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How To Soothe Your Crying Baby
How can I tell why my baby is crying?I'm hungry
Once you learn to recognize the signs that your baby wants to eat — she'll fuss, make noises, and root around for your breast if you pick her up — you'll get pretty good at feeding her before she starts to really cry. But when she is crying, check first to see if she's hungry. Food might not stop her crying right away, but let her keep eating if she wants to. Sometimes a baby will continue to cry even after you start feeding her; keep going, she'll stop once her stomach is full.
Change my diaper
Some babies will let you know right away when they need to be changed; others don't mind when their diapers are soiled — it's warm and comfortable to them. (Parents are often surprised when they pick up their infant and find they've been sitting around in a dirty diaper and never made a sound.) Either way, this one is easy to check and simple to remedy.
I'm too cold or hot
Newborns like to be bundled up and kept warm. (As a rule, they need to be wearing one more layer than you need to be comfortable.) So when your baby feels cold, like when you strip her naked to change her, she'll let you know that she's not happy by crying. You'll learn how to quickly change a diaper and wrap your baby back up to calm her until the crying stops. Watch out that you don't overdress her, since she's less likely to complain about being too warm than about being too cold and won't cry about it as vigorously.
I want to be held
Babies need a lot of cuddling. They like to see their parents' faces, hear their voices, listen to their hearts, and can even detect their unique smell (especially Mom's milk). After being fed, burped, and changed, many babies simply want to be held. You may wonder if you'll "spoil" your child by holding her so much, but during the first few months of life there's no such thing. Infants will vary a lot in how much they want to be held. Some demand a lot of attention, while others can spend long periods of time sitting calmly by themselves. If your baby likes the attention, pick her up or keep her next to you.
I can't take it anymore
While newborns seem to thrive on a lot of attention, they can easily become overstimulated and have a "melt-down." You may find that your baby cries longer than usual after spending a holiday with many adoring family members or has periods at the end of each day when she seems to cry for no reason. Newborns have difficulty filtering out all the stimulation they receive — the lights, the noise, being passed from hand to hand — and can become overwhelmed by too much activity. Crying is their way of saying "I've had enough." This usually happens when your baby is tired. Take her somewhere calm and quiet and let her vent for a while, and then see if you can get her to sleep.
I don't feel good
If you've just fed your baby and checked that she's comfortable (it can be something as subtle as a hair wrapped around her toe or a clothing tag that's poking her), but she's still crying, consider checking her temperature to make sure she isn't ill. The cry of a sick baby tends to be distinct from the hunger or frustration cry, and you'll soon learn when your baby "just doesn't sound right" and needs to be taken to the doctor.
None of the above
Sometimes you might not be able to figure out what's wrong. Many newborns develop periods of fussiness when they're not easily soothed. These periods of fussiness can range from a few minutes of hard-to-console crying to full-blown colic. Colic is defined as inconsolable crying for at least three hours per day, at least three days per week. Even if your baby is not crying for three hours, these episodes may be difficult for you. When all else fails, try the tips below.
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