You’ve tried all of the obvious things – Baby isn’t hungry, their diaper is dry and clean, and they don't seem to be gassy or need burping, but they just won't stop crying. Baby cries to try to communicate, though, so after those more obvious potential problems get ruled out, it’s time to start thinking at the next level.
It’s a big, bad world out there
Baby has been out in the world a few months now, but they are still closer to brand-new than they ever will be again, and sometimes just being out and about is enough to feel like too much to them. Baby might be feeling overstimulated and like too much is going on, which you can help with by moving to somewhere quiet and holding them gently. They could also be missing the constant rocking motion of being carried around inside your body, or the white noise of the womb all around them, or the constant sense of another heartbeat nearby. Things like white-noise machines, an ultra-supervised visit to a buzzing washer or dryer, a trip in the car, or just a walk around the block in your arms, held against your chest could all help Baby get that feeling back.
Hot and cold
Baby is young enough not to have fully mastered the fine art of regulating their own temperature, which means that they are at your mercy for help adding or removing layers if they find themself getting a little too warm or a bit chilly. It’s normal to try to keep Baby bundled to whatever degree keeps you comfortable in the same environment, but Baby is a different person with a different personal physiology, which could run hotter or colder than yours. It could take some trial and error to figure out how Baby is feeling, but you’ll get there before long. Just remember that basing your idea of their temperature on the way their hands and feet feel won’t be totally accurate, as extremities tend to run a little colder. Baby’s belly temperature is a much better indication of how they might be feeling.
Baby loves you
And because they love you so much, sometimes when they are away from you, they cry to be near you. Baby’s first few months of existence were spent in constant physical contact, and since they have been out in the world, you and your partner have been their favorite people. Sometimes when Baby cries, they just want to know that you’re close. Wearing them around the house in a sling sometimes can stop this problem before it even starts.
It could be that Baby is just bored – and unlike you, they doesn&;t have the option of flipping open a book, putting a movie on Netflix, or even making themself focus on getting a slightly annoying chore done while they have some free time – they depend on you for entertainment. Luckily, they also isn&;t too demanding of an audience. A brightly colored toy to look at, or even just a walk around the living room with you could clear that boredom right up!
Even before Baby starts to actually teethe, they are preparing for those incoming teeth beneath the surface of their gums, which can lead to some discomfort.
Growing pains – literally
You know that Baby is growing every day – you’re watching it happen before your eyes. What you might not know, because you weren’t exactly building lasting memories yet when you were little enough to be experiencing the same thing, is that growing bones at that kind of speed hurts. This kind of pain isn’t necessarily something you can do anything about, but just being with you and being soothed by you, even if you can’t make it stop, reassures Baby that you’re there, and they are safe. These cries aren’t any fun for you, but just remember, it’s even harder for Baby.
Potential health problems
If Baby is consistently crying and also has a fever, or is having digestive issues like vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, call the doctor to make sure nothing more serious is wrong. High-pitched cries or screams are often signs of pain, so take a look around for bug bites, a hair tourniquet, fever, or rumbling tummy. If you start to notice a consistent pattern in Baby’s crying, but can’t find a cause, like if Baby cries after eating, that could also be a sign that something isn’t quite right, and that it’s time to check in with Baby’s doctor.