Baby crying : what to do ?
11:05 p.m. 2:30 p.m. Then 3:17. At 7 o’clock, your features are drawn, your ears are ringing, your body weighs a ton. No doubt, you are a young parent and your baby woke up crying several times last night.
You tried everything to appease him. Running out of inspiration, you mixed “Sweet Night” and “London Calling” a cappella: nothing helped, your baby screamed even louder. Well. What shall we do now ?
Understanding your baby's crying
A priori, we cannot appease what we do not understand. Young mothers and young fathers therefore spend many hours seeking to understand, to find answers to their concerns, with their families, with their virtual circle. Each child is unique, and so is each filial relationship. One could argue, however, that two main causes emerge to explain crying babies.
Babies don’t scheming: they call because they only have you. They don’t “want”: they have “need” above all. When you think that you are helpless in the face of your little one’s crying, ask yourself if his basic needs are satisfied: hunger, thirst, cold, pain.
Put back that bottle he didn’t want three hours ago. Adjust the room temperature. Change his diaper. Last but not least: check that no metal closure is hurting it, or that a little toe has not been bent when putting on the pajamas.
Emotional needs aren’t secondary – they’re vital for your baby’s growth. If he is crying, it may be because he needs your reassuring presence, your loving arms.
Twenty years ago, the idea arose that once your physiological needs were met, babies should be allowed to cry. So that they “harden themselves”, find a way to calm themselves down, not be “dependent” on their mother. Of course, this belief has a history: it runs against a tradition of motherhood as unconstrained dedication that is uniquely feminine. But wanting to hasten the independence of babies is to deny an essential dimension of their development: they can only be built if they have this emotional security, they will only overcome their fears if they know you are nearby.
Understand ... that we cannot understand
It is necessary to ask ourselves if our baby’s crying expresses physiological or emotional needs, to know what to give him to soothe him: bottle or hug, blanket or change.
But was this the correct answer? You will never be quite sure, since babies do not have a voice … All that remains is to understand the most difficult: to understand that you do not understand everything. Crying babies herald the coming riddle: your child is an Other whom you will sometimes misinterpret. But his tears will only dry by your hands.
"It is necessary to ask ourselves whether our baby's crying expresses physiological or emotional needs, to know what to give him to soothe him: a bottle or a hug, a blanket or a change."
What to do ?
This is all very well, but a parent woken up by their baby crying in the middle of the night doesn’t feel like philosophizing. He needs an answer right now. How are the other parents doing? They know! – we believe. Here is a small anthology of answers to the question: what to do with your baby’s crying?
Most parents hug their crying babies. A word of advice on this subject: don’t lift your little one under the arms like a bundle in a clamp. Keeping it under the feet or under the buttocks will already be reassuring for him.
Many parents rock their babies. So there you have it! Some people say that rocking a child with a figure of eight is sure to fall asleep. In question ? the “intoxicating” movement this causes in the baby’s inner ear. You can try the baby carrier, or the sling, very enveloping for toddlers. The advantage of these two techniques is that you have free rein: you can do other things at the same time.
You can also walk your baby against you in the room, or even outside. The pendulum of the walk will have a calming effect, not to mention the nocturnal rustle of the outside to which your little one will certainly listen. Do you want to dance? Success guaranteed for your baby.
The sense of touch is the first to develop in the fetus, before sight and even before hearing. It is the most primary of our senses. Cuddling his baby, stroking his hair, his back, is to reassure him deeply. It seems that stroking from the forehead to the tip of the nose automatically makes babies fall asleep. You will judge …
Finally, many parents sing lullabies to their babies. You claim to know none? Are you singing out of tune? It doesn’t matter: your baby will be reassured by the repetition of the same syllables, the same tune, and by the vibration that your belly and throat make when you speak to him. He may stop crying … just out of curiosity for what he hears.
But if you are at the end of your tether, without the possibility of passing the baton on to another adult, it is still better to move to another room or even get some fresh air for a few minutes. Better a baby that is let cry after a baby shaken. Although prevention has come a long way, Shaken Baby Syndrome is still doing a lot of damage today.
How to be ?
The “how to” are varied. You will find yours, that’s for sure. Besides, don’t get locked into a “technique”. Vary instinctively.
But still, when nothing soothes the crying of a newborn baby, panic mounts. And there, when you no longer know what to do, there is nothing left but to be. To find, at the very heart of the panic, at the bottom of oneself the calm to transmit to one’s child. The inner balance that we oppose to our childish worries. The basic source that we did not know existed until the day of our baby’s inconsolable cries. It may seem a bit “new age” to read. But it is an experience that we only understand by living it: in this dark night, console a child with the calm that we have just discovered in a new interior space.