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Why do Babies Cry

Crying as a means of communication

Crying is the first form of baby talk. It is your baby’s only way of communicating to you, whether she is hungry, lonely, tired, wet, uncomfortable, too hot, too cold, or just generally frustrated. Though it may seem impossible initially, you will learn to a certain extent to differentiate between your baby’s different cries and decipher what it is she wants. In time, your baby will become more self-reliant and a better communicator and you will become more proficient at interpreting her cries. She will cry less often and for shorter periods and be more easily comforted.

Crying from hunger

Most of the time that the baby is crying, it is because of hunger.  Some parents begin to recognize the cry of hunger at a very early age.  It has been observed that the feeling of a full stomach gives a baby the most comfort. – not the act of feeding, swallowing or being held.

Crying because of fatigue

Babies often cry themselves to sleep because of fatigue. Parents need not be concerned, as babies will eventually outgrow this habit. Attempting to soothe the baby by picking her up or trying to pacify her with a dummy is not advisable. This will make it more difficult for her to learn to fall asleep on her own. A regular bedtime routine and adequate rest during the day should help.

Crying because of indigestion

Babies also often cry because of colic pain.  This does not mean that the baby is colicky.  When babies cry with a genuine colic pain, it means that they have some form of indigestion in their system. 

If the baby is on formula milk and if you have just introduced this brand, it is possible that this particular brand of formula milk is not suiting her.  But before you make the hasty decision of switching brands, see if this pattern continues for a couple more days.  If she is exclusively on breastmilk, some people believe it could be as a result of something heavy (difficult to digest) that the mother has eaten.  If the baby has already been introduced to solids, it may be helpful to analyze the baby’s food intake throughout the day and try to identify some food/foods that could be the cause of this indigestion.

In order to relieve this pain, many Indian mothers prefer to give their babies gripe water.  Although the medical benefits of gripe are not clear, (i) it may help the mother feel better that she has tried to soothe the baby; and (ii) it may also help in distracting the baby a little, since gripe water has a nice sweet taste

Crying because she needs to be burped

Babies often feel uncomfortable because they have swallowed air. Parents can take a few precautionary measures to prevent this happening. Babies will swallow less air if you keep them upright as much as possible during feeding and burping. The right-size teat hole on a bottle will also reduce air intake. Burp the baby regularly during feeds in order to expel swallowed air. Applying light pressure to the baby’s abdomen (by laying her across your lap, tummy down, or upright against your shoulder) while patting or rubbing her back has also been known to be effective.

Crying for apparently no reason at all

Sometimes though you have taken care of all your baby’s basic needs, she just will not stop crying. Some studies indicate that four out of five babies have daily crying sessions lasting from 15 minutes to an hour for no apparent reason. These crying jags usually occur in the evening that tends to be the busiest time of the day. There may be a lot of noise and activity as the rest of the family returns home and prepares to settle down for the evening. Babies often cannot tolerate this heightened hustle and bustle. For the baby it could be the end of a tiring day, taking in new sights, sounds and smells. After the sensory overload, the baby would like to relax by having a good cry. 

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