Every time a baby cries, it does not necessarily mean that the baby has got stomach pain. There are many other causes due to those a child may cry. Following are the main reasons of an infant’s excessive crying:
To Convey Message
Crying is the only way of communicating physical discomfort or emotional distress in small babies. All babies cry when they are hungry, thirsty, wet, have pain anywhere in the body or for no obvious reason. Most mothers learn to recognize the causes of their baby’s crying. It is an art which a mother learns from experience. However, if unable to pinpoint the cause, one can consider various possibilities one by unusual way or for no obvious reason.
In small babies sometimes it is difficult to make out whether the baby is crying due to a minor upset or due to a pain or infection. If the baby can not be comforted with feed, cuddling or a change of atmosphere, you should call a doctor.
Sometimes Baby Cry for No Reason
Some mothers, especially those with their first baby, may get upset even if a child cries for short periods. 5-10 minutes of crying several times in a day is considered normal. In fact this is a good exercise for the lungs and it puts the arms, legs and other muscles into action. But if he cries excessively, it will make him gulp in air and distend the stomach.
Hunger is most common cause of infant crying
The most common cause of crying is hunger. Some prefer to stick to fixed feeding schedules, but once in a way a feed should be given on demand, especially when the child puts fingers in his mouth repeatedly.
Frequency of Infant Feeds
Nowadays doctors recommend that the babies should be given feeds as and when they demand. Newborn require feeding every 2 hours. One can slowly reduce the frequency and by 6 months feeding 4-5 times a day is sufficient.
Hole of the Milk Bottle Teat
These days you fixed teat holes, but should check the bottle so that milk flows continuously on pressing the teat. If the hole is too tight and the child has to strain while sucking, he may be left unsatisfied and that makes him cranky.
If the child is hungry and takes longer to finish the feed and cries in between, probably the hole of the teat is smaller than required.
If he cries shortly after the feed and the bottle is empty, offer more. Some may required feeds at night time also.
Thirst may also be cause of Baby Cry
In hot weather the baby may need more water. Some babies do need extra drinks in the first few weeks in addition to breast milk. Sometimes breast milk may not be sufficient to satisfy the needs. Always use cooled boiled water from a clean container.
If Baby Cries After Feeding, may be due to Wind or Gas formation in stomach
If the baby starts crying after feeding, the possible cause is wind or gas formation in stomach. Small babies often swallow air during feeds especially in the beginning when they try to gulp greedily. Also if he cries for a long time, he may swallow air which can cause discomfort in the stomach.
Do not allow the baby to suck after the feed in the bottle is finished. He or she may unnecessarily suck air.
Always support the baby from the back and neck to keep him in nearly the upright position while feeding. This will minimize the swallowing of air. Excess of wind causes regurgitation of milk. It is better to spend something with the baby to help him bring up wind after each feed. Do not hold the bottle horizontally, this will allow air to be sucked in.
Some of the best positions recommended for bringing out the wind are:
- Hold the baby against your shoulder and rub his back gently.
- Lay the baby face down on your knees and gently tap on the back.
- The baby is held in a sitting position and is gently tapped.
Feeling Discomfort with Atmosphere
If there is anything the baby does not like, he starts crying. e.g. extreme heat or cold. Change of environment will help such a case. Babies also start crying while passing urine or evacuating bowels. This is because of the increase in abdominal pressure.
Baby Needs Attention
If the child stops crying when picked up and given full attention, that means there is a need for cuddling. Some babies are happy if left alone in their bed while others need to be assured of the presence of their mother.
Some ladies use a carrying sling while they move about the house. A bouncing cradle which is well propped up is better and the baby can see you.
‘Tense Mother’ can Make Baby Cry
The baby senses a mother’s emotions. If the mother is tense, tired or there is tension at home, the baby becomes unsettled. Try to ease your tension by talking to various family members and your spouse. Never try to punish your baby in irritation, anger or frustration. Only love and affection with patience can make the baby back to normal.
Traveling or Change of Place
If you are traveling with a small baby or if there is a change of place, it will take a few days to accommodate to the changed surroundings. All that is needed is to give more attention and reassurance.
Sun in the Eyes
If the baby is kept under the direct rays of the sun, it gets disturbed and starts crying. To get away from sunlight, it may creep round the pram without your realistation.
Sudden noise, holding insecurely and the sight of strangers after the age of six months are other causes of excessive crying.
The child may remain calm most of the day but start crying a great deal in the evening. This is termed as 3 month evening colic. The child cries only in the evening. It starts when the baby is 6 weeks old and ceases after months.
One possible cause is, painful spasms of the intestines. The other reason could be a reduction in the milk supply of the mother in the evening.
Two forms of treatment are suggested:
- Give the baby more and smaller feeds. Some babies can not digest big feeds at a time. The mother should minimize strain and take a nap in the after noon for 1-2 hours.
- Dicyclomine hydrochloride drops – These are antispasmodic drops available as Piptal, Cyclopam, Colimax drops etc. these dose should be 6-10 drops or as recommended by a doctor. Do not give antispasmodic drops too frequently. Once given, wait for sometime before you repeat the dose.
Gripe water of various brands may be used as antispasmodics.
Napkin Rashes on infant skin
This type of rash is more likely when the baby has diarrhea. If the stool is allowed to be in contact with the skin for a long time it can cause severe inflammation of the skin.
The stool and urine react to produce ammonia. This may cause rash and the baby may cry due to discomfort. Change the napkins as soon as they are soiled.
Wash the stools stuck to the skin and apply a protective cream. Leave the area exposed for sometimes. Apply talcum powder in the folds. Povidone-Iodine (PVPI) is very effective to cure child skin rashes cause of diapers. Care should be taken while rinsing the napkins, after washing with detergents and soaps.
Consult a doctor if the rash continues to irritating substance and are never the cause of napkin rash.
Pain in the Ear
Severe pain in the ear is one of the important causes of excessive crying. Parents can get a hint if the child takes this hand towards one of the ears. Consult your doctor immediately. Some pain killers may be needed to relieve the pain.
Baby Cry to Sleep
If baby is very sleepy, he/she may start crying to convey the message to mother. In this situation, the mother should provide the peaceful and suitable atmosphere for the sleepy child. Mostly child sleeps while breastfeeding or bottle feeding, which is very normal and good for the health of the baby.
If you are able to identify any of the above listed reasons, appropriate measures can be taken. However, if the child continues to cry for prolonged periods and is not comforted by cuddling, rocking, carrying around on your shoulders, change of scene or atmosphere, toys, singing etc. call on your doctor immediately. Your child may be really sick.
Babies do not cry without reason. It may be a minor discomfort or a serious illness. Parents must look into the various possibilities.
Children have only one language to speak – crying, it is upto the parents to understand this language. With practice and observation the mother can diagnose the reason of crying.