There is one simple truth about all babies living all over the world: they cry. Some parents are lucky, though, because their infants don't cry all that often, but others seem to be turning on the waterworks a hundred times a day. It seems almost impossible to stop them from doing it.
So is there a way for the new parents to turn these waterworks off?
On the one hand, crying is the only way a baby can communicate with the world at this point and it's impossible for a child not to cry. But on the other hand, there is something parents can do. First and foremost, they have to understand the reason why their child is crying. However, finding it can be tricky, especially if it's the first child in their family. The possible reasons can vary, of course. From hunger to tummy issues, from over-stimulation to boredom, from anger to the lack of sleep. And sometimes, it's all about the baby's personality.
But nothing is impossible for a loving parent who is determined to find out why their little one is shedding their tears. This list will help these stubborn folks get to know the most common reasons for excessive crying in babies. And, as a bonus, parents will also learn a thing or two about the ways to deal with waterworks in toddlers and preschoolers.
21 The Most Obvious Reasons
New parents probably know that if a baby's crying, they most likely either want to eat or need their nappies changed. But a new mommy doesn't always have to wait for her baby to start crying to feed them. It's better to learn to recognize the signs of hunger beforehand and skip the crying stage by feeding the baby right away.
Among the signs of hunger, there can be fussing, lip-smacking, turning their head to your hand while you're touching their cheek, and putting their hands into their mouth. Watch out for these behavior patterns and offer your breast or formula to your baby, if you see notice them.
20 The Child Might Have An Allergy
Now let's talk about a little less evident reasons of inconsolable crying in babies. One of them is an allergy. It can be an allergy to one of the products you're eating (in case you're breastfeeding), as well as to dust, pet dander, etc. But one of the most common things your baby may be struggling from is Cow's Milk Protein Allergy (aka CMPA).
CMPA is very common in infants under 3 months, and one of its most frequent signs is excessive crying. If your baby also demonstrates other symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, rash, persistent cough, or trouble sleeping, check your little one for CMPA. In case your baby has it, your doctor will recommend what to do.
19 They Might Also Be Sick
If it's not about CMPA, excessive crying can still be a warning sign of a health issue. New mommies should also pay attention to the way their infant is crying. For example, if they're inconsolable due to an illness, their cries will probably be more urgent, continuous, or high-pitched.
Besides, Eugenie Charles, MD, a pediatrician from Virginia, recommends new parents to also "look for other symptoms, like fever, vomiting, lack of weight gain" and bring them to their pediatrician's attention as soon as possible if they occur. In this case, the doctor will check your baby for all possible illnesses that can be accompanied by these symptoms.
18 What If The Kid Has Belly Issues?
Belly issues, such as colic and gas, are extremely common among little babies who are crying too much. In case your baby has gases, the best thing to do is to help them let all the wind out. You'll see that your little one will stop crying after it, just like a tiny miracle.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, colic is a "condition where an otherwise healthy infant cries more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks in a row." This condition is supposedly caused by muscular spasms that affect the baby's gut and result in cramp-like pains that occur after feeding. There're no techniques that 100% help to relieve the colic, but the good thing is that this condition passes with time. By the time your baby's 4 months old, it should be gone.
17 Check Your Child For Infectious Diseases
Things get more serious in the case of your baby's crying is linked to an infectious disease. Since it might be accompanied by a persistent cough, nasal discharge, and increased body temperature — make sure to look out for these symptoms. If any of them are visible, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician as soon as possible to keep the infection from spreading in your little one's body. Remember that at an infant age, even the slightest infection can become dangerous, so keep a close eye on your baby if they're crying more often than usual.
Of course, it doesn't mean becoming a hypochondriac. Just being a watchful mommy is more than enough.
16 Your Little One Is Tired
It happens to all of us, not necessarily to babies. At times, we're so tired and want to sleep so much that it's hard to fall asleep. When something similar happens to a baby, they might get cranky and cry a lot. The thing is, sleep is a learned skill and parents are the people who need to teach it to their kids. Do some trial and error training to help your child soothe and fall asleep. Try swaddling, rocking your baby to sleep, or singing a lullaby. Whatever works for your little one.
However, avoid keeping your baby from sleep during the day to make them sleep better at night. On the contrary, it might make them overtired and they'll find it harder to fall into the arms of Morpheus.
15 The Baby's Too Cold Or Too Hot
Most parents think that if they feel hot or cold, then their child is also hot or cold. However, since we all feel temperatures differently, you should remember that even if you feel cold, your baby might be feeling just fine, and vice versa. So make sure to check on your baby's body temperature, especially if they're crying too much. Remember that it's normal for your kid's hands and feet to be a little colder than the rest of the body, so check whether your baby's too hot or too cold by touching their tummy or the back of their neck.
Remember that you should never overdress your baby to avoid overheating. Generally, your little one needs only one more layer of clothing than you.
14 Help Them Release Gas
If your baby has just been fed but continues to cry, try helping them burp. The need to burp might occur if the baby swallowed air while being fed. If this air isn't released, it may lead to bloating and cause discomfort. And how does a baby demonstrate being uncomfortable? By crying!
To help your child eliminate the excess air, you may lay your little one on their back and massage their stomach in a clockwise direction. Another way you can do it is by putting your baby on your shoulder and gently—but firmly—patting on their back. When you hear a small burp coming out, you can be sure that everything's fine and the crying will soon stop.
13 The Little One Needs Attention
By crying, a baby might be asking for their parents' attention. Maybe they feel lonely or restless. Physical contact is essential for any human being, so be sure that you give a lot of attention to your little one and hold them often. Take your baby into your hands, sway them, sign them a song, or just talk to them. All these things will help your baby soothe and find reassurance that they're loved by their mommy.
To keep your baby close more often, try baby-wearing with a sling or carrier. This way, they'll continuously see you, feel your body's warmth, and your smell. And what can soothe a child better than the sound of their mother's heartbeat?
12 They Might Feel Uncomfortable
What do you do, when you have an eyelash stuck in your eye? Obviously, you take it out. But if a similar thing happens to your baby, they can't take their darn eyelash out. What do they do in this case? They're crying because of the discomfort they're feeling, thus attracting your attention and asking you to take it out of their eye for them.
So it's a great idea to check on everything surrounding your baby. Make sure that everything's fine with their crib, the blanket, where your little one is swaddled, as well as all other things around your baby that may cause some kind of discomfort to them.
11 Check If Anything Causes Them Pain
The things that cause discomfort for your baby can be extremely small, but at the same time, they might make your little one miserable. So make sure to check on such seemingly unimportant things as a hair wrapped around your baby's toe or finger. Since it cuts off blood circulation, it might cause pain to your little one, so removing it can make them feel relieved.
Also take a closer look at the clothing tags and fabrics and see if they have some scratchy spots. Your baby's skin is extremely sensitive, so even the slightest thing can cause irritation. So make sure that everything feels nice and smooth.
10 Maybe Teething Began?
If your baby is around 4 months old, be ready for teething to start soon. Keep in mind that this process is likely to be accompanied by excessive crying and crankiness. Other symptoms that you might notice are excessive drooling and gnawing on anything that gets in their hands.
To help your baby overcome this uneasy stage of their life, Preeti Parikh, MD, a pediatrician at Pediatrics of New York, recommends to let your baby suck "on a pacifier or on your thumb or finger." Other specialists also advise new parents to massage on their baby's gums until they hear a squeaking sound and give them teethers, washcloths or cotton bibs, so that they can suck on them and relieve the itch.
9 Try Stimulating Your Baby More Often...
If you're a parent of a demanding child, you're going to hear a lot of crying from your little one, because they'll want even more attention from you (and the outside world in general), than babies commonly need.
If this is the case, to meet your baby's needs, you might try carrying your little one facing out in a front carrier. Thus, they will be distracted by the activity happening around them and be quieter. It's also a good idea to play a lot of active games and find other parents with kids, who'll want to play with yours, as well. Attend different kid-friendly events and find even more ways to keep your little extrovert happy.
8 ...Or Less
But since all kids are different, constant stimulation isn't an instant remedy to all. Some babies, on the contrary, want more peace than others — and they will cry a lot if this peace is disturbed. It's their way of saying, "I've had enough, so leave me alone."
If you notice that your child doesn't like excessive stimulation, make sure that there's not too much activity happening around them. Don't pass them hand-to-hand too much and eliminate excessive noise and light from their room. It might also be nice to turn down the TV, take away noisy toys, and turn on some relaxing music for your sweetie pie.
7 They Just Might Be In A Bad Mood
Babies are more sensitive than you think. They feel the mood of their parents very well and they're likely to copy it. So at times, when a mother is feeling depressed, angry, anxious, or exhausted, their child might cry more often.
It means that in case your baby became inconsolable recently, pay more attention to your own mood and behavior. If you've been feeling unwell, too, try doing something to change it. Talk to your doctor about your state of mind and say how it affects your child. The specialist will give you good recommendations on how to solve this issue. It might also be useful to ask a family member to look after your child for a short time and take a break from parenting duties.
6 What If They're Just Bored?
Sometimes, a baby starts crying only because they don't know what else to do. They're bored and want someone else (read: their mommy) to entertain them or bring a new toy that they can examine. If this is the case for your child, it's rather easy to overcome and avoid excessive crying.
Try to keep your baby in a common room where they'll always see people going to and fro and where they can watch you doing everyday stuff. At times, it can be enough for the child to have fun. After all, they're seeing something new, and it's good for them. Another thing you can do is get them some new toys or hang a new mobile above their crib. If the baby has something new to pay attention to, they may become calmer.
5 Is Nothing Working And They're Still Crying?
If you're one of these parents, who have tried everything to calm their baby down, but nothing seems to work, you might start feeling desperate. You know that your kid is healthy, comfy, and entertained, yet they won't stop crying. But even then, you can still do something to help.
First, you should try speaking to your pediatrician about it. Knowing your baby quite well, they can recommend you to do something that'll work for your little one. Second, don't lose your peace of mind and remember that even this crying stage will pass. As soon as your child learns to use words to express their feelings and emotions, they won't cry as much. So brace yourself and keep on trying.
4 It Can Just Be Their Temperament...
As I've mentioned before, all kids are different. Some are calm, while others are noisy. Some like to just quietly play with their toys, but others seem to need the attention of the whole world to be focused on them. Some keep their feelings inside, and others express these feelings to the fullest.
For this reason, never compare your child to others. Don't say something like, "Why is their kid so calm and nice, and mine is so fussy and cranky? Am I a bad mom? Or is my baby bad?"
No one is bad. Your baby just has a different personality. Accept it and it'll be much easier to cope with all the crying.
3 ... Or Maybe It's Part Of Their Development
There are also babies, who seem to be crying for no reason at all. Nothing's wrong with them. They just don't know the words that would describe their feelings of loneliness, boredom, anger, excitement, or whatever other thing they're feeling at the moment. This is why they're crying to express all these things. As some specialists say, "Birds fly and babies cry."
In other words, sometimes there's nothing wrong with a crying baby. Crying is just a part of their infant development. Your baby is learning to communicate and express emotions. They see your reactions to everything they do. It's indispensable for their growth.
2 Bonus One: What About Crying In Toddlers?
If your baby is no longer an infant, but a toddler, who can communicate through some other ways than crying their eyes out—but they still turn on the waterworks every now and then—here is what might help you.
You should know that toddlers usually cry when they deal with new or difficult emotions, like jealousy, embarrassment, or frustration. So if your kid is crying because of a new feeling, help them name it, tell that you understand, and start teaching them to deal with it. For example, you can say, "You're frustrated because the blocks keep falling over. Let's try again together." You'll see how your child's mood will change after it.
1 Bonus Two: A Preschooler Crying Excessively Is Also A Problem
Parents of preschoolers also need to deal with crying, because even though their kids can express their feelings with words, they're still learning to live in this difficult world.
Like in case with a toddler, you should speak to your crying child, name the emotion they're experiencing (even if they already know how it's called), show that you understand them, and offer a solution. For example, "You're upset, because Sammy doesn't want to play with you. But what if you play with Billy instead?"
The most important thing in the conversation with a preschooler is letting them know that you're listening to them. In this case, your child will feel closer to you and resolving the crying issues will become much easier.
References: Baby Center, The Bump, Baby Gaga, Net Doctor, Raising Children