Most mothers quickly develop a bag of tricks soon after birth to soothe their crying baby, checking for dirty nappies, making sure their baby isn’t still hungry, isn’t tired and cranky or if you’re anything like me, making sure all itchy labels are removed from clothing and that no clothing is uncomfortably tight or irritating. But sometimes you can go through all of this and more and your baby is STILL crying. So, what do you do?
For many parents, this is the point at which they come to their wit's end. They run out of ideas for what to do next and become stressed and worried.
There are, however, a range of explanations for what could be going wrong if your baby continues to cry:
It Could Be Colic
Contrary to popular opinion, colic is neither a disease nor a condition. Instead, it is a constellation of somewhat confusing baby behaviors that can leave parents baffled.
For centuries, parents and midwives have noted that some babies appear to cry at specific times of the day for no apparent reason. You can meet all of their physical needs and still the wailing continues. Even today, scientists still aren't really sure what causes it. The current belief is that it is more than just a temper tantrum, but rather a response to pain.
Interestingly, the crying seems to start at particular times of day, suggesting a relationship with food. Some researchers believe it might result from difficulties with digestion.
Your Baby Might Have Trapped Wind
Speaking of which, trapped wind is another common cause of crying after feeding.
When babies feed - either from the breast or bottle - they tend to swallow air. When this happens, it can lead to bloating and cramping, both of which are unpleasant for your child.
Fortunately, you can take measures to alleviate wind or gas pains. Try holding your baby tummy down whilst gently patting or rubbing their back. If you don't have any luck with this, move your baby from an upright position to lying and then back up again and keep repeating this. These gentle actions should encourage the stomach to release any excess air and provide relief. You'll know what you're doing is working when your baby does a satisfying burp.
Your Child Could Have Reflux
Reflux occurs when the acid in the stomach that digests food gurgles up and enters the gullet. Unlike the stomach, the throat doesn't have a thick mucus membrane to protect it from this acid, so when it escapes, this leads to pain and discomfort. Fortunately, reflux is rarely severe and tends to subside within 18 months as the child's body matures.
Your Child May Just Be Tired
Young babies need to sleep for up to twenty hours per day to provide enough rest for their growing bodies. All this speedy growing takes an enormous toll on babies and can make them irritable.
Some babies however don't want to sleep, even when they need it, and that's when you run into problems. If you think your baby might be getting tired, try to reduce stimulation around bedtime. Bring the noise level down, dim the lights, and make sure you avoid social engagements and act before the overtiredness kicks in to avoid a total meltdown!
Do you think your baby is suffering with colic or reflux? Read our blog post for more information on signs, symptoms and remedies.