Looking back to when my daughters were born, especially the first months, I still can’t believe how I survived. Having a baby isn’t easy at all! With Bella, my eldest, things were harder because she was my first and I was in another country far from my family. I felt lost. Although I had my mother with me for the first 2 months, she returned to Peru which meant I was alone again. Of course, I had my hubby Nick which was a great help and who is a great father but you still feel overwhelmed and very emotional. You really don’t know what to do when you find yourself at home with your new born who won’t stop crying.
Even when this is your second, third or even fourth baby, each experience is different so you can still feel lost at times. I remember feeling really worried in the moments Bella was constantly crying as a baby. It is very frustrating. You try everything but nothing helps. She suffered from colic a lot and it was very painful for her, despite being a breastfed baby.
It is really sad to see your baby unhappy and not knowing what to do. You have a feeling of despair and you pray for answers. When my second daughter, Sienna was born, everything was great and we were taking care amazingly well for 2 days.
We were discharged the day after she was born! She was eating well so they said she was okay to go home. I was impressed. I didn’t think we would get to go back home so early. The car journey home went well but from the moment we arrived, she wasn’t happy and began to cry a lot. She literally didn’t stop crying, despite trying everything. I thought that the second time would have been easier. How wrong I was!
Her cry was inconsolable! I had been just one day since surgery so you can imagine how weak I was. I had decided to breastfed her, so I had tried to do this from the moment she was born. I did everything that I could possibly think of to help her, like changing her nappy, feeding her, making her sleep, washing her, etc. Nothing worked. The cry was unstoppable. It was that bad that we ended up in the A&E that evening! I never felt so vulnerable and helpless in my entire life. I felt like such a bad mother because I couldn’t help my baby! It was the first night and I was already failing! It was a horrible feeling!
As a newborn, Sienna was seen as soon as we arrived in A&E. They checked her thoroughly and concluded that she looked fine and that there was nothing wrong with her. At least not anything major. But she was unhappy and was still crying. They investigated until they tried the next thing. Guess what they did? Yes, you are right! She needed more food! So, they gave her some formula! As simple as that! I was so upset as I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding, especially after one day! The doctor said that my baby was hungry because my proper breast milk hadn’t arrived yet. As it was the first days, she was eating colostrum but it seems that it wasn’t enough. Your milk supply normally takes a few days to start working.
We went back home and she had some formula while I was waiting for my milk to arrive. Thankfully this happened on the third day so I was able to feed her with my breast milk. Who knew that I was going to have a greedy baby, LOL? Yes, she was and still is very greedy! She loves her food! It is her favourite thing in the whole world, LOL!
As you can see, trying to understand why your baby cries is not easy at all. It takes a little bit of time and practice to get to used to your new baby. I wish I had more access to help and being able to avoid this problem. That is why I am sharing with you some guidance and help provided by Care, healthcare brand and Penny Lazell, a qualified midwife and independent health visitor. This guidance will help you comfort your little one.
Firstly, it is important that you understand why babies cry? What is their motive? Penny explained to us that “Babies are genetically programmed to call out for comfort when distressed. Crying is your baby’s way of getting you to understand what they need as their brain isn’t developed enough to manage this on their own. Babies DO NOT cry to exercise their lungs or to annoy you! They cry when they need to alert you to something that is bothering them, either physically or emotionally, and requires you to meet their needs. The more these needs are met and understood over time, the less your baby will cry as you will learn to understand what they want before they become upset.”
So here they are, 9 reasons why your baby might cry and what you can do:
• Young babies’ brains are not developed enough to anticipate hunger. Therefore, when they realise they’re hungry, a message goes directly to the brain to alert the baby to let their carer know they need feeding. This can happen very quickly and the force and escalation of the cry often catch parents out and can be quite worrying.
• What to do: If your baby has not been fed for 2- 4 hours then they may be hungry. If they are soothed immediately by a breast or bottle then that’s probably what they were trying to tell you. Over time, babies will learn to regulate their feeds and often manage to have longer gaps in between, which will help you anticipate when the feed is due and reduce crying.
2. WET OR DIRTY NAPPY
• All babies are different so some don’t mind a slightly dirty nappy while others will cry as soon as it has been filled. Often babies will open their bowels straight after feeding so if they start to cry after a feed, it may be that they have a dirty nappy.
• What to do: A cry for a wet or dirty nappy is often mistaken for them still being hungry. Try to change your baby’s nappy frequently to avoid distress.
• Your baby yawning, rubbing their eyes, becoming fidgety, or disengaging are all signs of tiredness. Once a baby becomes overtired, they find it really difficult to calm down again. This often causes anxiety for the parent and in turn, the baby picks up on this and is even less likely to calm down.
• What to do: A change of environment or someone different soothing the baby may help. Or sometimes just allowing your baby to start using their own self-regulation; placing them in their cot with you nearby may actually give them permission to fall asleep.
• Cries of pain can be quite frightening and are often very different to those of hunger or tiredness. They tend to be more high-pitched and have quite a sudden onset.
• What to do: Trust your gut instinct. If you think your baby’s cry is one of pain, take their temperature and check them over. It may just be that a piece of clothing is tight or they are in an uncomfortable position. If the cry continues, seek medical advice.
• The brains of young babies are wired to crave attention so they can start to learn about the world. For this reason, they become bored very quickly and will often alert you on a regular basis that they want you. Although this can mean you find little time to get things done, it is very important to respond to these cries to ensure your baby’s brain develops.
• What to do: Babies learn from you so try to set aside time to provide short periods of stimulating activities. This could just be talking to them or singing. They love your voice and eye contact. Try to avoid putting them in front of a TV. Even watching you hang the washing out is fun for them even if not for you!
• This can be as hard to deal with as boredom. Babies’ brains are like sponges but can only take so much at a time. An over stimulated baby will become very fretful and can be difficult to settle which may be mistaken for many other things.
• What to do: If your baby appears to be fretful and isn’t settling with rocking or cuddling, try taking them to a quiet low lit room and just hold them still, gently sshshhing and talking to them. It may take a little while to settle them but stick with it.
7. WANTING A CUDDLE
• Babies have emotional needs and having spent nine months tucked up in a nice cosy womb feeling secure, they can often feel a little lost when out in the big wide world. Cuddling babies is important for their emotional development and for growing their ability to self-regulate themselves.
• What to do: Don’t be afraid to cuddle your baby. It will not make them clingy, in fact, it will help them become more independent.
8. BEING TOO HOT OR TOO COLD
• Babies have immature temperature regulation which means parents have to regulate it for them. Babies lose heat from their heads so you should leave this uncovered. If a baby looks red with their crying it may be that they are too hot.
• What to do: Start by removing a layer of clothing from your baby. You may also need to check their temperature to see if they are hot due to a fever. Equally, babies may alert you to being cold by crying. Try to remember to always be aware that this may be a reason for their crying.
9. TRANSIENT LACTASE DEFICIENCY
• The available evidence states that the immature digestive system of babies can struggle making enough lactase to digest the lactose (a natural milk sugar found in breast and formula milk) in their feed, which can induce colicky symptoms. This is called Transient Lactase Deficiency. Guidelines from both the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS Choices website suggest that Transient Lactase Deficiency could be an underlying cause of infantile colic, and that a one week trial of a Lactase Enzyme Drop is worth a try in colicky infants.
• What to do: Introducing a lactase enzyme drop with feeds can often resolve the problem without having to move to or change formula.
CARE CO-LACTASE INFANT DROPS
Designed to reduce lactose content in milk, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops help make digesting lactose easier for baby without delaying the feeding process. These drops can be used from birth, and are sugar, preservative and flavour-free. They are to be added to breast milk or infant formula prior to feeding. The lactase enzyme breaks down the lactose in breast and formula milk which should reduce the symptoms of Transient Lactase Deficiency. Unlike other preparations, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops do not interfere with the feeding process, meaning a baby can be fed immediately (rather than waiting 30 minutes for the drops to take effect).
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops (10ml), priced at £9.99 for 60 feeds, are available from Asda stores or online and independent pharmacies nationwide.
Now onto the giveaway. I am running a giveaway so that one of you can WIN A BRANDED BOX OF CARE CO-LACTASE INFANT DROPS. This is a Facebook only giveaway, so in order to have a chance of winning please click the link HERE. Good luck!
Did you also experience the same with your children in the first months after birth? Did you know what to do? What do you think of this guide? In addition to the suggestions listed, what other things could we do when a baby cries?
*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Care
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Twicemicrowaved tea says
There are some great tips here (and lovely photos!). I’d forgotten how frightening those first few weeks with a newborn were! #kcacols
Sarah- Arthurwears says
Arthur had terrible colic and reflux when he was a baby – it was just soul destroying and my husband worked late too so it was a struggle. I actually wrote a post on all of the different things we tried. One was a similar drop to this but a different make – I’ve not heard of this one. I’m hoping this next baby won’t suffer too! #kcacols
Sarah | Digital Motherhood says
Oh god, my daughter had colic so cried a lot! I’ve blanked most of it out now!
I remember that feeling well of being a first-time parent and not knowing what to do! Both of my boys suffered with Reflux which was quite hard. I’m glad Sienna was ok in the end taking a baby to A&Emust be scary! #KCACOLS
Thank you! Yes it was very scary but thank god all went well at the end! 🙂
These tips are really useful, especially for first time parents who can be very anxious if they are unsure what to do with a new baby #KCACOLS
crummy mummy says
This is a great list for new mums! #KCACOLS
Jenn @ Mad Mommy says
I can only imagine how terrible that must have been going back to the doctor so quickly. My son had pneumonia when he was 2 months so I understand! I think we all, eventually, learn to distinguish the difference in our children’s cries as well. #KCACOLS
Laura dove says
I could have wrote this myself. Megan cried 24-7 from the moment she was born. She was in and out of hospital, had all kinds of tests and we went through so much worry and eventually they said lactose intolerance and reflux. It was a rough ride for her and for me, not knowing why they are crying is so bad d #kcacols
Lisa Pomerantz says
What a gorgeous baby and mum of course! Great tips – If only I knew you 9 years ago when this all began! <3 Franca! #kcacols xoxo
Paul Wilson says
Thank you for going to so much trouble and giving so much good advice and an insight into your life too.
Nigel Soper says
I am convinced that sometimes babies pickup on the anxiousness or worry of their parents and can cry as a result (of course they can also sleep through when the world is crashing around them). There can be a viscous cycle in which the parent has concern about the baby crying which triggers the baby to cry more. The best solution we have found is to go for a walk or a car ride and leave the effected parent to sleep or rest as often tiredness is an important factor.