We’ve put together the following checklist to help you determine the cause of your baby’s cries, and some ways you can help.
1. Does my baby need comfort and/or attention?
Pick up your baby; offer gentle cuddles and soothing words. If your baby isn’t rolling yet, wrap them up. Calm your child by holding them closely so they feel safe and secure.
2. Does my baby need a nappy change?
Your baby may find a wet or dirty nappy uncomfortable. If left unchanged this could lead to nappy rash.
3. Does my baby need to burp?
Sometimes a baby will feel more comfortable if ‘burped’ after feeding. Keep your baby upright and relaxed for a few minutes only, to see if there’s any wind. Bear in mind, not all babies will need burping after feeding.
4. Is my baby overtired?
When checking for what your baby’s telling you, look for ‘tired signs’. For example, your baby may wake at the end of a sleep cycle and be unable to resettle without your help. Responding consistently to your baby’s sleep needs teaches them good sleep habits.
For more information on sleep cycles, refer to our Understanding Sleep brochure.
5. Is my baby hungry?
If your baby begins to cry and hasn’t been fed in the last few hours, checking their hunger is a good place to start. Hunger signs include sucking noises, an open mouth, and sucking on fingers or a fist. If your baby has fed in the last few hours, try one of the tips above before offering a feed.
6. Is my baby comfortable?
Check your baby isn’t too hot or cold. You can do this by placing your hand on their chest or tummy. As a general rule for hot weather dress your child in one item less than you’re wearing. In the cold, add one layer extra.
In hot weather, cool the room without directing a fan or air conditioner directly onto the cot, or letting the room get too cold. In cold weather, warm the room – but make sure it’s well ventilated so your baby doesn’t overheat.
7. Does my baby want to suck?
Some newborn babies have a strong urge to suck. If you find sucking calms your baby, there is nothing wrong with giving them a soother.
8. Is my baby overstimulated?
Reduce stimulation by making the room dark and quiet. If your baby is still having difficulty calming down, soft and gentle music and/or quiet background noise may help. You could also try a relaxing bath or massage.
9. Is my baby unwell?
Take your baby’s temperature. A normal temperature ranges between 36.8 and 37.4 degrees centigrade. If you’re concerned about your baby’s health, take them to your GP or local hospital.