Babies cry for many reasons. It’s the main way they communicate, capture your attention and express their needs. At first, it may be difficult to interpret your baby’s different cries, but as you spend more time listening, you will become better at understanding and meeting your baby’s needs.
Some common reasons babies cry includes tiredness, wet or dirty nappy, hunger, overstimulation, colic or reflux. Tresillian Nurse, Sharon Donaldson, shares top five tips for settling a tired baby for sleep:
Be patient with yourself & your baby. 🕒 Settling can take time. Stay consistent. Learning how to go to sleep is a skill babies usually develop during the first year of life with help from their parents. Like most skills, it takes time and varies for each baby. Use gentle rhythmic patting, rocking and soft singing before putting baby into the cot. These consistent repetitions signal sleep and relaxation. It takes time and patience but it’s worth the effort.
Provide a safe sleeping environment and place your baby on their back. Sleep your baby with their head and face uncovered and keep in a smoke free environment before and after birth and after. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day, and have your baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult for the first six to twelve months. I recommend breastfeeding baby. (SIDS guidelines)
Respond to your baby’s cues and try to settle your baby in their cot. Responsive settling is recognising that your baby needs help and sensitive responses. Responding early to your baby’s tired signs, which can include grizzling, frowning, jerky movements, becoming over active, rubbing eyes and crying, will help prevent your baby becoming distressed and makes it easier to get baby to sleep. 💤
Don’t be discouraged if nothing you’ve tried is working. If your baby becomes or stays distressed pick your baby up for a cuddle until calm or asleep before putting back in the cot. And if your baby isn’t settling at all in the cot, or can’t resettle in their cot, then it’s time to stop and put your baby in their pram and go for a walk.
Don’t be afraid to call someone for help, or to give you a hand. Support is available. If you don’t know what to do or you just don’t feel right, you should seek support. There is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed! Call someone you trust, such as a family member or a close friend. Support in the community includes your local Early Childhood Health Nurse or GP, Day Stay or Home Visiting services and residential programs such as Tresillian. Parent helplines are available including Tresillian Parent Helpline on 1300 272 736. Speak to your Early Childhood Health Nurse or GP to see what supports are available in your local area.