Babies cry. It is their way of communication. They can't say, "Hey, I have a wet diaper!" and they certainly can't change it themselves. They are helpless. So they cry to let you know something is wrong. When a baby cries, oftentimes people panic. The longer baby cries, the more panicked people become. The problem is that baby is not going to stop crying until you stop panicking.
Have you ever seen the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' signs? That is the way to handle those infant wails. Take a deep breath and mentally relax. Do a mental check, when did baby last eat? Sleep? Poop? One of the best pieces of advice I ever got concerning infants was from my mother. She pointed out how cute they look crying. Once I stopped worrying long enough to see the cuteness, I was fine. I haven't had a problem since. Years of experience help now, but a parent will get more experience than they know what to do with in just a few days of wails.
Here is my step by step guide to dealing with sobs:
- Take a deep breath and relax
- Go to baby and croon as you pick him/her up and cuddle. Sometimes crying will stop here, if they just wanted to be held.
- Simultaneously croon and listen to the cry. All cries are different, but the easiest to tell apart is physical pain. If it sounds like baby is in pain skip to step 5
- Do a mental check of when baby last ate/slept/pooped/peed/etc. See if baby seems overly hot or cold and need a fan/blanket. Address the probable needs. In most cases baby is now fine
- If it seems like baby is in pain, there may be a few reasons why. Is it possible baby was stung by a bee? Did baby hit themselves in the eye with their rattle or kick something hard? Did big brother pinch him? Does baby have gas pains? Is baby ill? Gas is usually easy to tell apart because baby will be curled around their stomach and they feel better when you bicycle their legs and/or are burped. In the case of bumps or bruises a minute or so of crying and a little cuddling usually fixes things.
- If you get overwhelmed, it is 100% ok to put the baby down somewhere safe or give them to someone else and walk away to calm down. NEVER SHAKE OR HIT A BABY. And yelling would only cause more problems.
- If all else fails, call your pediatrician. They are used to panicked calls from parents, and an experts advice may be just what you need.