Crying is the newborn baby’s chief method of communicating with whoever will listen to her in this big new world. All babies will cry. She may be crying because she is hungry or thirsty or have a wet nappy she will even cry when she is tired and grumpy. In the first few months it is important to respond quickly, keeping calm and reassuring. Don’t do anything to make it difficult for the baby, but respond in a way that shows that you are there to meet her needs. A quick response shows the baby that her communication was successful, and that her needs will be met. This will lead to a baby that only cries when she needs something, is able to trust that she will be looked after and ultimately is more likely to develop good communication skills. Make sure your response does not give messages of anger, frustration and tension. This will be picked up by baby, and she will respond the only way she knows how…by crying! So it has the potential to be a downward spiral, of an inexperienced parent getting angry because the baby keeps crying, and the baby sensing the anger crying in response to the uncomfortable messages she is receiving. But you, as the adult, must put a stop to it. You are the one to demonstrate calm reassuring behavior, responding to baby’s needs, enquiring into the manner and cause of her distress, ruling each option out, and trying all the tricks up your sleeve to settle baby. Often it is without cause and completely irrational. But baby’s basic instinct is to tell you something is wrong, so you need to be able to deal with it.
Being held and cuddled by mum or dad is the most settling place in the whole world for baby. While you check out the possible causes (sleep, thirst, change nappy, tired), you might try some gentle rocking in a rocking chair. Walking around the room can be reassuring and remind her of the rocking motion inside mum’s tummy several months ago. You will soon discover if she is an ‘upright baby’, or prefers to lie back, or her tummy or on her back. Gentle swinging may be soothing, or a walk in the stroller. Going outside for some fresh air often is settling, as is going for a drive in the car, strapped into her capsule or carseat. Quiet soothing music may also assist in calming, perhaps some lavender or other scent. Might be time try a pacifier. One of the most soothing things you can do is calmly and quietly talk to her, or sing to her. Find out what is the cause of her distress, and respond so if she is hungry giver her a feed or make a bottle. If she needs her nappy changed then change it. If she is just tired and grumpy, then the soothing calming process is essential, and the tips for getting baby to sleep come into play.