THE sound of a crying baby is an immediate stress inducer for any new parent – especially when you don’t know why they’re screaming.

It can trigger confidence issues, derail social plans and be detrimental to bonding.

But baby expert and author Danielle Robbins tells Fabulous just how parents can help overcome the issue – and it could mean always knowingexactly what your baby needs.

Here are three things to consider if your baby won't stop crying and what you should be doing to help.

1. They have wind

What not to do:

Forget to burp them, shake the formula, and let them drain a bottle.

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What to do instead:

Winding newborns is important, says Danielle, especially pre-feed.

“Their tummies are so tiny, any trapped air can be really uncomfortable, and a pre-burp can mean a better feed," she explain.

Meanwhile, a little wind release after a feed means a much more contented baby.

Instead of shaking formula before giving it to your baby, which allows more air in the bottle, it’s much better to swirl the mixture to mix it, Danielle explains.

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She says: “If you are expressing or formula feeding your baby, don’t let them drain the bottle right to the end, always try to stop the feed with the teat holding some milk.

“Otherwise baby will start gulping air trying to suckle the milk out of the teat and that air will leave them unsettled and uncomfortable.”

2. They're overstimulated

What not to do:

Introduce a long, drawn-out bedtime routine

What to do instead:

Danielle recommends a short bedtime routine and avoid overstimulating the baby with a long drawn-out routine. This may cause them to become overtired.

“It’s fantastic to get a bedtime routine in early, even for a newborn, as it sets a great foundation for sleep as they grow," she explains.

A baby loves to be able to anticipate what’s happening next, so following the same steps before bed is crucial.

"However that routine, including a bath, doesn’t need to be more than 20-30 minutes as you may risk overstimulating baby," Danielle says.

"And this will cause them to get overtired so keep it short and sweet.”

3. They've been exposed to blue light

What not to do:

Expose them to blue light from devices including phones, TV and nightlights.

What to do instead:

Danielle says to try and encourage red light, like a salt lamp, for example, rather than a blue light nightlight.

"Blue light is really stimulating and blocks the production of melatonin – our sleep hormone," she says.

"So this quick and easy switch, along with keeping baby away from the TV or phone an hour or so before trying to put them to bed, can make a massive difference.”

The five types of cries… and what to do for each

Danielle is a firm believer in the Dunstan technique which helps teach parents how to understand their child’s cries.

According to the expert, there are five types of cries – neh, eh, eairh, heh and owh.

"This is a technique I teach all of my clients and they love it," she tells Fabulous.

"Suddenly they understand and can react to their baby quickly, it takes some of the guesswork out of parenting and injects confidence.”

So here's how you can tell the difference.

1. “NEH” = HUNGER

Danielle says: "A newborn begins to practice moving their tongue behind their teeth in the womb. This is called the sucking reflex and will allow your baby to feed when born.

"When they begin to feel hungry they will make this motion as they start to cry for milk, and this will cause their cry to start with a 'neh' or 'net' sound."

Other more subtle signs you can look for are clenched fists or bringing their hands to their mouths. 

"If you can catch these early signs before they start to get upset, it will help prevent baby from swallowing air during crying which can lead to trapped wind and a more unsettled baby," she says.

2. “EH” = UPPER TRAPPED WIND 

This “eh” sound is caused by the body trying to push air bubbles from the chest. 

Babies that need a burp are often unsettled and cry during a feed, or turn a little red in the face, they may seem unsettled as soon as you lay them down.

Danielle says: "Try holding baby firmly on your right shoulder with their bottom in the middle of your chest, and gently tap or rub baby’s back in a circular motion.

"This tilts baby on their left side and will help release trapped wind."

Another technique is to place baby in a seated posture, upright on your lap supporting the head in the front (never holding baby’s neck) and supporting baby’s back with your other hand.

"Slowly move the whole body in a small, circular motion to the left and then to the right – this will usually get a good burp," Danielle explains.

Burping may take an extra 10 minutes but it’s worth it as it prevents baby from waking a couple of hours later in a lot of pain.

3. “EAIRH” = LOWER TRAPPED WIND  

"This sound is a really elongated 'e' sound," explains Danielle.

"Typically baby will have an open mouth as they cry, their tongue will be held back in the mouth and their belly will feel tense. "

Other signs your baby has lower trapped wind is they often bring their knees to their tummy and grimace.

"To ease this you could bathe baby in a warm bath, lots of gently cycling legs to help trapped air move through the digestive system," says Danielle.

"I highly recommend a baby massage class for babies that are gassy because there are so many strokes that will ease symptoms and soothe baby."

4. “HEH” = GENERAL DISCOMFORT  

This "Heh" sound at the beginning of your baby's cry is to grab your attention that something isn't right.  

"It might be they are feeling uncomfortable with a wet nappy or they feel cold," Danielle says.

She adds: "This one will take a little guesswork but you might find after a while that little one develops their own variations of 'heh' sound, one for cold or hot, for example."

5. “OWH” = TIRED  

This sound is created by the mouth moving in the shape of a yawn and an exhale, Danielle explains.

Other subtle signs your baby may be tired are pinkish eyebrows and glazed stares.

Danielle says: "They often start to turn their face away from moving objects and people.

"Catching these very subtle signs will prevent baby from getting overtired and allow you to settle them more easily."

Danielle offers Newborn Nurture Workshops to help parents navigate those first few months with practical hints and tips, both in person and online – find out more at Nurture Nook Essex.

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