.
So here's listing out a few reasons why your little angel might be behaving like a fussy little crier:
Reason No. 1 - Hunger
This probably is the first reason that comes to your mind, when your baby cries. To be honest, once you have learned how to recognise signs of hunger in your little angel like fussing, lip-smacking etc. you will be able to actually feed your baby much before they hit the crying stage.
Reason No. 2 - Colic
If your baby looks otherwise healthy but has bouts of uncontrollable crying, then probably he is colicky. If your little one is younger than 5 months and tends to cry for more than three hours in a row, for let us say more than three days in a week then it's definitely colic. Though colic isn’t a disease (It happens due to muscular contractions of a hollow tube (colon, ureter, gall bladder, and so on trying to mitigate an obstacle by compelling substance out) and you don’t need to really be worried or rush to the doctor, it definitely is a rough time for the parents and does require much will to cope up with.
Reason No. 3 - Needs Burping
Though Burping after every meal is not mandatory, however sometimes the air in your little one’s tummy might cause him discomfort. If your little one starts to cry right after a feeding, then chances are that all he needs is a good burp.
Reason No. 4 - Dirty Diaper
Well this probably is really simple to check, has an easy remedy, and mostly your baby will let you know right away. There are some babies that can tolerate dirty diapers for a while, however, if your baby cries and you can feel the weight of a soaked/smelly diaper, you know what the reason is.
Reason No. 5 - Lack of Sleep
It is commonly believed that tired babies can just fall asleep anytime, however, it is much harder than that. Instead of just dozing off into a quiet angelic sleep, babies do fuss and cry, especially if they’re overtired.
Reason No. 6 - Wanting to be Held
Your little one needs a lot of cuddling. He will want to feel his parent’s touch, see their faces, hear their voices or even listen to their heartbeats, it is a sense of comfort that they tend to feel with sensory attachment. So many a times, when your baby is crying, it's a way for him to let you know that he wants to be held close. Do not worry you’re not spoiling him too much by holding him all the time, it is impossible to not do so! A happy baby means happy parents, and an unhappy baby, well we don’t need to tell you about this!
Reason No. 7 - Teething Pain
Teething can be a painful process for babies, as the tooth tends to push through the gum. For some babies, the process is much more painful than the others. If your child is between the 4 to 7 months’ mark and is crying for what seems like an unknown reason, you can try running a finger between his gums. If you feel the hard nub of a tooth coming, then you know what the culprit is.
Reason No. 8 - Feeling Unwell
Your little angel is a bundle of fragility and even though you may try your best, there are chances of him catching some bug or the other, or be in pain. If you feel that all the common reasons for his crying are not the reasons why he’s being fussy, and you feel like something is really bothering him, then it never hurts to consult a medical practitioner. You might realise it could be something as simple as a tummy ache from gas, or even a fever. Take a doctor’s opinion if you’re not too sure, it never hurts to be cautious!
Now that we’ve discussed the common reasons why babies do cry, let’s talk about the best ways to calm a crying baby. So let’s talk about what is called the 5 S’s of how to calm a crying baby:
Swaddling: You can call swaddling the cornerstone of calming a crying child. Swaddling helps your baby feel nice and snug and will also keep all the flailing limbs in check. The correct way to swaddle is to wrap the arms snug but keep enough room for your little one's hips so that he can flex it. Use a large square blanket preferable and do keep in mind that you shouldn’t swaddle your baby all day, just when he’s fussy or going to sleep.
Switching to the Side/Stomach Position: While keeping the baby on his back might be the safest sleeping position, it is the worst when it comes to calming a fussy baby. Hold your baby on his side or with his stomach over your shoulders and you will find that your baby is mellowing down.
Shushing: Even though it may be believed that babies need absolute silence to fall asleep, this isn’t necessarily true. When your baby was in your womb, the sound of the blood flowing would be his lullaby. So many a times when your baby is crying, you can try to shush near his ear, not in his ear but near his ear and more often than not it’ll help him sleep. For louder crying you might need louder shushing and as your baby calms down so can the volume of your shushing. Sometimes even a white noise machine is quite helpful.
Swinging: Swinging or some sort of rhythmic movement are generally effective in calming a crying baby. Unfortunately, this is also a trial and error kind of process as not every movement is going to be appreciated by your little one. Make sure you support your little one’s head and neck gently while letting the head jiggle a little (It may sound a little weird, but trust us, it works!). Yes, the swinging can get too tiring at times so you can even check out portable swings and rockers like this one here.
Sucking: It could be breastfeeding, fingers, bottles or even pacifiers, babies do like to suck on things and it calms them down. Since it is really easy to let a baby take on a pacifier when they’ve calmed down sufficiently, so keeping it in your arsenal of baby calming things is definitely handy. You can try around varieties of pacifiers and see which one your baby likes best. Our recommendation would be this pacifier by Fisher-Price, which it seemed to be liked by most babies.
It requires much patience and dedication, and the best ways to calm a crying baby is something that you will also perfect with experience. It is quite normal to feel stressed and upset by your baby’s crying and if you feel too anxious then you can also take a minute out and relax yourself.
Your child's safety and happiness is a big responsibility and babies also tend to pick up on your behaviour, in which case if you’re not calm and composed, they too might feel agitated. So take your time, it's not a competition, it is a process of constant learning and when your little angel drifts off to sleep or calms down and smiles at you, it’ll all have been worth it.
For more tips on Parenting, subscribe to our Kidmish Newsletter.
Until then, Happy Parenting!