Understanding your baby's cryingShare
Crying in the first 6 months
Your baby is born ready to cry when they are lonely, afraid, hungry, hot, cold, angry or confused. This is normal. Your baby needs your support and attention to feel secure and anytime your baby needs you to help them they will cry for you.
The crying may only stop when you do something to help them, like cuddling your baby, saying gentle words, rocking, patting and providing them with all the love they need to calm down.
This is important to remember because the quicker you attend to your baby’s needs in their first 6 months of life, the happier they will be and the less they will cry later on.
Some people will tell you that you are spoiling and teaching your baby bad habits if you always go to your baby when they cry. This is something people used to believe but now we know it isn’t true.
“I like knowing she needs me, it gives me a sense of love. To make her feel better and comfort her makes me happy.”
Baby won’t stop crying
Babies can cry a lot and it can be hard to know what to do. Some mums can identify what each cry means, and other mums can’t. This is okay and normal, and it doesn’t make you a bad mum if you don’t know what your baby needs straight away.
If your baby is crying it might be because they:
- need something to eat or drink
- are hot or cold
- are tired or excited
- want you to comfort them
They might even just have a dirty nappy! This seems obvious but can totally skip your mind sometimes. If you can’t work out why your baby is crying and they won’t go to sleep there’s a few things you can try:
- cuddling, rocking or singing
- walking in the pram
- playing some music
- giving them their dummy
- wrapping baby in a light cotton sheet/wrap
If you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s okay to put your baby down for a minute or give them to someone else to hold. This doesn’t make you a bad mum. Your baby can feel when you’re upset, and a quick break for both of you might help them settle.
Be patient. It takes practice. Remember, you know your baby best, so do whatever works. As long as it’s safe. If all else fails, get your baby up and try again later.
It can sometimes be really frustrating if you have a baby that cries a lot. Every baby is different, and if your baby does cry lots or you’re not sure what to do it’s okay to ask for help so it doesn’t get too hard.
“Parents do stress when the baby starts crying and then the baby won’t settle. I know that’s normal now, and I give him (the baby) to my mum when I need a quick break. It’s definitely got a lot easier.”