How to react to baby crying?
Your baby has only one means of expression to send you a message: he cries. Hunger, pain, fatigue or boredom? And it's not always easy for parents to know what's going on. Pediatrician Bernard Bedouret, co-author of the book “Les pleurs”, helps us to better understand these tears.
From the first seconds of its life, the newborn cries and cries: this is a sign that air is entering its lungs for the first time. And crying will be, for the next few years of life, baby's favorite means of expression! The frequency of crying tends to increase from the second week of life, not to mention that during the first nine months, baby has no notion of time. But you do. Your baby is crying a lot, or even constantly, whether in the evening, at night while sleeping, when you put him down... Find out how to decipher his cries, and how to relieve them.
Is it normal for a baby to cry all the time?
All doctors will tell you: a crying baby is normal, and even healthy! There is nothing to worry about. There are different types of crying:
Tired crying: when baby is tired, he can fall asleep suddenly or, on the contrary, cry and growl when you put him to bed. If baby struggles with sleep, establish a sleep ritual so that he feels safe;
Crying in frustration when he can't do something;
Tears of anger in the face of your prohibitions;
Crying or rather cries of hunger: they are the most classic. They start with small complaints that turn into more and more intense crying. There is therefore no need to keep an infant waiting when mealtime comes;
Crying from boredom or discomfort: baby has remained motionless for a while, he needs to move, or his dirty diaper irritates his buttocks, and he needs to be changed... He then begins to cry to signal their discomfort or boredom;
Growth spurt crying: This happens in some babies, but not all. Baby cries, is restless for a few days. You have no other solution than to wait for it to pass;
He wants his pacifier: sometimes, baby starts crying simply because he may need to fill his need to suck, a survival reflex in infants. You will then only have to give him his pacifier.
Crying: how do I know if my baby is in pain somewhere?
It is by crying that baby expresses his pain. Learn to recognize them.
He is teething: the first teeth begin to grow around six months, although this depends on infants. Teething can be accompanied by crying spells, because baby is in pain. You can spot them thanks to other signs: baby is more restless, he sleeps and eats less, he salivates more than usual... Several solutions exist: teething ring, dental gel, gum massage ...;
Crying after feedings can reveal discomfort linked to acidity rising towards the esophagus which makes it suffer. Consult your pediatrician;
Crying linked to colic attacks: these are recurrent and regular crying attacks, which generally occur at the same times of the day, accompanied by other signs: baby clenches his fists, turns red, his belly is hard, he has gases. Several solutions exist: gently rock baby, give him an abdominal massage...;
If his bottom is red, he's probably getting diaper rash. Your doctor will advise you to put a paste in water to form a filter between his buttocks and the diaper. If you can, do not hesitate to leave his buttocks in the air. It will relieve him.
The cries of pain are different from her usual cries. It is an intense cry whose force of expiration during the cry makes the baby almost lose his breath. These cries are often associated with other symptoms (fever, refusal to eat, diarrhoea, etc.). Urgent medical advice is required.
While waiting to see a doctor, first check if he has a fever. You can still give him paracetamol. Then try, gropingly, to find the pathology from which he suffers.
If he has a stomach ache, you can relieve him by putting him on his stomach. Then massage it with the palm of your hand in circular motions. Go from the navel to the chest and vice versa.
Discharge crying, up to what age?
Discharge or overstimulation cries are tears and cries allowing the infant to release the fatigue of the day. Indeed, the periods of awakening of a toddler are very active: walks, games... His five senses are constantly solicited, which causes a state of excitement that triggers his crying.
Discharge or overstimulation crying can be continuous and intense. They usually start at the end of the first month. Attacks often start between 5 and 9 p.m.
In order to calm these tears, there are several tips:
Relax him by gently massaging his temples and skull;
Take him in your arms and sit in the dark.
My baby cries a lot at night!
Every night, it's the same thing... Before going to bed, baby cries continuously, without stopping! There are two explanations here:
Either your child is crying because he's tired, he can't stand games or stimulation anymore. He rubs his eyes, yawns, cries without moving his head and growling. These are the famous cries of discharge or overstimulation mentioned above;
Either your child is crying because he doesn't want to sleep at all and will therefore lead you to play with him.
What are the solutions ? If he cries but at the same time you notice that he is sleepy, you will have to help him fall asleep. For example, you can rock him while walking, or even sing him a sweet little song and put him in bed as soon as he has calmed down.
On the contrary, if he doesn't feel like sleeping, take a few minutes to play with your baby. But do not choose an activity that will excite him! Take part in calm games using a cuddly toy, for example. It is not a question of annoying him, but of distracting him in order to appease him.
My baby cries at night while sleeping: should I let him cry?
He's only a few weeks old and he cries at night: that's normal. He may be hungry, he may simply need you, your comfort. But from the moment he is old enough to sleep a full night, you have to be a little more firm. A child must learn to be independent, gradually.
Of course, there is no question of letting him howl for hours, he may be in pain or embarrassed. The support of the parents is therefore essential because crying is for a baby, especially during the first three months, the only way to communicate. In some cases, they can be real calls for help. The toddler needs a solution to his problem. Little by little you will come to perceive, according to the intensity of his voice, what he wants.
If your baby doesn't calm down on his own after a few minutes, go to his room. After checking that everything is fine, stay close to him for a while, talk to him softly and put a hand on him to reassure him without taking him in your arms. Your mere presence should reassure him to fall back into his sleep.
Why does my baby cry when I put him down?
If your baby cries as soon as you put him down, that's pretty normal. He may need to be reassured because he is afraid, he does not feel safe, or he needs attention... It is a primary need to which he reacts. It's hard to find the right balance: you have to be available for baby, meet his needs, but while teaching him to do without your presence, to become independent.
How to calm a constantly crying baby with rocking?
When baby cries, one of the first reflexes we have is to rock him. And this is not a bad reflex, on the contrary!
"Riding is the universal gesture of appeasement, adopted by all parents since the dawn of time, and its effectiveness is no longer to be proven", notes Dr. Bedouret. The pediatrician also offers in his book different ways to rock a crying baby.
Here are three that you can try at home with your baby:
Tap baby's back very lightly, while accompanying the gesture of a lullaby, gradually decreasing the rocking movement and the sound of the voice;
Use throat singing imitating the prayers of Tibetan monks (it works, I tested!);
Sing the vowel "O" in a very deep tone, pressing the baby against his belly so that he hears the sound resonate.
What to do when baby cries and we can't take it anymore?
Remember that your baby senses your stress and tension. An angry parent cannot calm his baby. So here are some tips:
Pass the baton to your partner or someone close to you before you completely wear yourself out. A loved one can take over, or take your baby for a walk in a stroller while you are resting;
If you're home alone with baby, put him in his bed for a few moments, and take the time to call someone. The Parents line is available for all parents who need to talk;
To successfully relax despite the crying, sing lullabies or listen to soft, soothing music.
Gradually, over time, parents learn to identify their baby's cries and no longer rush to the pediatrician at the slightest crisis. They try, after having eliminated the different causes of these tears, to calm the baby. Which is not always easy!
Shaken baby syndrome: a real scourge
Excessive or continuous baby crying is often what causes parents to shake their baby, a case of child abuse that has been called shaken baby syndrome. The child cries, the parent is destitute, he shakes the baby to silence him... leading to the displacement of the brain, in the cranial box, causing haemorrhages and multiple lesions.
Don't get overwhelmed by a crying baby. If you feel that you are breaking down, that you can't take it anymore, ask for help, turn to relatives or a health professional who can help you.