Mother and Baby

SOS: Your Baby Won't Stop Crying

Completely and utterly exhausted by your baby’s crying and tried every trick in the book to get her to stop? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you stop those waterworks…

As a new mum, you can’t possibly be expected to know exactly what each of your baby’s cries mean. But, before you reach the end of your tether, go through this checklist of each thing that could be upsetting her and we’ll help you get to the root of the problem.

1. Has your baby been unwell?

If your baby hasn’t been well, then she may still be feeling the effects. Check that you’ve been following your GP’s advice and seek medical help if it seems her condition is worsening.

2. Does she have a temperature?

Take her temperature and see what it reveals. If her temperature is above 38.5°C, then it may indicate your baby is feverish and it’s advisable to see a GP.

3. Is she in any respiratory distress?

Check to see if your baby’s breathing patterns are regular. Put your ear close to her mouth and listen. If her breathing’s irregular, she could have bronchiolitis or a common cold.

4. Does she have a rash?

A rash with no other symptoms may just be a minor skin irritation, but a rash combined with a temperature could indicate something else – such as measles, chickenpox or possibly meningitis. If the rash is persistent, see a GP.

5. Is she still feeding?

A good way to tell if a baby is unwell is by seeing if she’ll still feed normally. If she doesn’t want to feed, then give it a while and try again. If that doesn’t work, chances are she’s not feeling right and it’s best to consult your GP.

6. Is her urine and poo output normal?

Check what’s in your baby’s nappy every so often. If she’s feeding normally, your baby should have up to 10 wet diapers a day. She could be crying because she needs a change or a wash.

7. Does she have colic?

Long bursts of crying along with no other symptoms may indicate colic

8. Is she too hot or cold?

If your baby is sweating or her tummy feels hot, she may be overheating. Remove some layers and see if it makes a difference. If she’s too cold, she may be writhing around in her cot, trying to warm herself up. Try holding her close to you and gently rocking her or tucking her baby blanket safely over her.

9. Does she need to be winded?

Arching her back is a big sign that your baby needs to be winded. You’ll instantly relieve her by winding her correctly.

10. Is she tired?

Turn off the lights and leave the room for a while to see if it helps her settle herself and drop off. If that doesn’t work, try some soothing techniques.

11. Does she want attention?

If your baby screams even louder when you’re close and reaches her arms towards you then there’s a good chance that she simply wants some attention from you. Try singing or talking to her and some skin-to-skin contact can work a treat. 

Expert information provided by Dr Tim Ubhi, consultant paediatrician for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.


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