Sometimes a baby cries because he's hungry or uncomfortable. It may be something as simple as lying on an uncomfortable crease in his cot bedding, or being wet. He may have had a bad dream or just needed to see your face. He may even be telling you he wants to go to sleep and doesn't want to be passed from pillar to post! Whatever the reason, here are a few tried and tested ways to soothe baby.
Day Time Crying
At three months of age many babies cry for between two and three hours in a day. It seems a lot when it comes all in one go but it will lessen as your baby gets used to the world. Consider the following helpful tips for coping with day time crying.
- Carry your baby with you from room to room as much as possible. Babies like to be close to you so have him in a baby sling or carrier and talk soothingly as you move around the house.
- Put the baby in the car and have a drive. Many babies love the motion of a car.
- Ask a friend to come to give you a breather. A mum can get very stressed when she hears her baby crying incessantly. A friend doesn't have the same emotional attachment and can care for your baby while you have a coffee or a walk round the block.
- If you feel at the end of your tether and there is no-one to help out, put the baby in his cot and leave the room for 10 minutes. Your baby will not come to any harm in this time and you are not to blame. Try to calm down and take some deep breaths. When you feel better, go back to your baby. He will feel better if you feel better.
Night Time Crying
Repeated sleepless or broken nights are one of the biggest sources of stress for parents of young children. Many babies and toddlers sleep less than the accepted norm, but as long as they are happy during their waking hours and do not seem unwell; they do not need medical attention. There are several things you can do to try to improve sleep problems:
- Try to introduce a regular bedtime routine, something like bath, story, cuddle, sleep. Using the same routine every night will encourage your child to settle down more readily.
- Don’t rush in if you hear your child stir in the night. Children tend to wake more frequently than adults anyway, and will often cry out, roll over and go back to sleep again. If you rush in, put the lights on and check that your child is all right, then he or she will almost certainly wake completely.
- Do not use cough medicines or antihistamines as sedatives. They do not work, are potentially dangerous and will leave your child miserable the next day.
- Don’t feel guilty if your child has a sleep problem. There is no evidence that parents cause children to wake.
As time goes by, you will learn to recognise many of your baby’s cries and you will get to know which cries are 'out of character' and may signify that there is something wrong – such as illness or fear.
Never hesitate to consult your health visitor or doctor if you are unable to calm your baby once you have addressed all the usual concerns such as hunger or changing his nappy.