Babies and Crying

Check for the reason a baby might be crying.  Use the following order:

Safe-is the baby caught in twisted sleepers or crib bumper? Is he or she feverish?  Of course, the first thing we need to do is make sure the baby is safe and healthy.

Clean and fed-does the baby’s diaper need to be changed, or does he or she need to be nursed?  Babies up to 10 pounds often have to be fed every 2.5-3 hours around the clock.

Add stimulation-babies need to play during the day.  Take them for a walk and show them leaves. While holding them, show them patterns on fabric, tell them about the family dog, tell them what you are doing as you go through the day.  Rock or swing them gently, gently clap their hands or feet together. Read to them: baby board books or the newspaper.  A bored baby will cry, asking for attention.

Need reduced stimulation-babies can get overstimulated.  If you have checked the list above but your baby is still crying, he or she could have become overstimulated by too many people, too much noise or too much movement.  He or she could need to be swaddled, quietly held, or placed securely in the crib and allowed to “cry  it off”.  In other words, to cry off the tension, since they don’t yet have words to tell you what they need.

Key idea: Be calm systematic about deciding how to react to your baby’s crying in order to be more responsive to the baby’s needs and reduce your frustration as well.


Melody Matthews Lowman, M.A. has a background in both psychology and education. Her biopsychosocial approach allows her to be a resource for behavioral and educational problem solving for children, teens and adults.
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