Many mums say one of the hardest parts of being a mum is having a crying baby and not knowing why they’re crying. While babies unfortunately do sometimes just cry, there are a number of reasons why this could be and it’ll help if you go through this checklist when they’re upset and won’t settle;
- Are they too hot or too cold? Check by feeling the back of the neck underneath their babygrow, not on their face, head or extremities
- Are they likely to be hungry? It’s harder to tell with breastfed babies, as you have no way of knowing how much they’ve taken, but lots of our mums say their babies will turn towards a gentle stroke of their cheek and make suckling movements and noises if they’re genuinely hungry
- Are they bored? Tiny babies don’t really need an awful lot of stimulation – simply existing in this brand new world is often all a bit too much for them! – but sometimes they do get a bit bored
- Are they overstimulated? As we’ve said, this brand new world can often be too much for tiny babies, especially if there’s lots of lights, sounds and movement
- Are they overtired? Small babies can get overtired very easily and once they’re past the point of no return when it comes to nodding off, they’re extremely hard to settle
- Are they wet or dirty? It sounds silly but it’s often very easy to miss simple problems when you’re surrounded by crying and can’t focus
- Do they need a burp? Winding very small babies can often take quite a while and if you’ve stopped too soon, there could be a big – and very uncomfortable – bubble in there
- Are they uncomfortable? If your baby is simply inconsolable, try taking everything off and checking everywhere for something that could be causing discomfort. One of our mums reported having an exceptionally fractious baby all night, only to discover the next morning she had a long hair wrapped tightly around one tiny toe!
- Does he or she simply need a cuddle? We all get like this from time to time. Pick them up, rock them, soothe them, then try putting them down again
As we’ve said, coping with a crying baby can be really, really hard. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you think you need it; sometimes there’s an obvious answer and you’re missing it thanks to being unbelievably tired, whereas sometimes there’s something else going on.
It’s worth remembering that an inability to cope with crying can be a sign of post-natal depression so if you’re concerned, do speak to a trusted healthcare provider for advice. You’ll also find non-medical help and support through Out Of The Blues, a peer support group based in Dubai for women with PND.