Dealing with Irritability in Infants

Tackling Irritable Behaviour in Babies

A change in baby’s behaviour is often a signal of illness. However, the baby might also get irritable due to other reasons like hunger or fatigue. Parents need to know the causes of such mood swings in their child, which will eventually make it easier for them to handle their babies well.

Infants are extremely cute, playful and cuddly, but even they are prone to mood swings like adults . A baby who seems to be happy one moment might get irritable all of a sudden. If parents are aware of the reasons for such mood swings dealing with difficult situations becomes a simple and calm affair.

Signs of Irritability in Babies

Look out for the below signs to know if your baby is irritable:

  • Your baby is neither cheerful and nor showing any interest in play.
  • She is not nursing from the breast/bottle.
  • She has been crying for more than an hour.
  • She is exhibiting these signs at frequent intervals.

Reasons that make the Baby Irritable

It is very difficult to determine why a baby is getting irritable, as there can be many reasons. Some common ones are:

  • The baby is hungry or hasn’t been fed sufficiently
  • The baby is facing issues with digestion or is having heartburn
  • She is having a diaper rash
  • Her diaper is wet
  • The baby is teething.
  • The baby is tired and unable to rest.

Crying is the baby’s way of communicating her troubles to her parents. Her inability to do so makes her even more irritable. Sickness is another reason why babies are irritable.

How can Parents Determine the Cause of their Child’s Irritable Behaviour?

Spending time with their babies helps parents to understand the reasons for their baby’s irritability. These common clues might help parents to figure out why their baby is crying.

  • Crying during meal times indicates that the baby is still hungry.
  • If the baby seems irritable on waking up, it might mean that he did not get adequate sleep.
  • Babies crying during or after being fed indicates that they are unable to digest food.
  • Babies rubbing their ears could be suffering from cold.
  • A baby unable to fall asleep indicates that he is totally exhausted.

Child’s Irritable Behaviour

Treatment of Irritability

Handling irritable babies depends upon a number of things, the first being finding the reason for the baby’s bad mood. The below methods work very well in most of the cases:

  • Using a pacifier or dummy to soothe the baby
  • Swaddling the baby in blankets
  • Trying rhythmic sounds or singing a lullaby
  • Taking the baby out for a drive
  • Trying rhythmic patting movements by keeping the baby on the lap.

In most cases, baby’s irritability is due to discomfort, hunger or exhaustion. In rare cases, there might be something serious troubling the baby. If the baby refuses to eat or shows persistent signs of diarrhea and throws up, he might be suffering some severe illness. High fever also makes babies irritable. In such cases, the baby’s doctor should be consulted immediately. Understanding your baby’s irritability is the first step towards ensuring his cheerfulness.

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