Why Do Babies Cry & How Do You Soothe a Crying Baby?

Have you ever stopped to think about why do babies cry? Or are you more concerned with finding ways you can soothe them and stop them crying? Well you don’t have to worry about choosing one or the other, because today we’re going to answer both questions.

Tell Me; Why Do Babies Cry?

Babies have cried since the beginning of time. It’s how they communicate with us, before they learn to speak or gesture with their hands. Here are nine common reasons why babies cry:

  • Hungry – before crying starts, a baby will usually show you some subtle cues that they need feeding. These include rooting, putting their hands to their mouths and getting fussy.
  • Colic – some babies suffer dreadfully from colic, while others never have it. Colic causes stomach cramps and pains, which results in uncontrollable crying for hours and weeks on end, usually at the same time each day.
  • Needs burping – as an adult you know how uncomfortable it can be to need to burp, but you can’t. It’s the same for babies.
  • Tired – we get grumpy when we’re tired, just like babies do.
  • Dirty nappy – babies don’t like sitting around in a dirty nappy, so they let us know by crying.
  • The wrong temperature – if a baby is too hot or too cold, they’ll tell you with tears.
  • Want cuddles – a cuddle can make everything feel better, and a crying baby needs one too.
  • Teething – those sharp pointy teeth are sure to make a baby cry every time one of them erupts.
  • Sick – if you’re feeling awful, it can make you cry, and babies are no exception.

Often it is your best guess as to what’s causing a baby to cry. Thankfully there are some (almost) sure fire ways to help dry up those tears, and we’ll talk about those next.

How Do You Soothe a Crying Baby?

It’s important to know the main reasons why a baby cries because this will help you identify the best way of helpingdry those tears. If your baby is hungry, feed it. If they are tired, cuddle and put them to bed.

However, there are a few tried and tested soothing techniques you can use for most situations to soothe an upset baby. They include:

  • Swaddling
  • Distraction, such as with a cuddly toy,rattle or crib mobile
  • Sucking on a pacifier, teat, thumb or breast
  • Carrying baby in a front pack or sling
  • Rocking baby in a rocking chair or bouncenette
  • Playing white noise
  • Massaging
  • Giving a warm bath
  • Go for a drive
  • Carry your baby for a walk
  • Head outside

When you do have a baby who fails to settle and continues to cry, please look after yourself too. It’s okay to put your baby down in a safe place such as their crib and spend a few minutes calming down by yourself in another room. You can also call Plunket Line for a friendly ear on 0800 933 922 anytime, 24 hours a day for support.

Tracy Nicholls

3 thoughts on “Why Do Babies Cry & How Do You Soothe a Crying Baby?

  1. Alana says:

    Fantastic article, a great reminder of the many things you can try to sooth a crying baby (which normally disappear completely from my mind while dealing with a crying baby!).

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