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8 Reasons For Baby Crying And How To Soothe Them

8 Reasons For Baby Crying And How To Soothe Them

Whether you are a first time mother or have just had your third child, there is nothing more distressing than hearing a newborn baby crying for an extended period of time. Not only can this sound make you feel inadequate, but it can also make it impossible to perform daily necessities such as sleeping. Fortunately, scientific and anecdotal evidence have combined to offer proven techniques for soothing a cranky baby. Keep in mind that if these tips do not work, it is a good idea to visit a doctor to determine if something medical is at fault for your newborn’s discomfort.

1. A Tired Baby Is A Cranky Baby

One of the primary reasons that babies cry is because they are overly tired and need to take a nap. This can happen as a result of being overstimulated by too much activity or attention. Alternatively, their sleep schedule may not be properly regulated yet, especially if they are more than six weeks old. In fact, experts indicate that you need to begin sleep training at the six week mark if you want your infant to be well-rested. Failure to develop an adequate sleep routine can lead to an exorbitant amount of crying, both now and as they get older. Therefore, the best way to soothe this particular problem is by putting them down for scheduled naps.

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2. A Baby Crying Frequently May Be So Hungry They Have Become Hangry

Studies have found that people of any age who are hungry are less likely to be happy, and their impatience and anger spikes alongside their hunger. For example, judges make fewer favorable rulings as they get closer to lunchtime, which highlights the detrimental impact of becoming hangry. This happens despite the fact that adults understand how hunger works, so imagine what it is like for a baby to experience increasing levels of hunger without any relief. With this in mind, it is important to offer your newborn the opportunity to nurse or drink formula when they start crying. This is particularly important if they do not tend to finish each meal and instead ask for smaller but more frequent feedings.

3. Babies Cry When They Are Feeling Under The Weather

If your baby has eaten and slept recently, their cries could be an indicator that something is physically wrong. In some cases, this is nothing more than teething, but you should keep an eye out for symptoms such as constipation, fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Experts recommend seeking medical assistance for any baby under three months who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. As your child moves past the newborn stage, they will be better equipped to deal with a fever up to 104 degrees without needing medical attention. You can place a cool damp cloth on their forehead to help reduce their fever and make them feel more relaxed.

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4. Their Diaper Needs To Be Changed

Aside from food and sleep, a dirty diaper is by far the most common reason that a baby will cry. The easiest way to soothe this problem is by paying close attention to your baby’s signals so that you can change their diaper right away. Do not forget that diaper rash can develop if you wait too long, and this will cause your baby to feel additional distress. You can use lotions and creams that contain petroleum jelly or zinc oxide to help soothe and prevent diaper rash, and it is also a good idea to let a child with a rash go diaper-free for a while after each bowel movement.

5. Colic And Other Stomach Problems Make A Baby Miserable

A crying baby who does not appear to have any reason to feel upset could be trying to clue you in to some stomach issues. Colic is well-known to cause babies to cry practically non-stop for an extended period of time, but this is not the only type of stomach problem that can lead to this type of behavior. Abdominal pain can be brought on by colic, gas, constipation, acid reflux, an intestinal blockage, lactose intolerance, a stomach virus or a milk allergy.

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Be sure to pay close attention to whether or not your baby cries a lot after eating, and note any patterns such as an unusual amount of crying after having something specific. If you suspect that they are suffering from gas, you can do a light abdominal massage or move their legs in a bicycle motion while they are lying on their back. This should help them pass the gas, which will make them happy enough to stop crying. A potential allergy can be diagnosed with the assistance of your family pediatrician.

6. They Simply Need To Be Held

No matter what some people might say about spoiling your baby by holding them too often, research indicates that this is not actually possible. In fact, humans of all ages need regular attention and physical contact for good mental health. Your baby will not begin noticing cause and effect patterns until they are at least six months old, so go ahead and lavish attention on them during the newborn stage because this will help instead of hinder them later in life. As an added bonus, being held will typically soothe babies enough for them to stop crying.

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7. The Temperature Is Uncomfortable

If you feel too hot or cold, you can walk over to the thermostat and adjust it. However, a baby is at the mercy of their environment and can feel miserable if they are overheated or chilled. To check for this possibility, you should feel your baby’s stomach. If it seems hot or cold, make the necessary adjustments. Alternatively, you can rely on new technology such as an electronic patch to monitor their body temperature so that they do not even need to get the point of crying before you become aware that a thermostat change is needed. You will also want to keep your baby’s room at approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) while they are sleeping. In most cases, babies will feel comfortable wearing only one more layer of clothing than adults, so do not overdo it.

8. Something Minor Is Troubling Them

Very minor inconveniences that most adults can merely ignore could cause your baby to become extremely unhappy. A prime example is that some babies will cry because of a clothing tag, the amount of light in the room or the type of fabric that they are wearing. Additionally, a common problem is getting a single hair wrapped too tightly around a finger or toe. To an adult, this would not be a very big deal, but to a baby, it can actually cut off their circulation. Look for any small things that could be bothering your baby, and take corrective action to help soothe away their tears.

No parent will ever be able to magically relax their baby on the first try every single time they cry, but learning how to utilize all of the previously listed techniques should definitely be on your must-know list. After all, having these tips at your arsenal should make it easier to identify and soothe your baby’s sudden bursts of unhappiness as they occur.

Featured photo credit: Morgan via flic.kr

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Published on September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

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