In our series of ‘New Dads’ posts we delve into some of the most popular things men think about, or want to know more about when becoming a dad. From changing nappies to feeding we have tried to provide some support for men to feel more comfortable navigating parenthood. This post contains advice comforting your baby and try’s to answer the question ‘Why is my baby crying?’.
Comforting your baby can be something dad’s find daunting – so here are some great tips to get you started!
Why Is My Baby Crying?
Your baby’s main way to communicate is to cry. So the first thing you need to do is identify why they’re crying? Here is a helpful list to check off the reasons why your baby might be crying:
- Hunger – when was the last time your baby was fed? Newborn babies will feed up to 12 times a day in the first four weeks, so hunger is a big reason they might be crying. Try keeping a note of when they fed, and how long for. Then check this to see if they’re due a feed.
- Dirty Nappy – Does your baby need a clean nappy? Try feeling the nappy to see how wet it is, or look down the back of the nappy to see if they’ve pood. Dirty nappies are uncomfortable on baby’s sensitive skin, so needing a change may bring them to tears.
- Too Hot or Too Cold – Baby’s can’t regulate their own temperature, so need a helping hand from dad. If baby isn’t hungry, or dirty, maybe they’re hot or cold? The Lullaby Trust suggest touching your baby’s chest, or the back of their neck to see if they’re hot (sweating) or a bit cold.
- Tiredness – Your newborn needs up to 16 hours of sleep a day and being overtired will make a baby cry. It can be a good idea to also keep a note of when, and how long, baby sleeps for. This might tell you if they’re due a nap.
- Wanting Cuddles – Your newborn baby has just come out of a warm, safe environment into the big wide world. Your baby may be crying for no other reason than wanting cuddles.
Learning Baby’s Cries
Now that we have covered the reasons why a baby might be crying, let’s talk about the different cries. Cries may all sound the same at first. And that is absolutely ok. No new parent knows the different cries right away. But over time you may learn the different cries and what they mean. Baby’s may also show different behaviours with crying – for example, they may be licking their lips or moving their head a lot, this can indicate that they’re hungry. Learning your baby’s different cries and behaviours isn’t going to happen overnight, but that’s ok. You can start with the checklist above to help narrow down why baby is crying.
Ways to Start Comforting Your Baby
So, you’ve checked the nappy and it’s clean. Your baby doesn’t need feeding or winding, and they’re not too hot or cold. Now you know that your baby is tired or needs cuddles. Try these great ways to comfort your baby:
- Carefully pick up your baby (don’t forget to support their head) and hold them close to your chest. The sound of your heartbeat will often be comforting for your little one.
- Try skin to skin contact. When holding baby, try doing it without a top on. This is a great way to sooth baby, and increase your bond. Skin to skin contact reduces your baby’s cortisol levels (the stress hormone) which will help them to calm and be soothed.
- Move around with baby. Swaying, rocking and gently patting babies back or bottom can be a great comfort. Newborn babies are used to a lot of movement in the womb. Whenever mum is moving they’re being rocked or bounced. Repetitive movements such as swaying side to side while holding your baby, can be really comforting for them.
- Singing, talking and humming are all great ways to help baby sooth. They may be feeling overwhelmed at the noises, smells and sights in the new wide world they’re in. So holding them close and humming can help to block out other noises and give them the comfort they need.
- White or pink noise can be great at soothing baby as it can help emulate the sounds they heard when in the womb. You can get some great machines that can help sooth baby with this type of noise. This Tommee Tippee Dream Maker Baby Sleep Aid uses “pink noise” which is considered more soothing than white noise for sensitive ears. You can also try playing Pink Noise Videos on YouTube to help them drift off.
Listen to Tim Talk About Comforting His Baby
Tim is a member of the Dadvengers community and father of 2 girls. Listen as he recounts how he talks about how he comforts his baby. He talks about using some of the techniques we’ve shown, and how he sings “bangers” to his 7 week old baby!
This video is part of a series that Dadvengers produced in collaboration with Best Beginnings to sit on the Baby Buddy app.
More Help for New Dads
If you enjoyed reading this ‘Why Is My Baby Crying’ blog post or if would like more support as a new father we have a few suggestions.
- Firstly You might want to check out the other posts in our New Dads Support series. The series is still very new but it’s growing all the time and will become a useful and informative hub for New dads.
- Secondly you should try the Baby Buddy App. Designed for new parents, it gives dad specific prompts on a daily basis up until your child 1st birthday. For more detailed information read ‘What is Baby Buddy 2.0‘. Or download the app now and start using it. It should help alleviate some of those new dad worries.
- Finally, Have a Listen to the Dadvengers Podcast . Currently in Season 3 the Dadvengers Podcast is a great way to be inspired by the experiences of other dads. Hosted by Dadvengers founder Nigel Clarke each episode hears a well known dad talk about his journey. The ups and downs, the highs and the lows. Showing us that we all go through the same things, and all we can do as fathers is be the best we can be. We hope you enjoy listening.