safe motherhood

Your new baby

Why is my baby crying?

Crying is a baby's way of saying that they want something. It has a strong effect on parents, prompting them to try and find out as quickly as possible what it is that their baby wants in order to stop them crying.

Unfortunately, at first, it's not always easy to figure out.

These are some of the things that might be making your baby cry:

1: Hunger is the first obvious cause to eliminate. If they are hungry, nothing you can do, apart from feed them, will bring comfort.
2: If your baby has just had a feed, they may be crying because they have wind.
3: They may need their nappy changing.
4: They may be too hot, or too cold.
5: They may just want a cuddle. Some babies seem only to be happy when they're being held. Putting him or her in a sling and 'wearing' them could be an answer, which would leave your hands free for other things
6: Babies also sometimes cry because they're overstimulated or tired. In this instance they need to be left alone to rest or go to sleep.
7: There is evidence that babies may cry in order to relieve the after-effects of a difficult birth experience. Some parents have got help from a cranial osteopath who will gently manipulate the baby's head and neck. Contact the International Cranial Association on: 0208 367 5561.
8. Could your baby be ill? Ill babies may cry in an urgent or high-pitched tone, or in a way that is particularly fretful or insistent.

Sometimes you can eliminate all these causes and your baby will still cry. Some babies just don't seem to like being babies. They want to be doing things but they're not yet able to and they cry out of frustration. Others find it hard to cope with life outside the womb - the new sensations, such as hunger and tiredness, and different levels of stimulation, such as loud noises and bright lights, overwhelm them. These babies will cry less as they mature and develop.

If the crying is more than you can stand:

• Telephone a friend and let your feelings out;
• Punch, shake or throw a pillow;
• Sing loudly or shout at the wall;
• Put in ear-plugs and run yourself a warm bath;
• Get someone to take the baby out for a walk;
• Ask your health visitor for advice.
(See Your life/Time for yourself)