Infants And Toddlers: Understanding Why A Baby Cries

Your baby may cry for a number of reasons. Sometimes the cause is easy to discern, and sometimes you may have to guess at what the problem could be.

It's pretty much expected. At some point your baby will cry. The question is, "Why?" Obviously, since your baby may be too young to talk, you can't always know exactly what her problem might be. The reasons for your baby's crying may have a lot to do with her age and temperament.

If you are the parent of a newborn, you may still be learning how and when to respond to your baby's cries. You need to understand that crying is basically the only method a baby has to signal her discomfort and displeasure. If she is hungry, wet, or tired, she may cry. How do you tell the difference?

Don't be surprised if strangers come up to you when your baby begins to cry. They may try to tell you exactly what you need to do to hush your baby. Of course this can be extremely annoying, but it is also unrealistic. You will soon be able to recognize and discern the difference between your newborn's cries better than anyone else can. What may sound like a hungry cry to a stranger, may only mean that your baby is simply tired and ready to go to sleep.

Once you have determined that your baby is not hungry, wet, or ready to sleep, you will have to look for other causes for her tears. Some babies simply cry because this is the way they release tension. Other babies cry because they haven't become accustomed to all the sights and sounds of the outside world. When your baby was in your womb, he heard your voice and probably your spouse's voice, and he heard the sounds of your heart and blood pumping in your body.

The womb was a fairly dark, tight space, fully of repetitive and comforting rhythms. Once your baby is born, he is assaulted by a barrage of stimuli, and some babies just have a difficult time adjusting. If this is the case, your baby may need you to hold and comfort him, or he may need to be placed safely in his bed or infant seat and left alone for a few minutes. You can also try swaddling. This can have a calming affect, but being tightly confined can also anger some babies.

If your baby has colic, then you have already been exposed to long periods of his howls of outrage and tears. Since there really isn't a cure for colic, and doctors can't pinpoint a specific cause, you will have to learn to cope the best you can. You can take heart, though, because colic generally disappears by the time a baby is three or four months old.

As your baby grows, he will constantly discover new talents and accomplish new milestones. With these milestones, may come greater frustrations, however. When your baby is around eight to ten months old, he may become extremely attached to you. You may discover that he howls in protest if you simply walk out of his sight for a few minutes. He may not tolerate anyone else holding him if you are in the room, and he may cry with despair if you leave him to go to work, run errands, etc. Your baby cries because he doesn't understand that even if you go, you will return. He can't do anything about his discomfort and fear, so he cries.

As your child continues to grow, he will want to exert his independence, which can be painful for you both. Once your child becomes a toddler, he is old enough to want to do the things his older siblings or friends are doing, but he isn't old enough to do those things quite yet. This can be quite painful for him. You can help by providing plenty of alternate activities for him to participate in. You may even want to point out to him all the wonderful things that he can do, but a baby can't.

Finally, keep in mind that your baby will grow quickly, and there will come a day when he will no longer run to you as often with his tears. Until then, you can help your child by loving him unconditionally and meeting his needs the best you can.

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