If you are left in charge of a small infant and it starts to cry then you need to calmly assess the situation and take appropriate remedial action. Unfortunately there are no reliable diagnostics to accurately indicate the source of the problem. However, the most common causes of crying and the actions you should take are listed below:
- Baby has wind. This is a common issue especially after feeding. Action: Lift baby to shoulder so that he (or she) is facing behind you. Walk up and down while gently tapping baby on the back. A burp represents a successful outcome and will normally resolve the problem.
- Baby needs changing. Every 3 hours or so the filter system known in the US as a diaper and in the UK as a nappy needs to be changed. Action: Lie baby on its back. Remove diaper (nappy). Thoroughly clean affected area with wet wipes. Fit a clean diaper. Dispose of dirty diaper responsibly. Wash hands.
- Baby is hungry or thirsty. Babies operate best on a full stomach. Action: Offer water or milk in a bottle. If appropriate supply baby food until baby is full. Then apply step 1 above.
- Baby is tired. Action: Walk baby up and down (see item 1 above) until crying stops and then place in cot in darkened room. Tuck in and leave. If walking does not stop crying then try vehicular motion. Put baby in pushchair and walk up and down. If that fails then take baby in car in suitable restraint and drive around until baby stops crying and falls asleep.
- Baby is teething. This is often the hardest problem to resolve. Action: Rub a proprietary gel designed for teething babies on the affected gums. Give baby firm smooth object to chew on – e.g. a spoon or toothbrush. Get supply of tissues to clear up extra baby dribbling.
- Baby continues to cry and evidently has some terrible affliction that requires immediate hospitalisation. Action: Although this is possible it is highly unlikely – despite the fact that the baby continues to cry. Get second opinion. Try repeating actions 1 to 5 above. If all else fails return baby to mother.