There is a fabulous website about the crying baby – covering things like what to check for, what to do, how to cope and so on. To go there, click on this link: http://copingwithcrying.org.uk
Our guide below is designed to help you identify whether your baby is crying because he/she is ill, or to offer advice on how to comfort your baby if his/her crying is normal. This advice is for babies aged 0-12 months. Before going through the questions in this self-help guide, see How can I tell if my baby is ill?. Some questions in this self-help guide are designed to eliminate the possibility of more serious medical problems.
If your baby ….
- is finding it difficult to breathe,
- is making a grunting noise with each breath,
- is turning blue or pale around the fingernails, toes or lips,
- is completely floppy, like a rag doll, or
- is crying with a high-pitched cry that is completely different from normal
- develops a new rash (and especially if the rash has tiny red or brownish pin prick marks that do not fade when you press a glass tumbler or finger against them, or pin prick marks that are changing into purple blotches or blisters). It can be difficult to see this type of rash on dark skin. Check the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the roof of the mouth.
CALL 111 OR SEE YOUR EMERGENCY GP IF
- You baby has had a blow, injury or burn (including sunburn) to any part of his/her body?
- Your baby has projectile vomiting. Projectile vomiting is when a baby brings up the contents of their stomach with such force that the vomit covers a distance of several feet.
- Your baby has a fever (a high temperature that is over 38C or 100F), or is he/she flushed, hot and sweaty.
IF NONE OF THE ABOVE APPLY…
The first thing to check is whether your baby needs a nappy change, or whether they are hungry or thirsty. Try offering your baby a feed or a drink of water. Make sure you boil and then cool any water you give your baby, including bottled water.
Next, try reassuring and comforting your baby. All babies are different, but you may find the following suggestions helpful:
- Burp your baby to relieve any trapped wind. One way to burp your baby is to place him/her upright against your shoulder and gently pat or rub his/her back.
- Some babies enjoy feeling snug and secure. Try wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket or putting him/her in a baby sling.
- Gently and rhythmically stroke your baby’s head, or pat their back or chest.
- Movement can be soothing to some babies. Rock your baby in your arms, or in a pram or pushchair.
- Try going out for a walk in the fresh air with your baby in your arms, or in a pram or pushchair.
- Play soft music, or sing or talk gently to your baby.
- Background noise from a television, washing machine, clothes dryer or vacuum cleaner can help soothe some babies.
- You may be able to soothe the child by taking them for a ride in their buggy or for a car journey.
- Your baby may cry if bored – make sure your baby has a selection of interesting toys within reach.
But remember, you know your baby better than anyone else. If the baby’s crying does not settle, seems unusal or seems ill, please call111 or see your emergency GP.
If your baby is crying whilst feeding on a bottle:
- The teat home may be too small. Try a large teat hole. Alternatively, the baby may have a blocked nose and cannot breathe properly while feeding. Ask your health visitor for advice.
Your baby may have colic
- No one knows the cause of Colic. It is not due to bad parenting but parents often feel they must be doing something wrong. Gentle soothing and rocking may help your baby relax and settle down. Once the baby has stopped crying and is drowsy, put the baby down to sleep. If your baby starts crying again, leave them for 10-15 minutes before trying soothing again. Although crying can be reduced, it is much easier to cope with it if it can be shared. Even if you can’t get someone to help you at home, try to talk about your feelings with them. Your doctor, practice nurse or health visitor will understand how hard it can be to deal with a crying baby who is otherwise healthy and well.
Coping with a crying baby
Coping with a crying baby can be very stressful.
- If possible, find someone you trust who can take turns soothing your baby with you. Use any time away from your baby to relax and look after yourself.
- Try not to become tense, as your baby may sense this and it may make things worse.
- If your baby’s crying is really upsetting you, put them in a safe place (such as a cot or pram) and leave the room for a few minutes to calm down. Never, ever shake or hit your baby.
- Make sure you rest when your baby is settled, so that you have the energy to give your baby the love and attention they need.
- Try to keep things in perspective – try not to worry if everyday things like washing up or laundry are not getting done.
- Joining a parent and baby group can provide support and advice. You’ll be able to share your feelings and discuss ways of coping with crying with other parents.
Remember that crying is your baby’s way of communicating and that things will get better in time. Crying itself won’t actually hurt your baby and as long as you are attending to your baby’s needs and giving him/her your love, you are doing all you can. If you are finding it difficult to cope, talk to your health visitor or GP, or call NHS 24 on 08454 242424 now for immediate help and advice.