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Let’s face it. All babies cry. Some mommies are born with some sort of natural instinct that tells them exactly what’s wrong with their child. I’m not one of those mothers. When I had my first son I came up with a mental checklist that I would run through constantly to make sure I wasn’t missing something when he wasn’t calming down. I’d love to share this crying baby checklist with you!
**Before you read this, I am not a doctor. Just a mommy of three little ones who loves helping other moms. Use my advice at your own risk, although I must say, it’s pretty helpful. **
1. Is your crying baby hungry?
This seems like the first question we ask ourselves so it’s at the top of the list. Although, the answer isn’t always yes. So make sure you run through the other items on the checklist.
When was the last time baby ate? If the answer is five minutes ago let’s try some other solutions. If it was more than two/three hours ago, I’d say feed your baby and see if that will calm him/her down.
2. Does baby have a clean diaper?
All children are different. Some hate to be wet. Which is burdensome, but in all honesty, I’d rather change a diaper than have a crying baby. Check their diaper. These babies seem to always pull a fast one on us. You could have changed their diaper 30 seconds ago and they had just been waiting for a clean diaper to soil.
3. Is baby sleepy?
Did they sleep long enough the last time you laid them down? Are they rubbing their eyes? Some babies have days where they want to sleep all day long and only wake up to eat. Especially when they are brand new. It may be time to rock them back to sleep. Some babies like to sleep with white noise, you can check “Do White Noise Machines Really Work to Help Baby Sleep?” out, a great post by ThinkBaby. You can check out a list of top white noise machines!
4. Is baby being understimulated?
Yes, an infant can get bored. They don’t want to stay in a swing or boppy their whole lives. Sometimes (ok most times) they want mommy and daddy to play with them. Want to try something cool? If your baby is a newborn lay them down, grab a rattle and slowly move it about 12 inches from their face back and forth. They’ll follow it with their eyes. It helps with their development and it keeps them stimulated!
5. Is baby overstimulated?
Too much light, too much noise, too much “too much” can just make a baby cry. If you’re a person who likes loud music your baby may not. Or if you have a doggy that’s constantly barking, it could startle your little babe. Think about what’s going on in the environment around them and see if that’s causing a fuss.
6. Is baby too hot or too cold?
If your baby is working up a sweat it may be time to take the layers down a few notches. Check their temperature. They lose heat through their hands, feet, and head. Are their feet cold? Add some socks. Or a little hat because they are so cute on babies!
7. Is there a random hair somewhere?
This one is too common, yet commonly ignored. Your baby may have a hair wrapped around a finger or toe. It’s happened to all three of my children. I have long hair, so it’s probably more common in my household, but don’t discredit this one. It’s possible.
8. Is their routine out of whack?
Do you put the baby to sleep at 6 pm every night and it’s 7:30 pm? Your child probably needs to go to sleep. If you are switching their sleep schedule, try to do it in 20-30 minute increments. So instead of switching right away from 6 to 7:30, try 6 to 6:30, then 7 pm in two days and so on. If your child is used to eating every 2 hours and you switch to 3 then they’re probably going to scream until they get some food, just like with a nighttime routine, it’s best to take baby steps.
9. Are they gassy?
Did they burp after they just ate? Or are they generally gassy? You may want to burp them. I don’t know if this is “scientifically proven” but when a burp was trapped in my babies I always patted down towards their lower back and slowly up towards their upper back to help move the gas up. There are also gas drops you can purchase.
10. Does baby want to just be held?
You are the main attraction in your baby’s life. And they want to bond with you and be close to you. Your smell is familiar to them. Your voice is soothing. Sing to them, rock them, cuddle them. A little booty pat may be all they need. (My babies loved it when I patted their little booties!)
11. Do they want their binky?
Some babies just want to suck on something. You can choose to be their pacifier, I always chose a binky. And my babies never got nipple confusion. My motto is, if a baby is hungry, they’ll eat. Two out of three of my children loved their binkies, my middle child didn’t take one. It’s your baby’s preference.
12. Are they getting sick?
If a baby isn’t feeling well, they’re most likely going to cry. Good news, sickness is almost always temporary. Stick it out and just be what your baby needs. They need your comfort!
13. What if none of this works?
Sometimes babies just want to cry. Remember, crying is their ONLY form of communication. Unlike you and me, they can’t tell us what’s wrong. They are just trying to communicate with us. If it becomes overwhelming, put your baby in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes.
I tell this to all my pregnant friends. There is usually always a moment in a mother’s life where she thinks “this is why people shake their babies” and what you do after that moment will separate you from someone who chooses to stick it out, or someone who goes to jail and ruins their child’s life.
Remember you can always take a minute. If your baby is in a safe place, if you’ve exhausted all options it is totally fine to take a few minutes to just breathe.
If you don’t need to take a breather, your best option is to just hold your baby until they calm down. Practice your singing and soothing skills.
How did I figure all this out? I prayed. I wrote a post about how I’m not a natural mom. There’s been a lot of trial and error but these questions always helped me find an answer to why my children were crying. Mama, you can do this. Your baby was made just for you and God has equipped you with everything you need to care for your child.
Do you know of something I missed that I should add to this list? Leave a comment below. You can also comment or inbox me if you need prayer for you and your little one! I’d love to pray for you!