There is no magical, one size fits all, answer to settling a baby that is crying.
You have to try to unravel the cause of your baby’s distress – which can usually be done through a process of elimination. Babies will easily pick up on parental stress and anxiety so when baby is crying its most important, although difficult, not to panic and try to stay calm.
Babies cannot vocalise through words and therefore the only way they communicate any upset or distress they feel is by crying. So although babies are programmed to cry, they will only cry for a reason and any continual and prolonged bout of inconsolable crying should be investigated.
Work out why he is crying
Over-tiredness, hunger, thirst, having wind, needing to poo or needing cuddles are the main reasons that your young baby may be crying.
If he hasn’t fed for two to three hours, it could be hunger (no matter how large his last feed was!) and if he hasn’t slept for an hour or more he will be tired. If he is struggling to take proper feeds, isn’t sleeping well in between feeds and seems uncomfortable or in pain he could be experiencing some degree of digestive distress due to gut sensitivity, dietary intolerances/sensitivities or possibly even acid reflux.
Tips for settling your baby
If feeding doesn’t work (or it’s simply not feed-time) and your baby won’t settle to sleep, try putting him up over your shoulder and pat or rub his back to soothe him.
Or you could try holding him across your lap on his tummy and patting his back, or holding him on his front on your forearm and gently swinging him – this is known as The Colic-Carry!
If your baby is over-tired and over-stimulated it might be better to give him some space by putting him in his cot or Moses basket so he can sleep but it might require some patience and perseverance through patting, shushing and reassurances to send him off to sleep.
By implementing a simple but flexible feeding and sleeping pattern it should become more obvious whether your child is crying out or hunger, tiredness or discomfort.
The moment you can “read”, understand and respond to your baby’s cries early motherhood will be 100 times more enjoyable.