Why Babies Cry and How to Calm Them
We all love a good cry sometimes. It’s a helpful release. But what could a brand-new human have to cry about? Well, basically everything. Babies cry. A lot. It’s a thing, and it’s totally normal. Your baby won’t be able to talk for several months, so in the meantime, they’ll cry when they need something, want something, are cranky or are simply bored. Although it can be hard to hear (literally and emotionally), there’s a lot you can do to calm your fussy baby.
Sometimes it’ll be easy to discover why your baby is crying, but other times you’ll have to do a bit of detective work to figure it out. Do you smell a rather telling scent in the air? Do their eyes look a bit red? How many hours ago was that last feeding? What *kind* of cry is it? As you and your littlest buddy get to know each other, you’ll start picking up the clues and understanding some of the more common reasons babies cry.
Most Common Translations for a Baby’s Cry
- “I’m hungry.” Everyone gets a little hangry sometimes, and most newborns need to eat every few hours. Check for signs of hunger, like hand-to-mouth movements and lip smacking.
- “I’m wet.” Frequent diaper changes help keep little bottoms clean and dry.
- “I’m tired.” Being a new human is exhausting, so newborns need a lot of sleep.
- “I’m lonely.” A hug and a nice pat on the back are comforting pick-me-ups, even for babies. *Snuggle session commencing immediately.*
- “I’m bored/want to move.” A change of scenery or some playtime with activity toys can work wonders.
(Source: Mayo Clinic)
They’re Still Crying. What Now?
Don’t worry, let’s talk soothing strategies. It’s important to take a moment and put yourself in your baby’s teeny-tiny, adorable shoes.
Before they were born, your baby lived in a warm, cozy (and kinda snug) place where they experienced almost constant gentle motions, white noise and other sounds they didn’t recognize yet, like the rhythmic beating of a heart and the ebb and flow of steady breathing.
Now that they’re out in the great, big world where everything is new and a bit overwhelming, you’ll discover your baby will find comfort in some of those same experiences they had in the “before place.”
- Gentle motion. Rocking and bouncing your baby can help comfort and calm them down.
- Soft music or white noise. Blocking out the busy noise of the world helps your newborn settle and calm down. If you’re not a fan of singing for a tiny cranky audience, try a sound machine soother. You can choose whatever sounds work best for your baby, whether it’s lullabies, nature sounds or other soothing sound effects, like white noise.
- Vibrations. Gentle vibrations also remind your baby of that place with the constant motion. Plus, they feel soooo nice.
- Hearing or feeling another’s breathing. A good snuggle session where your baby can feel and hear your steady breathing and heartbeat is not only super comforting for them, but it helps build that special connection between you two.
- Calming distractions. Giving your baby something to focus on, like soft lights, a mirror, or slowly spinning animal pals on an overhead mobile, can help when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Sucking and chewing. Sucking is a natural way for babies to self-soothe. A handy pacifier can help with that. And if your baby is starting to get their chompers, which would make anyone cranky, teething toys can give them something to chew (other than your fingers).
Set to Soothe
Soothing products are a great and easy way to provide all those comforting motions, vibrations, music or sounds that your little one loves. And there are many different styles to choose from, so you can find the soothing setting that calms your baby down best.
A sound machine that can fasten to the side of a crib, like the Settle & Sleep Project Soother, is great for settling newborns before bed or nap time. The calming combo of lights and sounds turns their crib into a relaxation oasis.
Settle & Sleep™ Projection Soother
- 30 minutes of music or sounds helps your baby relax and fall asleep
- Adorable animals bob, swing, and peek out to engage you little one's senses
- Starlight projection and glowing lights
Calming Cuddle Buddies
Plush pals with soothing features are perfect for comforting your baby during the day, at home or on the go. Some sweet soothers, like the Calming Vibes Hedgehog and Soothe ‘n Snuggle Otter, also have gentle motion that can help calm your little snuggler.
Calming Vibes Hedgehog Soother
- This huggable hedgehog has calming vibrations that are oh-so-soothing for your baby
- 10 minutes of gentle sounds and music, plus 4 different settings to customize the combo of sounds and vibes
- Easy to take along for soothing in the car, at grandmas' house, or anywhere else you go
Soothe 'n Snuggle Otter
- Rhythmic motion mimics breathing to help soothe you baby naturally
- Warm glow and 30 minutes of music & sounds for extra calming comfort
- Soft, fuzzy fabrics and satiny tail are great sensory discoveries for your baby.
Being a new human is an exciting and kind of overwhelming experience. But so is being a new parent, so you and your baby are in good company! It might take a little while to figure out what all those little signals and cries mean, and which soothing strategy will work best for your baby. But take heart, stay calm, and soothe on.