My Newborn is crying, what to check first
Being a new mom (or dad) is a beautiful and rewarding experience, but it can also be frustrating at times—especially when your little one is wailing and you’re not sure why. If you’ve checked off all of the typical reasons for infant angst (such as hunger, wet diaper, fatigue), and you still can’t seem to soothe your baby, then you may need to consider some alternative reasons for your child’s incessant crying. Here are some things to check before you resort to calling the pediatrician:
Ensure that your little one is not too cold or too warm. Try dressing him in warmer or lighter clothes, depending on the season, as well as the temperature in the house. Wrap or unwrap blankets if necessary.
We’ve been conditioned to think that newborns need constant stimulation for their cognitive and social development, and parents are quick to purchase intriguing toys with complex patterns, classical “baby” music, and all manner of other items ensuring that their baby has an environment conducive to proper growth; this is not a bad thing by any means, but remember that, like you or any other human being, your baby also needs periods of rest and calm. When babies become over-stimulated, they will let you know it the only way they know how—by screaming! Put the toys away, turn off the mobile and the music, and see if your baby becomes calmer as a result.
You know to check if your baby is hungry when she cries, but did you also know that, sometimes, crying babies are feeling gassy and need to be burped (or re-burped). Other times, a breastfeeding baby may be responding to a certain type of food mom ate, or a new medication affecting the breast milk. Moreover, bottle-fed babies don’t always respond well to certain types of formula. These are all things to consider if your baby’s crying tends to coincide with feeding time.
Just like big people, infants can sometimes become irritated by clothing, and some are more sensitive than others. Check for a tag that might be irritating her skin, or if the enclosed feet on her outfit are restricting, or otherwise bothering, her toes. It might be a good idea to take all of her clothes off and put on another (preferably soft and non-scratchy outfit). If this alleviates her discomfort, then the problem is solved!
A crying baby who just can’t be soothed can be a giant source of stress and frustration for his parents. It’s almost unbearable to want nothing more than to provide your baby with the love and comfort he needs to feel at ease, but to simultaneously feel completely helpless as to where to begin. Remember that all babies cry at times and sometimes there seems to be no apparent reason at all. It certainly doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent! If you’ve tried all of the techniques above, as well as every other strategy you can think of to quiet your baby, and the crying persists, it might be time to call the doctor. There may be an underlying medical problem that is causing your little one real discomfort. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry; and, after all, it won’t be the first time your pediatrician has received a call from an overwhelmed and exasperated new parent!