This is one way in which your baby will communicate with you.
Unfortunately, crying can mean many different things, such as I am
hungry and I am tired. However sometimes despite parents endeavours
to assist, the crying can continue - even for hours.
Crying may seem like a hindrance but it is actually a very
helpful process to indicate that your baby needs something; a baby
will almost never suffer in silence unless they have a chill or are
being smothered. However there is an exception to this rule. A new
born baby (within the first few weeks) will cry for no reason
because they are simply adapting to life outside the womb.
• However an interesting fact is that crying is universal, in
that it occurs within all cultures. For this fact one can assume
that it is not the environment but the infant, so guilt should be
avoided on the parents part.
• Uncontrollable periods of crying that last longer than normal
is a condition referred to as colic. The cause for colic is still
unknown; there is currently debate over intestinal cramps and
hormone levels in the brain.
• Once crying starts it is believed that the baby will swallow
air which causes stomach cramps and hence more crying.
• Some parents, when all has been tried to console the
baby, will simply wait it out by putting the baby to bed and
checking 15 minutes later. Sometimes you may need a rest too.
• Try not to suffer from feelings of guilt or inadequacy as the
parent of a colicky baby.
Everyone has difficulties dealing with an inconsolable baby.
Just try and remember that this does pass with time, and crying
does not emotionally or physically harm a baby.
MYTH = Babies do not cry to exercise their lungs.
Reasons for crying and what to do
These reasons and cures are simply a guide and are not designed to
be a magic answer.
Hunger: The most common reason, will
only be alleviated with milk, sucking a dummy will not suffice.
Pain: It was once believed that babies
did not feel pain, and procedures would be performed without pain
relief (not a very nice start to life). Babies do feel pain and
will cry even with a small degree of discomfort, e.g. if their bath
is a degree to hot or cold.
Over stimulation: Shock and fear -
Loud sudden noise, bright lights, sharp or unpleasant taste, too
cold, too hot, too many tickles, hugs or bouncing, someone laughing
too loud, sense of falling - these will all cause crying. Your baby
will be sensitive and sometimes a fright or shock can be worse than
The right time: Your baby has to be in
the mood for a particular activity just as you do. If your baby is
tired they will not want to play, just as you wouldn't want to if
you were tired. Just use common sense, such as not bathing your
baby immediately after feeding. And if your baby is hungry it is
time for a feed not time for play.
Undressing: Even if the room is warm
and you have warmed up your hands your baby can still cry during
undressing. This is because they dislike the feeling of losing the
fabric next to them and the sensation of the air next to their
Cold:The change between a warm
environment to a cold environment will often make a baby cry.
Twitches and Jerks: The involuntary
movements that humans make between nearly asleep and asleep are
called myoclonic jerks. These will keep a baby awake and make them
cry. Swaddling your baby prior to being put
down will remedy this disturbance.
Lack of cuddles: It is natural, normal
and healthy to have your baby close to your body all the time. In
western cultures it is customary not to do so, and this promotes
crying. Slings are excellent at holding your baby close to your
body while allowing you to carry on with tasks. Mothers, fathers,
brothers and sisters can all participate in the holding of baby.
When baby cannot be held, wrap him/her in warm soft blankets and do
not leave your baby on plastic or paper.