For Crying Babies

Words: Dr Miranda CASTRO

A baby’s cry is one of nature’s loudest sounds. At 80-85 decibels, it is as loud as an unmuffled truck, not far below the pain threshold. Some babies cry more than others; those who do cry usually settle down within 3-6 months. This is a long time in the life of a new parent. It is easy to understand how parents become desperate and frayed around the edges.

Babies have different cries — a grating scream, a constant whining, a miserable moaning, a shrill wail, which can drive their parents mad. Some cry more during the day, only really settling when they are being fed, or carried; others cry more at night, waking an unbelievable number of times. And, some poor unfortunate parents have babies that cry day and night.

Mothers, who are woken every hour, or two, by screaming, inconsolable babies soon become worn out. These babies seem to know, instinctively, the point at which their mothers are drifting into deep sleep. It is perfectly understandable, and not at all unusual, for mother and baby to end up howling together in the early hours of the morning.

Crying is your baby’s first ‘language,’ and mothers soon get to know when a cry means, ‘I’m hungry,’ ‘I’m wet and cold,’ “I’m hurting,’ or ‘Please pick me up, I want a cuddle, I’m bored.’ It is the scores of other cries and not knowing why they are crying that can be so frustrating for mother, father, and baby. ‘Why is my baby crying? Why do some babies cry a lot?’

Your baby may be having a growth spurt; these happen at regular intervals during the first year, at three weeks, 5-6 weeks, 3-6 months and your baby will be hungrier then. Breastfed babies will want to feed more often at a time when you thought life was getting easier. Spend a few days building up your milk supply and your baby will soon settle down.

Your baby may be colicky: especially, if they started crying a few days after the birth, or they may be getting sick with an illness, such as chickenpox, or even a cold. They may be sensitive to cow’s milk; whether they are bottle-fed, or breastfed. Ask your health visitor’s advice about changing to a soy, or goat’s milk formula if you suspect your bottle-fed baby is sensitive to cow’s milk. If you are breastfeeding, your breastfeeding counsellor can help you sort out what it is that you are eating that may be upsetting your baby.

They may be thirsty, or wanting to comfort suck. Some babies become cranky when they are over-fed, or thirsty. Offer a little water [on a spoon, if you are breastfeeding and your baby is small], if you suspect your baby is thirsty, or a pacifier if your baby just wants to suck, or some Chamomile tea [unsweetened], if they are overtired and irritable, or fennel or dill tea, if their tummy is upset.

Some babies cry more when their parents are upset, especially if their mother is suffering from post-natal depression. A difficult birth, whether it was long, fast, premature, or a forceps, or Caesarean delivery, can leave some babies shocked and upset. A combination of homeopathy and cranial osteopathy can help such babies a lot.

What Can Mothers Do 

Some mothers find their entire life is ruled by their baby’s crying and that they aren’t managing to get anything done. Your baby’s crying may make you feel frustrated and incompetent and ‘like howling’ as well. Let yourself have a good cry; it will help to release physical and emotional tension.

Most babies are soothed by being carried in a soft sling. Being close to you helps your baby to feel safe and secure, similar to when you carried them in the womb. They can hear your heartbeat and are lulled by your movements. This is a wonderful way to be able to continue with your activities while providing for your baby.

Tribal mothers make good use of this wise method.

Have an evening out, without the baby. Leave them with a trusted friend, or relative, who is calm and

confident and has your telephone in case they can’t cope. Some babies need a change of company too and will settle with someone else, especially if you have become tense and anxious.

Get help, if you are desperate, or if you are feeling guilty, or blaming yourself for having a difficult baby, or if you end up howling too often. Talk to a counsellor, or call one of the help lines in your area. Or, better still, a professional homeopath. You do not need to suffer on your own; it is a sign of strength to ask for help, not weakness, or failure.

What About Fathers 

Fathers can find it difficult to cope with their crying babies too, feeling powerless to help and pushed out and neglected by their harassed partners. It is terribly important that partners make time for each other, to talk about what is happening, so that they can comfort each other.

Distractions For Cry Babies 

Noise. Play your baby the music you listened to when you were in pregnancy; or, try a range of music to find out what your baby likes. Some enjoy loud rock music, or Wagner operas, others prefer Chopin or folk, or soft, soulful music. Desperate mums have found that the vacuum cleaner, or the food processer can soothe a screaming baby.

Sights. Put your baby in front of a front-loading washing machine [or, dryer]. Some babies are mesmerised by the action. Put interesting things [pictures, hanging things, soft toys] in their cot and pram, and change them frequently.

Movement. Go for a car, bus, or train ride. The movement sends some babies straight to sleep.

Fresh air. Get out in some fresh air. Some babies [and, mothers] need a daily walk to feel relaxed, whatever the weather.

Change of scenery. Visit a friend, or go shopping. Some babies, and many more mothers, become cranky when bored.

Get into [not too] hot water. Give your baby a warm bath if they like it by candlelight, or better still, have one with them. Be careful getting in and out of the bath with your baby, or better still ask a friend, or partner, to help.

Seek help. It is important that you ask your doctor to check that there isn’t anything wrong with your crying baby, especially if they were formerly contented. Their crying may signal an earache, or sore throat, or colic.

Homeopathic Remedies 

Observe your baby carefully and match their picture with the homeopathic remedies below. If you can’t, or if the remedy you give doesn’t work, take your baby to a professional homeopath who can prescribe for both of you to help with this stressful time in your lives.

Angry, impatient babies. This baby is restless, angry and impatient. When they are hungry they want to feed now. They are hard to please… asking for things that they don’t want; once you give them to them, they may even throw them down. They want to be carried and cry loudly when you stop moving, or put them down. When angry they may hit anyone who is carrying them. They cry more when they are in pain and/or when they are teething.

Homeopathic remedy: Chamomilla.

Irritable, serious babies. This baby is serious, irritable and difficult to live with. They know what they want and are cross if they don’t get it. They are especially irritable on waking, in the morning, or after a nap, when they kick and scream. They sleep well at night but are miserable and cry all day. They have great trouble digesting their feeds and are windy.

Homeopathic remedy: Lycopodium clavatum.

Jumpy, nervous babies. This is a clingy baby who hates downward movement and will scream on being rocked, or even when put down in their cot. If as asleep when you put her down, they will wake up. They can wake screaming for no apparent reason. They are nervous, easily startled by sudden noises [such as sneezing, or the hoover], even in their sleep. They cry a lot more before passing a stool and are cheerful afterwards.

Homeopathic remedy: Borax.

Clingy, whiny babies. This baby is whiny and clingy and wants to be carried all the time. They are gentle babies who love cuddles and attention and become miserable if separated from mum and also when unwell, or while teething. They cry more in a hot, stuffy atmosphere and are much happier in the fresh air.

Homeopathic remedy: Pulsatilla.

Clingy, frightened babies. This baby hasn’t recovered from the birth, is clingy, frightened and restless. They may have one, or more, of the following fears: darkness, water, animals, dogs and strangers. They have bad nightmares and wake up screaming, ‘knowing no one.’

Homeopathic remedy: Stramonium.

Discontented, sluggish babies. This baby becomes worn out after a growth spurt. They are irritable, hard to please and sluggish. They don’t gain weight well and are thin and pale. They are especially miserable while teething; this seems to go on forever, without any results.

Homeopathic remedy: Calcarea phosphoricum.

Colicky, irritable babies. This baby is irritable, difficult, restless, and doesn’t want to play. They cry a lot, especially at night when they don’t want to sleep. They seem to survive on little sleep; their parents however, do not. They are pale and colicky with a sour smell to their sweat and stools.

Homeopathic remedy: Rheum.

Dr MIRANDA CASTRO, a homeopath of international repute, who retired from active clinical practice, in 2020, researched classical homeopathy for 40 years. A Fellow of the Society of Homeopaths [UK] and past president of the North American Society of Homeopaths [NASH], she was a much-sought-after speaker, teaching on both sides of the Atlantic for over 30 years+. A prolific writer, Dr Castro has written numerous books and papers for the professional homeopath, besides hundreds of articles for the homeopathic home prescriber. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, US [Subject Photo, Courtesy: John Foxx/FreeImages]

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