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A Baby Crying: What Should You Do Differently?

I haven’t met a mother yet who wasn’t at one point completely frazzled from trying to figure out how to get her baby to stop crying.  Motherhood is a like a special travel destination, one that has been on the travel books for years before the planning even begins. Your child is a soft, warm bundle of breath and joy, full of fanfare and music–music the baby can’t really read yet. So it is natural, as children and their parents never see eye to eye on taste in music, that the baby’s crying/singing will eventually grate your nerves.

A Baby’s Cries: What Should You Do Differently?

I haven’t met a mother yet who wasn’t at one point completely frazzled from trying to figure out how to get her baby to stop crying.  Motherhood is a like a special travel destination, one that has been on the travel books for years before the planning even begins. Your child is a soft, warm bundle of breath and joy, full of fanfare and music–music the baby can’t really read yet. So it is natural, as children and their parents never see eye to eye on taste in music, that the baby’s crying/singing will eventually grate your nerves.

So many people have different methods and swear by certain actions on how to get a baby or toddler to stop crying. As a mother, I’ve found some things will work for my kids and others won’t, and sometimes they will but not all the time. What you need to do differently, in order to get a baby to stop crying, is to start with your own attitude. You can’t take care of the baby if you are having a hard time controlling yourself. Mothers are hypersensitive, likely somewhat sleep-deprived, and emotionally struggling to feel confident, beautiful, and lovable. A baby crying can easily upset any calm façade a mother will employ.

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I think a lot of mothers skip this step, because it was one I had to learn on my own (once you get pregnant, everyone you know tells you what to do and even strangers feel compelled to give you advice.) Since learning it, I cannot express the importance of it enough. Once you’ve given yourself a moment to breathe, think properly, and plan ahead, you can more easily assimilate yourself into the kind of mother your baby or toddler needs in order to stop crying.

I think it is especially frightening when the crying baby is a newborn. When the baby comes, it is just so small and fragile. You feel so big and strong and scary. All the hormones are leaving your body, but they still want to scare you and sadden you as much as possible on the way out, and a newborn baby crying will send your body into “alert mode” at the least provocation. I remember when I had my daughter, I heard her crying and, in addition to the rush of milk running down my front, I also had adrenaline spiking my blood. Even now, about six months later, when she cries, I still feel a slight hesitation, like I’ve done something wrong by letting her cry in the first place. That’s where I have to check my own attitude, make my plans, and set about following the path I’ve focused my mind on pursuing. I’ve found it is important to do this, because if you don’t have a plan for how to handle yourself while you are trying to get your child to stop crying, it can easy escalate into you crying. Mentally prepping yourself can really help out when it comes to dealing with your emotions, especially if you get increasingly frustrated by your child’s crying.

One of the first things I learned as a new mother with my son, who is a toddler now, was to listen for the different types of sounds the baby makes when she cries. A baby will quickly learn to differentiate his or her cries to match what they want. I was relieved to find this out, because that meant I could figure out what my baby wanted, and I could probably learn to do it quickly enough I could get my baby to stop crying in a matter of mere minutes.

Another thing I learned pretty quickly is how disappointing my own expectations were in preparing me for motherhood; while I still like to try to learn new tricks, I’ve found trial and error will work better, more often than not. Still, I have my checklist, and I start with the innate needs, and work out to the most frivolous needs.

Everybody needs food. When my baby cries, the first thing I check for is if she is hungry. Food has a funny way of making all of us happy. Whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed (either way, both have their perks), getting some food into the baby is a great way to see if they are hungry. You can also feel their stomach to see if their tummy is ‘empty’ by taking two fingers and gently massaging the stomach area in a circular motion. If the stomach area feels harder as you gently push downward, it means the stomach is full (This also helps let you know if the baby has a bowel movement coming.) If it is softer and more pliant, your baby’s stomach is empty.

A Baby’s Cries: What Should You Do Differently?

The next thing is sleep. Babies aren’t always so willing to just go to sleep of course, so they have to be tricked into going to sleep. Depending on your baby, that could mean a lot of things. For my son, when we got his sonogram, we saw that he had his hand in his mouth, so if he had trouble sleeping, I got him a pacifier. For my daughter, she would go to sleep when I was walking, so I usually hand her off to my husband to cradle her and walk her around until she relaxes enough to sleep.

I think this is where most parents use Google for ideas, when they are stuck wondering how to get a baby to stop crying and go to sleep. Both my husband’s parents and my own said a great way to get babies to go to sleep was to put them in the car seat and go for a drive. When I am out running errands now, I can see this is true; my baby girl, whether she is crying or not, will eventually stop crying and go to sleep if I am driving around. Rocking is always a favorite; walking them around is a similar one. I’ve tried singing and swaying at different volumes and speeds; I’ve often handed the babies off to their daddy, because he’s got stronger arms and doesn’t smell like breastmilk, and he’ll put them to sleep. I’ve used pacifiers and blankets and teddy bears. I’ve lain down next to them, and I’ve let them lay on me as I cuddle with them. I’ve elevated beds and used a bed massager. I have also turned on music and twinkling lights, and most of my electric bill after my son was born was for his swing. All of these are great tricks to see if you can get them to work; very few of these on my list have consistently worked in putting my kids to sleep. More often than not, the kids have just wanted me around; those are the methods which have worked the best for me.

I was a lucky mom in this area; my daughter’s sleeping habits have not changed much since she was a newborn to when she was an infant.

If it is not food or sleep, I go onto the next critical need for babies: excrement. Behold, the diaper. Sometimes I can smell it first, and it slaps my nose around to make sure I jump ahead on the checklist. But if I can’t smell it, checking the diaper is usually third on my list. Change diaper, check temperament, and see if crying will stop. That’s step three.

baby crying

From newborn to infant, food, sleep, and diapers pretty much top the list. But there are more specific cries that happen as time goes on. My daughter will cry for me, or she will cry for my husband now. She will cry if she wants to move, or if she is bored. She will also cry if she can’t reach something, since she is beginning to try crawling and she isn’t entirely enchanted with the idea. Noticing this is a complement to the first rule. Check yourself first, and then check your baby. As a mother, you know what your baby needs better than anyone else (usually) and if you don’t know what they need, you’re the one with the most incentive in the world to learn, and you are willing to do so.

This skill, this inborn idea of wanting to meet our kids’ needs, can be subtle. But I really see it now, with two kids. When my daughter cries, I know what she wants, and when my son cried when he was her age, I knew what he wanted. They aren’t so different, but they are different enough I easily know the differences. If you know your child, after so much time, what they want when they are crying becomes second nature to you.

My son is just over a year and a half older than my daughter. When my son is crying, and I have a crying toddler on my hands rather than a crying baby, I have to approach the situation differently.  After all, my son is pretty good about not crying for food anymore, which he really shouldn’t anyway since he is more than capable of getting his own food on his own (I woke up one morning after buying a bunch of bananas the previous night to see he’d pulled at least two of them out of their peels when I wasn’t looking), but when he is tired, he starts to get more grumpy and more likely to cry. Since he is two, he has figured out he doesn’t like to sleep at naptime, so naptime is a battlefield imperative. I live for the days when I am driving to Grandma’s house and he falls asleep in the car.

But when he wakes up in the middle of the night, things have to happen differently. He sleeps in his own big boy bed in his own room, so when he wakes up at night, he’ll often cry because I am not there with him. I was never a light sleeper until I had kids. I’ve found if I wake up right as he begins to cry, I’ll have a much easier time putting him back down. This usually translates into me getting him some teething tablets (I use the homeopathic ones for him and his sister), re-tucking him in his covers with his favorite blanket, and sitting with him for a moment to make sure his sleep resumes. If he has been crying longer by the time I’ve reached him, he will need much more before he goes back to sleep. When he cries like this, it is always louder and more emotionally charging for me; I feel like he woke up from a nightmare, so I will pick him up, rock him on my lap, cuddle up with him and snuggle until he falls back asleep, or pulling him into my bed so he won’t cry anymore.

In the event you have done all you can, and your baby is still crying, you need to revert back to the first item on our checklist here. You need to take care of yourself. I know plenty of mothers who have had all sorts of trouble with crying babies, but we had to learn, at that point, to take a moment for ourselves. Step out of the room, take a bathroom break (I always liked doing this one because it felt less like I was avoiding my kids when they were crying), and try to keep calm. When you are tired, stressed, and emotionally frazzled, you need to recollect yourself. So many parents will say that giving birth was the easy part, and I will only argue with them there if a guy said it.

Conclusion

Your baby will have beautiful eyes, regardless of their color. While many parents long for a specific color or shade, your child will easily wear his or her eyes and make them fit his or her own style. From nine months to a year after they are born, our babies have a lot of changing that is going on inside of them and around them. During this time, we can eagerly wait for those changes and record them as they grow, and this includes the changing of the irises to their final colors. Some babies may require more time for their eyes to finish changing—with some changing after two or even three years—but it is not likely that the main colors of their eyes will change after the one-year mark. The best way to guess your baby’s final colors is to take a good look at the biological make-up of the grandparents from both parents, and then to compare them to the parents and others in the family tree. If you are not sure of the health or state of your baby’s eyes, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your baby’s regular doctor. Your baby’s pediatrician can easily check for other areas of concern that might be affecting the baby’s eyes, such as jaundice, and have your doctor recommend an eye doctor or specialist depending on what they find.

Please write your thoughts and comments in the comments section below.

1 thought on “A Baby Crying: What Should You Do Differently?

  1. thank you for this information, i have a small baby and i can tell when she cries for attention and when she is sleepy

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