As a new parent, one of the most challenging experiences can be hearing your newborn cry. Crying is the primary way that babies communicate their needs or discomfort, but deciphering what those needs are can be difficult for parents. It's important to understand that newborn cries are a normal part of infant behaviour, however excessive crying or fussiness can be a sign of an underlying issue.
Throughout this page, we will explore the different reasons why newborns cry, what is considered normal behaviour, and how infant massage can provide benefits that can helpreduce crying and promote relaxation for both the baby and the parent. By understanding how massage can connect with why babies cry and their normal behaviour, parents can feel more confident in recognising and responding to their baby's cues, ultimately resulting in a happier, more relaxed baby, and a less stressed parent.
Is There A Reason Babies Cry?
Babies cry for various reasons, such as hunger, discomfort, fatigue, dirty nappy, teething, illness, or the need for affection and comfort. Reflux can cause babies to cry due to pain and discomfort resulting from the condition. Crying is a way for infants to communicate their needs, and it's crucial for caregivers to respond to their cries with compassion and attention.
If you're concerned about your baby's crying or suspect an underlying medical issue, it's always advisable to seek guidance and support from a healthcare professional. While caring for a crying baby can be overwhelming, you can provide your little one with the comfort and care they need with love, patience, and support.
When seeking relief for your child, baby massage has been shown to provide a range of benefits, including relaxation of muscles, improved circulation, strengthened immune system, and improved sleep. As a result, it may help to soothe and calm babies, especially those experiencing discomfort or pain due to reflux or other conditions. Massage therapy can stimulate the nervous system, resulting in improved muscle control and operation, which may provide some relief for infants with reflux. However, It's important to note that for parents interested in trying baby massage as a way to soothe crying and learn about their baby's cues, it's recommended to seek guidance from a Certified Infant Massage Instructor or Paediatric Massage Consultant.
These professionals are trained to teach parents safe and effective massage techniques that can provide many benefits for both the baby and the parent, such as improved bonding and communication. They are also able to provide valuable insights into interpreting baby cues during massage time, which can enhance a parent's understanding of their baby's needs and help to build a stronger relationship between the parent and child.
Distinguishing Between Different Kinds Of Newborn Cries
Crying is the primary way that newborns communicate, and it can be difficult for parents to understand what their baby is trying to say. However, different newborn cries can indicate different needs, and being able to distinguish between them is key to responding effectively. Some "good" cries, such as hunger cries, are usually short and low-pitched and can be easily resolved with feeding. "Bad" cries, such as those caused by pain or discomfort, can be sharp and high-pitched and require more attention.
Massage can be a helpful tool for parents to become more confident in recognising and responding to their baby's cues. By understanding their baby's body language, facial expressions, and movements, parents can learn to differentiate between different cries and respond appropriately. As parents become more confident and responsive to their baby's needs, they can help create a positive cycle where the baby cries less and the parents feel less stressed. Ultimately, massage can be a beneficial way to help parents communicate with their crying newborn and build a stronger bond with their baby.
What Is Normal Infant Behaviour?
Infants and young children cry as a way of signalling distress or discomfort. It is important to understand that crying can indicate psychological or physical distress rather than "fussing" which many babies do when settling or adjusting to different circumstances. Responding promptly, consistently, and appropriately to infant crying can result in infants learning to settle more quickly and become more secure in the knowledge that their needs for emotional comfort will be met.
Whilst controlled crying may stop children from crying, it may also teach children not to seek or expect support when distressed. Infants from about six months of age suffer from different degrees of anxiety when separated from their carers. It may take up to three years for them to learn that their carers will return when they leave and that they are safe. Infants whose parents respond and attend to their crying promptly are more likely to develop secure attachments, which is the foundation for good adult mental health.
Whilst controlled crying can be helpful for some parents, it is important to exercise caution and to pay attention to the level of distress rather than the number of minutes the baby has to be left to cry. Additionally, any methods to assist parents in getting a good night's sleep should not compromise the infant's developmental and emotional needs. Before initiating any controlled crying program, a full professional assessment of the child's health and child and family relationships should be undertaken, and all efforts should be made to link parents with community supports to minimise the isolation and frustration felt by many parents when caring for a young child.
Newborn And Baby Crying Frequently Asked Questions
Why do newborns cry after feeding, and what can be done to stop it?
Newborns often cry after feeding for various reasons, such as discomfort from gas, reflux, or an allergy to formula or breast milk. These issues can cause pain or discomfort, which can result in crying. While there are many ways to help reduce crying, such as burping the baby or changing their feeding position, massage can be a valuable tool for parents to soothe their baby and reduce crying-related issues.
A gentle massage on the baby's tummy can help alleviate gas and promote digestion, while a massage on the back can help calm the baby and alleviate reflux. Additionally, massage can help to promote relaxation and improve sleep, which can reduce fussiness and crying.
Is it normal for newborns to cry a lot?
It is normal for newborns to cry, as crying is the primary way that babies communicate their needs or discomfort. However, excessive crying or fussiness can be a sign of an underlying issue such as colic, gas, or reflux. While there are many ways to help soothe a crying baby, massage can be an effective tool for reducing crying and promoting relaxation. A gentle massage on the baby's tummy can help alleviate gas and promote digestion, while a massage on the back can help calm the baby and alleviate reflux.
Additionally, massage can help improve circulation, strengthen the immune system, and as previously mentioned, assist with better sleep, which has long term benefits for your little one. When you seek assistance from a Certified Infant Massage Instructor or Paediatric Massage Consultant, parents can learn massage techniques that can provide comfort for both the baby and the parent. Ultimately, it is important for parents to trust their instincts and seek medical advice if they are concerned about their baby's excessive crying or fussiness.
How long should you let your newborn cry?
As a general rule, it is recommended that parents attend to their newborn's cries promptly and respond to their needs as soon as possible. This is because crying is the primary way that babies communicate their needs or discomfort, and leaving a baby to cry without comfort, even for short periods of time, can be very distressing to the infant. It is also important to note that some newborns may have different crying patterns or may need more attention and comfort than others.
Whilst it can be difficult to cope with a crying newborn, it is important for parents to trust their instincts and seek medical advice if they are concerned about their baby's excessive crying or fussiness. Incorporating calming and bonding techniques like massage can be helpful for reducing crying and promoting relaxation, but ultimately it is up to the parent to determine the best approach for their individual baby.