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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 December 14, 2018

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

Reference

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