Crying and colic

Crying and colic

Understanding why

All babies cry, especially in the first few weeks after birth. Crying is their way of letting you know they need something or are uncomfortable. They may need changing, they may be hungry or just need a cuddle. Whether you are bottle feeding or breastfeeding, always burp your baby after a feed as this will help. To burp your baby, sit your baby upright or hold them against your shoulder and gently rub their back and tummy until they burp. They may vomit a small amount of milk when you do this.

Early signs that your baby may be hungry are things like putting their hands to their mouth, becoming restless and stretching. By recognising these cues you may avoid hunger crying altogether and the need to calm baby down before a feed. Your baby may be crying because they need a cuddle and want to be close to you.

If you feel you can’t cope with your baby’s crying, make sure baby is safe - like in a cot or pram, leave the room and calm down for a few minutes. It can help to talk to other parents and your health visitor. If your baby’s cry seems unusual, for example high pitched or a whimper, call 111 or speak to your health visitor. Crying can sometimes be a sign that your baby is unwell.

If your baby cries suddenly and often, but they otherwise appear to be happy and healthy, they may have colic. Colic is common and although uncomfortable it is not serious and usually affects babies only in the first few months of their lives and improves on its own. The most common symptom of colic is continuous crying, which typically occurs in the late afternoon or evening. Other signs include a flushed appearance, drawing their legs to their chest, clenching fists, passing wind and trouble sleeping. Your local pharmacist may be able to supply over-the-counter medicine to help relieve pain from colic which may be caused by swallowing air (trapped gas).

Health visitor says

Babies who are colicky often cry, bring their knees up towards their tummy and are difficult to settle lying down.

To soothe your baby between or after feeds, there is a range of different things you can do. All babies are different and respond to different techniques.

A crying baby is often comforted by being carried on your shoulder with support for their back or carried across your forearm along their tummy.

Your baby may also respond well to being carried in either a sling or papoose. This will allow you to walk around safely whilst keeping your baby close and comfortable. Pushing your baby in a pram or buggy can also help.

Baby Massage techniques for colic and warm baths may also help to soothe babies who are upset between feeds.

Source: iHV 2016 parent tips

Finding out why

You will know your baby best of all. Try to understand what it is they need. Finding out why your baby is crying is often a matter of going through all the possible options.

Things to check first are:

  • Does their nappy need changing?

  • Could they be hungry?

  • Could they be too hot?

  • Could they be too cold?

  • Do they need burping?

These are simple things which could be causing your baby to cry