For a newborn baby, there are only a few ways they can express themselves and crying is one of them. While it is expected, sometimes it can feel like they crying very often. In the first of a new series of medical Q&A columns, the team at OT&P addresses this and explores what your baby is trying to tell you. Maybe it is hunger, tiredness, a wet nappy, a cold, or pain, and often one of the most common reasons is that they miss you and want your company.
Different types of cry:
Although this can be hard to establish in the beginning, parents usually quickly learn how to decipher their babies crying, for example a cry from hunger can sound different from a cry for attention. Some babies cry more often than others and stop immediately when you pick them up or feed them, while others will take longer to pacify. Listening to and watching how your baby reacts can help you to pinpoint the source.
What should you do?
Even if your baby cries as you cuddle them, they can still feel the security of your presence, and often this is what they are really longing for. If the baby is still crying after a while, you can try to change the nappy or see if the baby is either too hot or too cold. Hunger is also often the reason for crying, and you should ensure that your baby is well fed.
If your baby cries without any obvious reason for extended periods (more than an hour or two and without stopping), you should make a doctor’s appointment to check for other factors, such as an ear infection or some form of injury. Feeling helpless is also quite common; just remember to be patient and to try different methods and positions to soothe your baby. While it might not always cease their crying, your baby will always appreciate it.
What NOT to do:
Never ever shake your baby, no matter how tired or frustrated you may feel. This can cause internal injuries to the baby. If the urge presents itself, put the baby down, walk out of the room, and close the door. If you have a friend or partner nearby ask for some help, you will be surprised how willing they can be to help. If not, take a little bit of a break. Enter the room again when you feel that you have calmed down. Most importantly, try not to feel guilty; this is something that many parents experience at some point in their parenthood, but the main focus is to deal with the situation in the correct way.
Is it colic?
It is also possible for your newborn to have colic. When a baby has colic, they will be crying on and off almost every day. This could range for a long period of 1 to 3 hours. Check with your nearby baby clinic or have a midwife identify if your baby has this condition. Should this be the case, usually the best solution is to keep the baby as close to you as possible – you will end up giving lots of cuddles, tummy time, and chest time. A sling and/or baby carrier can also be helpful, and both parents can both do this. A pacifier is sometimes helpful and movement can help with the crying.
OT&P has five clinics located across Hong Kong.
This article appeared in Playtimes Summer Issue 2019.