If your baby is crying and you can't work out why, try the following check-list before you start pulling your hair out:
- He's hungry. Easily fixed - feed him!
- He needs a change of nappy. Or has a rash that needs tending to.
- He has wind. Generally, if your baby is crying because of a gassy pain he'll also be squirming or pulling his knees up to his stomach. Try burping him over your shoulder or gently massaging his tummy. Moving his legs in a slow bicycle motion while he's lying down can also help.
- He's uncomfortable. Check that his arms and legs aren't caught up in his wrap or that he's not lying on anything uncomfortable. Check that she's not too hot or cold. As a general rule, your baby should have as many layers of clothing as you PLUS one extra layer - usually a singlet. It's also a good idea for him to have socks and a hat on if he's going outdoors.
- He wants to suck. Babies find sucking enormously soothing but rather than trying to meet that desire with constant feeding (which will eventually make him throw up), try offering a dummy or help him to find his own thumb or fist. Or try slipping your own very clean pinkie finger into your baby's mouth.
- He wants a cuddle. Sometimes there's nothing wrong; your baby just wants to be held and comforted. If he settles down in your arms, perhaps consider using a sling so that he can continue to get comfort from you while you get on with your day.
- He's crying because something's medically wrong. If your baby is persistently crying, you should get medical advice. Take his temperature and do a complete check of his body for any signs of a problem.
- He needs a break from you. Babies are very sensitive to mood, so if you feel like crying (or worse) because she won't stop crying, then you can both find yourselves in a tense cycle that is hard to break out of. Either hand him to another adult or put him down in a safe place and walk away for a minute or two. Take some deep breaths and calm yourself before returning to him.
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