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Crying for babies usually peaks at six weeks and then gradually fades.

There is one thing all babies have in common, and that’s a tendency to cry. At first all cries will sound the same, but, gradually, you will hear how the “I’m hungry” cry is very different from the “I’m tired” cry.

According to Darcia Narvaez, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, these are 11 of the most common reasons why babies cry.

1. Hunger

Keep a regular schedule of feeding times to avoid this issue.

2. Sleepiness

Even if it’s not baby’s usual naptime, if she seems tired, go ahead and put her down.

3. Dirty diaper

Do a quick check to determine if diaper discomfort is to blame.

4. Need to burp

If you notice baby crying right after feeding, he needs to be burped. Many babies may also need to be burped after sucking a pacifier, having the hiccups or crying.

5. Tummy troubles

According to Preeti Parikh, a pediatrician at Pediatrics of New York, “Hold baby on the left side or on her stomach to help with digestion. If baby is gassy, bicycle her legs and push them up to her chest to help relieve the gas.”

6. Teething

Signs of teething are excessive drooling and gnawing on anything within reach. Try giving baby a gum massage or letting him chew on frozen or refrigerated teethers.

7. Overstimulation

Overstimulation can occur when the baby is getting passed around by aunts and uncles at a family party or toted along to the grocery store.

8. Need for attention

You should have baby spend some quiet alert time on a playmat or in a safe baby swing or bouncer from time to time.

9. Illness

If your little one is feeling ill, look for symptoms like fever, vomiting, lack of weight gain and bring it to your pediatrician’s attention.

10. General discomfort

If your child is still unhappy after napping and being fed, burped and changed, inspect for itchy tags or other small things that could be wrong.

11. Colic

Colic is defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a condition where an otherwise healthy infant cries more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks in a row.

If you still have a crying baby after checking for all the common culprits mentioned above, try the “Five S’s”—general soothing techniques pediatrician Harvey Karp outlines in his book “Happiest Baby on the Block:”

♦ Swaddle. Wrap them in a snug (but not too tight!) swaddle with baby’s arms at her side.

♦ Side or stomach position. Hold baby on his side or on his tummy over your arm. Both positions can help resolve gas and other tummy issues.

♦ Shush. Make a gentle shushing sound directly into baby’s ear, which is like the noises she heard in the womb.

♦ Swing. Try swinging or gently jiggling baby to get him to calm down, while always taking care to support baby’s head and neck.

♦ Suck. A lot of fussy babies deeply relax when they suck on something. Try nursing or using a pacifier once baby starts to calm down a bit.

When your baby won’t stop crying, it is important to develop some strategies for taking care of yourself.

Recognize your limits. Pay attention to internal warning signs when you are feeling overwhelmed. Plan a break, an excursion outside, or a quick pep talk from a friend or loved one.

Reach out for support. Say yes when people offer to help with housework, meals, or babysitting.

Remember that time is on your side. For most babies, crying peaks at six weeks and then gradually eases off.

Parenting is not about perfection. Don’t worry about getting it exactly right all the time. Instead, try to relax and enjoy the times when your baby isn’t crying.

Mary Migliaro is an educator, parenting mentor and consultant who lives in Cherokee County.

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