Has your baby been crying all night, fussing, and you just can’t seem to soothe them and put them to sleep? Welcome to parenthood. This is the first of many taxing tasks to come.
Dealing with a cranky baby can be extremely frustrating, but it is important to understand that this is one of the very few ways for your baby to communicate that they need you.
Your baby is not being cranky or testy for no reason. There is always something that is upsetting to them, which you, as a parent, need to figure out and fix for them. So if your baby has been fussy or crying throughout the day, it’s a big sign that you need to attend to them.
Take a look at some of the major reasons why your baby is cranky so that you can find the appropriate ways to soothe them.
If your baby has been crying inconsolably for more than 3 hours at a stretch, at least three times a week, they are probably suffering from colic. If you want to make certain and determine whether your baby has colic, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Your baby stretches its limbs to their maximum limit.
- Your baby’s face turns red in patches.
- It feels like they are in a lot of pain and agony.
- Intense crying to the point of screaming.
- Excessive passing of gas.
- Your baby will probably refuse to eat or drink.
The condition of colic can start from a small fussing that can quickly escalate into excessive crying. There hasn’t been any definite contention on why colic occurs. But experts believe that, all things considered, a problematic digestive tract can be a significant factor.
Babies start teething typically at the age of four to six months old. We don’t want to scare you, but it is a miserable time for your kids. Teeth are emerging out of your child’s gums, so it is natural for them to have bouts of crying due to discomfort.
Babies tend to get restless because of all the pain that ensues. Their gums can undergo mild swelling because of which they may refuse to eat or drink anything. Your baby will seem constantly irritable, can catch a fever, and go nights without proper sleep.
Overstimulation can cause your kid to be fatigued. If your baby’s brain is overstimulated, the exertion can make them cry. Besides excessive crying, if you observe your child has suddenly become more demanding, hyperactive, and furious, it is a cue for you to understand that they are tired.
If you see your baby closing their fists, constantly moving their arm to and fro, or catch them staring into space, it is time for you to close the curtains, put their toys away, and put your baby down for a nap.
One of the biggest reasons your baby is crying or is being cranky is that they are hungry. You might find them putting their fists or any object that comes within their reach in their mouth.
Babies tend to cry more in the night due to hunger as opposed to the daytime. It is always advised to keep a bottle of milk ready to feed them and make them settle in for sleep.
It is also a good idea to watch out for signs, such as fussing or lip-smacking, that your baby is hungry and feed them before they reach the crying stage.
Believe it or not, it is possible for your baby to have a crying session because they are irritable, stressed, or anxious. When babies do not feel physically comfortable, they tend to get cranky.
If your kid requires a diaper change, hasn’t slept properly, is feeling too hot or too cold, or just needs you to notice them, they will act irritable. Because they are unable to communicate their needs with words, they find crying and getting cranky as the best mode to get your attention. There may also be underlying health issues like persistent abdominal pain, infection, or irregular bowel movements that you should get checked out by a doctor.
Is It Normal For a Baby to Be Cranky?
As upsetting or unsettling as it may seem, babies get cranky quite often. Babies’ emotions are not as developed as an adult’s, and crying or being cranky is the best way for them to get you to pay attention to them.
Discomfort, loneliness, hunger, sleeplessness, tiredness — there are so many reasons for your baby to get cranky. Your baby’s nervous system is also still in its developing stages, so something minuscule also has the capability to make them upset.
Always take your baby’s crying and crankiness as a sign from them, telling you that they need you. They need you to cuddle with them, love them, and give them all the attention you can.
How to Soothe a Cranky Baby
Depending on the severity of the situation and how cranky and fussy your baby actually is, there are a number of different methods you can try to soothe your baby.
A cranky baby is never content. They are either crying or refusing to eat or drink something. Snuggling, rocking their crib, wrapping them in your arms, and taking a slow walk around the house — these are just some of the commonly employed techniques to comfort and soothe them.
So if you’re struggling to soothe your cranky baby, here are few easy and practical ways on how to soothe your baby during a crying crisis:
Swaddle Your Baby
To swaddle your baby, you can use a soft blanket like fleece to wrap your baby securely; think of them like a burrito held in your hand. When you swaddle your baby, they feel like they are in a place of comfort and warmth. This feeling of being in a secure environment can help them to comfortably relax and go off to sleep.
Hold Your Baby
When you hold your baby close to yourself, you create a sense of warmth for them. The closer you are to your baby, the more likely it is for them to stop crying. Try carrying your baby in a soft carrier like a wrap or a sling so that they are in constant touch with you. You can also lay them on your chest or across your lap and give them a gentle back rub.
You could also try swaying or rocking your baby in your arms or sit in a rocking chair. The soothing and rhythmic motion can help your baby calm down.
Turn On Relaxing Sounds
Relaxing sounds can have a positive impact on your child’s brain. The calmer and softer the sound is, the greater the chances your baby will feel relaxed and at peace. Some of the most commonly recommended sounds for babies are:
- The sound of the ocean
- The sound of the wind blowing
- Soothing music like piano
- Recording of heartbeat
- White noise
These are some of the sounds that are known to calm babies.
Give a Massage
A nurturing massage or a tummy rub is a great way to relax your baby and put them at ease. Use unscented oils or creams that are specially formulated for babies to avoid any reactions on their skin.
Make sure you massage your baby gently and slowly in a clockwise direction. But if your baby starts crying during a massage, it’s time to stop. You can then switch to holding or cuddling them.
Sing a Song
Trying to find a way to get all your baby’s attention and make them feel more connected to you? Sing them a song. If you can, write a song especially for them and sing it to them every day so that they can cherish it for the rest of their lives.
A classic lullaby is another great option. When your baby will listen to the comforting voice of someone they are attached to, they will automatically feel at ease. It will help them feel a sense of warmth and comfort.
Babies have a natural urge to suck on something and to put something in their mouths. Kids above the age of 6 months tend to suck on their thumbs when they are hungry, tired, or restless. When they are cranky and fussy, you can encourage them to suck on a pacifier or their thumbs. It may make them feel calm and help them fall asleep quickly.
However, prolonged thumb-sucking can have adverse effects on the child’s health, and should thus only be encouraged in moderation and till a certain age.
Dim the Lights
It is vital to establish a proper sleeping schedule and routine for the baby right from the start. When you think it is time for your kid to sleep, close the curtains, dim the lights, and create an ideal environment for your baby to doze off.
Just as it is normal for babies to cry, it is also normal for new parents to get worked up because of it. But what is important here is to identify why your kid is being cranky, attend to them, give them the love and attention they need.
Dealing with a cranky baby can feel overwhelming, but with the right tools, you will be able to soothe your baby in no time!