From the age of about three months, babies become more aware of
their surroundings and start to be much more communicative. By
now you are likely to be able to recognise your baby's
distinctive cries, for instance when (s)he is hungry, tired, or
needs changing. However, now your baby will cry from boredom,
anxiety, frustration and teething. Whilst identifying the cause
of your baby's crying will again require a process of trial and
error, the following may be of help;
Make sure that your baby has a selection of interesting toys
within reach. Spend time with your baby just talking or playing
or reading from a storybook. Singing and music can also be fun.
Your baby may cry if (s)he fears separation from you or in the
presence of strangers or if (s)he is in a strange place. Always
be supportive and never make fun of your child's fears. Reassure
your baby with soothing words in a gentle tone of voice and
cuddle him or her. When you are separated from your baby reassure
him or her that you will come back soon. Whenever possible, try
to make frequent appearances to reassure your baby that you are
If you have to be away from him or her for longer periods (for
example with a child carer when you return to work) then take
time to make sure that your baby is used to the new environment
and the new carer. If possible, try to prepare your baby for your
being apart by starting with short periods at a time and
gradually making them longer. Make sure that you and the carer
are patient with your baby's anxiety and don't show any
frustration or impatience. If (s)he has a comfort object, such as
a toy or blanket, make sure that (s)he has it when you leave.
When you return give your baby extra cuddles and plenty of
Your baby will cry when they want to do things that they are not
yet able to or when they do not get their own way.
Make your home as childproof as possible to allow your baby to
explore in safety without you having to fuss around with moving
things out of the way.
Try and have a favorite or new toy or game to hand to distract
your baby when (s)he becomes frustrated. Offer help when (s)he
needs it but don't completely take over - allow your baby to feel
a sense of achievement. If your baby simply wants his or her own
way it is important to decide for yourself whether the issue is
an important one.
A good rule of thumb is only to assert your own will over those
things that are really important and not simply because you
prefer things a certain way. When you do decide to assert your
will then don't change your mind or this will confuse your baby
and make him or her less likely to do as you wish next time.
Provided the baby is safe then tantrums are best ignored when
Don't shout at your baby and don't punish him or her afterwards.
Explain in a reasoned way why (s)he cannot do whatever it is they
want to do. Although (s)he will not understand what you say at
first, your baby will understand your tone of voice and will
learn what you mean.
When the teeth are coming through the gums become swollen and
red. Your baby may also tug on their ear or even develop cold
symptoms whilst teething. Your baby may dribble a lot, be
irritable, clingy and have trouble sleeping. Medical treatment is
not usually necessary. Try giving him or her something to chew on
such as a cold carrot or a chilled (not frozen) teething toy. You
can also try rubbing your baby's gums with your finger or
applying a small amount teething gel.
Illness or Infection
Crying accompanying symptoms such as: fever, loss of appetite,
vomiting, skin rash, light-phobia, is more likely to be the
result of an infection. If your baby has these symptoms or if you
think your baby is unwell contact your GP or health visitor as
symptoms can progress quickly with small babies.
More information is readily available in books such as What
To Do When Your Child Gets Sick (http://www.total-kids.com/Amazon_Pages/_what+to+do+when+your+child+gets+sick_0970124503_z.asp), that can be an invaluable
resource for new parents.
About the author:
Mary is an experienced mother, and editor of http://www.total-kids.co.uk,a site bursting with tips, resources, toys, and articles for parents and childcare professionals.