Contributed by Health Bay.
Settling a Crying Newborn
The topic being discussed here is for the mother and baby. Babies do cry, we all know that, that is one of their way to communicate with us. What we don’t know sometimes is the reason behind the crying. Some experts have tried to decrypt the different types of cries, but the reality is that babies don’t come with a manual and sometimes it’s not that easy to work out what they want to tell us.
Soon you will become the expert of your baby. You will know what your little one wants to communicate with you…most of the time…not always…Sometimes we don’t really know what’s happening with them (maybe these little humans don’t even know themselves…) and that is normal.
As a parent we can try things out and see if that works. At times it will be a matter of trial and error. Here’s some of the most common reasons why babies cry and how to settle them. Try them out to see if these help :
I tend to tell the new parents I see in Baby Clinic that the first week, 90% of the time when baby cries it is because of hunger. This is one of the latest cue of hunger so try to observe the feeding cues and feed as often as he is showing the early signs. Their tiny stomach need frequent feeds so don’t be surprised if you are feeding 8 to 12 times per day, that is the average.
Usually around the 3rd week start the famous wind. Even though this feeling in their tummy is new for them and they may feel uncomfortable at times (Gentle tummy massage, cycling with the legs can help or a relaxing bath), in my opinion this stage is a normal development of the baby who, after being well rested and having regained some energy by starting to put on weight, will try to let you know that they need the close contact with you. And here we transition to our next topic
If you already have some experience with newborns you may have noticed how babies could sleep 3 hours straight when placed on your chest but would sleep no longer than 10-15 min once put in their cot. We call the first months of life the 4th trimester. On you baby will feel safe, warm, loved, will hear your heartbeat and be rocked by your breathing. Baby wearing is very helpful during this stage. Enjoy the cuddles. You cannot spoil newborns by cuddling them too much. Just be mindful of the safe sleeping and baby carrying recommendations.
Suckling / Comfort
If you are breastfeeding, baby can comfort suck from you. He will adjust his/her suction and as long as Mum is comfortable with it, that’s ok to leave the baby on the breast for comfort. Alternatively, especially if you are bottle feeding and you feel like baby would settle down by non nutritive suckling, you can try to offer a pacifier. Use only if absolutely necessary to prevent the teeth to be affected.
Most of the babies really don’t mind if they have a soiled diaper but some may complain if it happens, especially if they have some kind of nappy rash.
Tiredness / Over stimulation
The belief that keeping baby very active during the day, he/she will sleep better at night is wrong. Overtired babies will tend to cry more at the end of the day. Try to watch for the signs of readiness for sleep. The first part of the night is usually the time for one longer stretch of deep sleep so my advice would be to head to bed early to rest at the same time as baby.
Rarely but worth mentioning, if your baby is inconsolable or the cry does sound different from his normal cry, it can be a sign of illness. Trust your instincts and get your baby checked by a doctor.
I do recommend to try to respond to baby’s needs early and not let a distressed baby cry out for long as cortisol (the stress hormone) will rise and may have negative effects on their developing brain.
Some days will be hard on you. If you feel you can not take it anymore, if you feel overwhelmed, pass baby to another person or if alone at home, place the baby is a safe place (in his cot for example), go out of the room and take a deep breath, when you feel ready go back to your baby.
No matter how tired and frustrated you might be, NEVER SHAKE your baby. If needed get some support and do not hesitate to seek help from a professional. Babies are all different, have different personalities that will show from birth. Some need more contact / comfort / reassurance than others. Parenting at a the same time the most wonderful and the most difficult job. Trying to soothe a crying baby can be tiring but believe me, it will get better.
Senior Midwife and Lactation Consultant IBCLC
Muriel joined HealthBay in 2014 as a Senior Midwife. She currently assists women during their pregnancy and then with their babies after birth, both in the clinic and in their homes. She is also a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and provides specialist breastfeeding support and care.
Muriel successfully obtained her Midwifery Degree from the University of Nancy, France in 2002 and has extensive experience in France and overseas before relocating to Dubai in 2009 with her family. Her clinical practice includes Labour room, Antenatal and Postnatal care. She is a member of the French Midwifery Board.
HealthBay is a Dubai-based private medical clinic group with several locations on Al Wasl Road in Umm Suqeim and Motor City. Our clinics are dedicated to providing the highest international standards of medical care to meet all your family’s healthcare needs. From initial contact onwards, you will be helped and supported by our friendly team of medical professionals.
Also check out: 10 Podcasts Kids will Love