These three cues can help you figure out why your baby might be crying so you can respond appropriately and help soothe your baby.
When it comes to eating and crying, Tracy Hogg lists some good assessments for figuring out why baby is crying. It is found on page 109 in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.
Sometimes your baby cries at certain times of day. If your baby is crying at these times, consider these reasons for the crying.
- Before Feeds: Baby might be hungry
- After Feeds: It might be gas or reflux
- Same Time Each Day: Colic or witching hour (witching hour is my addition)
- Erratic and Random: Might be personality
Sometimes babies show physical reactions with their crying. If your baby has these physical reactions, they might be clues as to why your baby is crying.
- Pulls Feet To Chest: Likely gas
- Rigid and Arches Back: Reflux or overstimulation (Read How To Calm Your Overstimulated Baby for what to do there)
If you think your baby might be uncomfortable, these things might help soothe your upset baby.
- Burping: Gas
- Bicycling Legs: Gas
- Sitting Upright: Reflux
- Motion or White Noise: Colic or witching hour (witching hour is my addition)
Read: Babywise and Reflux
Once you have a guess as to the reason for the crying, you can try to help ease the discomfort and reason for crying. If it is colic, there might be little you can do, but at least you would know it is nothing you are doing “wrong.”
In Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. Hogg points out that a routine helps you to get to know your baby’s cries (page 269).
I remember when Brayden was a baby before I started Babywise. I had read that you would get to know your baby’s cries. Well, it wasn’t coming.
Once I started a routine, I really started to recognize cries and cues. You have fewer things to work with when you are on a routine. Is it close to naptime? Perhaps the cries are because baby is tired. Has baby been playing with a toy for the last 15 minutes? Perhaps cries are out of boredom or overstimulation.
These things can all contribute to your baby crying. Go through the list and try different things and see what helps.
Also, remember that as a baby is crying, time feels like it is going by longer than it is. I know that listening to your baby cry is disheartening. It seems like forever. But 15 minutes going by without baby crying seems much faster than it does with baby crying.