There were several times where I really felt like I was a failure as a mother. One of those times was when I couldn’t figure out why my baby won’t stop crying. I remember when the only thing that would get her settled was, when I had to carry her for 5 hours straight while walking around and humming a tune. I felt miserable for my baby when she was crying but I didn’t know back then how to calm her down.
Then I finally got it, I finally got her, I finally figured it out and I finally understood why my baby won’t stop crying.
If you were like me and you thought you’ve tried everything but nothing seems to work, give these few tips a try and hopefully, this will work for your baby:
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My Mental Checklists When My Baby Won’t Stop Crying:
Is her diaper wet/ filled with poop?
I always check this first with my baby. Change her diaper as soon as possible if necessary.
Is her clothes too tight?
I also check if something is pinching her skin, any scratches, if there’s something under her or around her that’s making her uncomfortable.
Does she have any bites, marks, anything wrapped on her toes, fingers, etc.?
I remember seeing an article where the baby’s crying was so bad, they had to go to the doctor. They finally discovered that a single strand of hair was wrapped around the baby’s toe, almost cutting off the circulation. After reading that, I couldn’t shake the image from my head so I was quite vigilant with checking that nothing was wrapped around my baby’s toes and fingers.
I also checked for mosquito bites, marks, bruises or anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Is she hungry?
Sometimes we miss the most obvious thing, like feeding them. Crying is their last hunger cue so before they even cry their lungs out, check their other hunger cues and give them the bottle or breastfeed them.
Did I overfeed her?
Maybe she has an over bloated stomach and it’s making her uncomfortable.
If your baby has been spitting up more often, has 8 or more heavy wet diapers everyday, has frequent foul-smelling poop, has been gassy and belching loudly lately, is irritable and has a hard time sleeping, you might be overfeeding your baby.
Is she gassy?
This might also be a sign of overfeeding. What worked then for my baby was, before making her go to sleep, I would gently massage her tummy and move her legs in a bicycle motion to help release any air trapped in her tummy. Then I just wait for that charming fart of hers, which is not so lovely now, now that she’s 3 years old.
I also changed her milk bottle into a Dr. Brown’s Baby Bottle , as I noticed her old bottles get a lot of bubbles in it whenever she feeds, which is not helping with her gassiness.
Does she need to burp?
Remember to always burp your baby after every feeding. They swallow air when they breastfeed or suck from a bottle and this can cause discomfort if air isn’t released.
Here are some burping techniques you should try for your newborn.
Does she have acid reflux/ food allergies?
If your baby spits up their milk shortly after feeding, does projectile vomiting frequently, has signs of dehydration (dry diapers), is extremely fussy, not gaining weight and sometimes has difficulty after breathing, they could have acid reflux.
Food allergies can be a cause of acid reflux. Check with your pediatrician if you need to change your diet if you’re breastfeeding or change the formula milk if your baby is exclusively bottle fed.
You can also try feeding them small, frequent meals, burping them during feeding and keeping them upright for at least 30 minutes after feeding.
Is she constipated?
What helped for my baby then was, giving her a warm bath. I give her a nice soak in the warm bath, which helps relax her muscle, easing the passing of bowel movement. They might poop during bath, so be prepared.
Massaging their tummies can also help, as well as gently pushing their feet towards the belly. Try also moving their legs in a bicycle motion.
Is there some noise disturbing her sleep?
Your baby might be annoyed or scared with the noises she hears around her. I had this problem with my baby then. Every damn day, there’s always something that wakes her up from her nap – neighbours are too noisy, airplanes, construction going on, etc.
What worked for her was putting her in the stroller and making her nap there. At night, I turned on a white noise and that helped her sleep better, drowning out the other noises.
Is she overstimulated?
Is it too bright? Is the music too loud? Are there too many people around? Are there strangers around? Check her environment for anything that might cause overstimulation. You can use a white noise machine to tune out again the other sounds. With that said, check out the next list.
Is she looking for some stimulation?
This is one of the many colorful traits of my baby. She has FOMO (and still has it, won’t take a nap when we are visiting my in-laws and would take an hour to go to sleep at night).
This might be rare, but you might have a demanding newborn and even at 3 months or less, they could already be asking for some stimulation.
Try putting up a baby crib mobile, give them lots of tummy time and make them face some age-appropriate toys or pictures or baby books that they could look at. Put them in a baby bouncer chair and have them face the window or at you when you’re doing your chores or what not.
Check the room temperature.
Is it too cold, too warm? Is her feet too cold because she kicked off her socks? Is she perspiring? Take note of the room temperature and its effect on your baby and adjust accordingly.
Is she sleepy/ tired/ overfatigued?
When babies get exhausted, they get cranky and they start crying. Avoid having an overtired baby by having and sticking to a sleeping routine and noticing their sleepy cues.
Is she sick, does she have a fever?
Check your baby’s temperature. Check for any rashes, if they haven’t been eating the usual amount, if they’re vomiting their entire feeding more frequently, if they’re not having the normal number of wet or dirty diapers or if there’s a change in their behavior. If you’re concerned about these things and more, bring your baby to the doctor as soon as possible to have them checked.
I remember my baby before becoming unusually quiet, just that one time. I think she was 2 or 3 months then. She wasn’t being fussy, it was so easy to put her to sleep and she slept for hours, all of which was very odd. I checked her temperature and she had a mild fever. We brought her to the hospital and it turned out that she had RSV.
If your gut is telling you something is wrong with your baby, just go to the hospital immediately.
Is she teething?
Surprisingly, some babies’ first teeth come out early! If that’s the case, check with your pediatrician. Try some safe home remedies as well, like gently massaging your baby’s gums with moistened gauze pad or making your newborn suck a chilled teething ring.
Avoid teething necklaces or bracelets, it can quickly turn into a choking hazard. Also check with your doctor about over-the-counter treatments. Don’t ever give your baby a teething tablet or gel, it might be harmful for them.
Does she need to be swaddled?
Most of the time, newborns just want to go back to the womb where it’s safe, snug and warm. Recreate that womb environment for them by sign the Five S’s, to activity your baby’s calming reflex:
Swaddle – wrap them safely and securely
Side or stomach position – hold them so they’re lying on their side or stomach but remember to make them lie down on their back when going to sleep.
Shushing – shush away or turn on the white noise. Sometimes an electric fan, hair dryer or even a vacuum cleaner can help.
Swing – Carry them, put them in the baby carrier and walk around, put them in a stroller – create a rhythmic motion of any kind.
Sucking – I’ve never done this with my kid (as I didn’t want her to get used to it) but you can try giving your baby a pacifier to soothe them.
Does she want me close?
Sometimes they just want their mommy’s. Remember that they used to be inside a womb, they can smell, feel and hear us 24/7. So try cuddling and carrying your newborn while humming a tune, that might help.
Colic/ Witching Hour
Is she colicky? Is it the witching hour?
Witching hour is that certain period in the day where your baby gets extremely fussy, often occurring between 5:00pm to 11:00pm.
And if your baby cries for at least 3 hours a day (or more!), three days a week (or more!) for at least 3 weeks in a row, cries inconsolably for no reason, then congratulations, you just joined the colicky club!
Sorry, kidding, it’s not really a cause of celebration. In fact, I remember feeling quite the opposite when I found out that my baby might also be colicky. There’s really no clear-cut causes as to why a baby can become colicky. There are theories like acid reflux, overstimulation, etc. but ultimately, no one really knows the cause of colic.
I’ve gone through both of this periods and let me tell you, I almost lost my mind. But here I am, reminiscing those times..but anyway, I don’t really see the difference between witching hour and having colic because, if your baby is going through that, that just means it will be pretty hard to soothe them.
Take note though that colic does not cause a medical problem for a child but it is super stressful for parents. It can increase postpartum depression in mothers, it can rile up feelings of helplessness, anger and guilt, it can bring about an extreme reaction from the parents, which can cause them to shake their baby which is harmful and life-threatening.
If you feel like you’re on the verge of a breakdown, please ask for help. Trust me, I’ve been there, I went through PPD and all those negative feelings (I never hurt my baby though, btw) but I knew what I was feeling then wasn’t healthy anymore so please, ask your spouse or a family member to take care of the baby first.
If that’s not possible, try something that would calm you down and keep your cool. Give yourself 5 minutes to calm down before holding your baby again, take deep breaths, regroup, gather your thoughts and remember, this newborn phase won’t last. What ultimately helped with me was reading this poem, over and over again.
I saved it on my phone as a wallpaper and it’s a constant reminder for me to treasure the moments with my child, whether they might be challenging or frustrating. Because you will certainly look back at those moments and you’ll actually miss it. Trust me, I’m in that phase now.
My Baby Won’t Stop Crying: Takeaway
A babies only way of communicating their needs is through crying. So set already your expectations about that – they will cry all the time. Your baby won’t stop crying until they learn how regulation their emotions/ talk/ motion which they can only do, when they are older. So buckle up, you have a long way to go.
Kidding aside, if you want more newborn tips, check out my article here.
What also helped me cope was stopping the comparison game. I felt so helpless and useless before when I’d see or hear other stories from moms having a calm baby that can settle themselves to sleep or are not fussy at all when it comes to sleeping. I’d compare my baby with theirs and I’d think, I must be doing something wrong or there must be something wrong with my baby.
I started to know better so please stop comparing yourself or your baby to anyone. We all are different, all babies are different and comparing your life with someone else will not help in figuring out why your baby won’t stop crying. That’s wasted time and energy focusing on others, just focus on your life.
Also remember to do one thing at a time. Check and try one strategy for 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t try to do everything all at once – hold, bounce, shush, sing, etc. then pass to your spouse declaring you’ve done everything! Stick to one action one at a time and if it doesn’t work, try again another one.
What technique worked on your crying newborn? And why do you think your baby is crying? Let me know by commenting below.