The first day I returned to work after maternity leave, I had not even said “hello” to my boss yet when my newborn spit up all over his desk. Did I mention that it was also his birthday? “Happy Birthday,” I said, as he stared at his puke-laden papers. “I thought I’d save you from having to do all of this work so you could leave early today.” Fortunately, my boss had a great sense of humor.
Over the past several weeks, we have been exploring possible reasons for baby cries. By now maybe you are still trying to discover what is bothering your precious, albeit screaming, baby.
Acid reflux scores high on the Baby Cry Checklist. The good news is that this messy problem usually disappears by 9-10 months of age. In the meantime, you will have more wardrobe changes than an Oscars host. To alleviate some of your baby’s discomfort, never lay a baby down flat immediately after a feeding.
After the burp, you should try to hold your baby upright for at least one half hour. Some doctors recommend elevating your baby’s head in the crib, but most babies roll around too much for this to be effective. And no, you may not use Velcro or duct tape.
All three of our babies had acid reflux and taught me the true purpose of the burp cloth, which many parents believe protects their clothes from spit up. The burp cloth actually gives a GPS (Gastrointestinal Positioning System) signal that tells your baby the one place to AVOID while spitting up. You can wear a burp cloth over your shoulder, but you’d be better off wearing a giant bull’s-eye somewhere else on your body. On the positive side, you’ll get to buy a new wardrobe once your baby grows out of this stage.
Stimulation. Another reason your baby may be crying is if she is over or under stimulated. Many parents have more baby toys than a Babies R Us stock room. The Spartans of ancient Greece didn’t have time for toys; they were too busy training to be soldiers. What kind of champions could your kids become if you don’t over-stimulate them hundreds of toys?
When you are alone with your baby all day, don’t feel as though you have to constantly entertain her. No one cares if there is an awkward pause in the conversation – you are the only one talking. There is no need to take it to the extreme, performing show tunes and even hiring Paula Abdul for the choreography. This behavior is usually more for the mom’s entertainment than the baby’s.
If you are in the middle of a rousing rendition of “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music, don’t be surprised when your baby starts to cry. When you stop singing to wonder if she simply does not appreciate the greatness of Julie Andrews, she will stop crying. That is your lesson entitled “Babies Do Not Like to Be Over-Stimulated.” The tell-tale signs include: turning the head or eyes away, crying, and of course, pulling the microphone out of your hand.
Babies may also cry if they are too bored from a LACK of stimulation. This does not mean, however, that you should run out and buy all of the latest fancy toys. Babies love the soothing sound of your voice, so read books and sing lullabies (not show tunes). They also prefer packaging over actual toys, as witnessed by millions of parents who spend their savings on a present, only to have their baby eat the wrapping paper and play with the box. And then eat the box. If they paid attention, Gerber could have a very popular new baby food flavor: Cardboard Box.