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“Help! My baby is crying!”

by Lau Chiamin

“Why does my Baby cry? What can I do?”

Every new mum and dad ask themselves frantically when their newborn cry. Most parents with newborns carry the expectation that being good parents mean having happy babies all the time (Smiling babies is what everyone usually see in all the baby magazines…)

The reality is that babies have to cry.

Remember: Crying is the first form of baby talk. Crying is a normal event in the lives of all babies. When a baby comes out of the womb, the first thing she does is cry.

It is the only way your baby communicates with you from the start. She (let’s assume this is a baby girl) may be hungry; she may be wet; she may be too warm or too cold; she may be just bored….There are many reasons why babies cry and it will not be long for you to distinguish between the different cries. As you and your baby get to know each other, you will sometimes be able to tell the difference between each kind of crying. You can then try to give her what she needs.

Taking care of your baby when she cries will not spoil her. It will help your baby feel loved and secure. Smile, touch and talk to your baby as often as possible. Do this when you feed her, change her diaper or give her a bath. Your baby will learn that she can rely on you to take care of her.

One of the common causes why babies cry is hunger: sometimes even if it seems you have just fed your baby, she could still be hungry. Whether you are feeding your baby on a fairly regular schedule or according to her desire, you will soon get a good idea what her feeding pattern is like. There are certain times in the day she wants more to eat, this should help you to decide the unusual crying is due to hunger. If she stops crying after another feed, you will know she is trying to tell you that she is hungry. However, sometimes if your baby cries after feeding, it can be due to indigestion. Babies swallow air, and then they suffer from wind, just like anyone else. Do burp your babies regularly to expel swallowed air. There are a few checks you can do to lessen the problem – check the teat hole, too big a teat hole can cause too much air intake while feeding. Also you can try to hold your baby upright as much as possible during burping. This helps to expel swallowed air too.


Fatigue is another common causes why baby cry. When young babies have been awake for unusually long while or they have been over stimulated (being with strangers, by being in a strange place), they can become irritable and tired. They might cry a little earlier or later than the normal nap schedule. Instead of being easier for them to fall asleep after a busy day, it may be even harder. If you try to comfort them with more playing, more talk, it may make matters worse. Some young babies may just have to cry (the crying can be frantic and loud) before they can fall asleep. Therefore, if you know there is more activities ahead in the coming day (traveling or festive season with lots of other people in the house), you may have to try to tailor the sleeping times to suit the day’s activities.

And naturally, if your baby is unwell, she will cry.

Sometimes this is as simple as too much heat or coldness in the room. If she feels too warm or too cold, she becomes restless and she will cry. Babies need to rest comfortably in a room with good ventilation.

If it is sickness like a cold with nasal blocking, your baby will not be able to sleep well and will go on crying till the passage for better breathing is opened.

Or it can be a case of nappy rash when a tight and wet nappy is kept her for a long time. For some babies, rash can also be caused by some allergic reaction to the elastic material of the nappy. When the rash appears it causes soreness and she become sleepless and cry.

Constipated babies with hard stools may cry when they get the urge for stool. Some babies will hesitate to pass stool because of pain. Therefore it is important to ensure your baby has regular bowel movements.

That being said, I think almost all babies will have some fretful moments during the early weeks, though some babies can be excessively fretful. We may not really know are the causes, indigestion or irritability, and though this may not be a serious issue, this is definitely going to create a lot of stress for you! Go ahead and try a few things – a pacifier between feedings, tug your baby snugly in a blanket, and if possible, go for a car ride, it works like magic for fretful babies. You can also try to play some light music. Make soft noises, such as cooing, to let your baby know you are there and you care. Talk to your baby. This helps to calm your baby down.

But sometimes despite all your efforts, your baby might just cry more than others do.

Don’t despair and be too hard on yourself, it is important to give yourself a deserved break. Try to arrange for someone to mind her a few hours, or even a few minutes will do you good. You might be surprised to know some babies can sense the tension in their parents, and in turn they cannot relax themselves too. Therefore it is important for you (and for your spouse and your baby too) to make effort to leave the house for a few hours at least once a week so that you will not get too exhausted or even depressed. Your baby does not need two worried parents to listen to her at the same time.

Remember, do your best to keep a sense of balance (though this may sound like an impossible task ) by not putting 100% of your time on your newborn as ultimately this will help your baby and the rest of your family in the long run.

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