Child's cry: Why is the baby crying?

Children cry for many different reasons. Crying or protesting when you try to put them in a wrap or a carrier does not automatically mean that the problem lies in the babywearing aid. They might be hurt by anything, or just feeling moody at the moment.

Babies are “used to” be carried seeing that you already carried them during the whole pregnancy. The basis of babywearing lies in contact that children require and desperately need. Carriers and wraps are just aids to secure the immediate contact during various activities of your everyday life.

Try to watch the signals that lead the baby to crying, thus showing that it does not like something. There might be many reasons:

The baby is crying when being put in a carrier/wrap

  • The tightening is too strong. Some children need to be tightened more, some less. Try to tighten slowly and watch the reaction of your child and according to its need adjust the strength of the whole tightening.
  • It also might depend on the “phase” in which you put your baby in the wrap. It might be too tired or just wants to do another activity – e.g. urinate/defecate or be breastfed, etc. You can offer breastfeeding to your baby in a wrap to soothe it. Children that are carried immediately after birth do usually calm down in seconds after being put in a wrap or a carrier.
  • Children who are not carried immediately after birth but, e.g. after several months, might protest because they do not know what is going on with them. They have no idea you are trying to put them in a position that used to soothe them for 9 months and which they already have known well. It seems like they have to experience it again and remember.
  • Some prefer wraps, others might prefer a carrier. Sometimes what helps is to change the babywearing aid and the child miraculously stops crying. Carriers usually have a set width of the fabric / wrap between legs and this prevents the babies in their natural capability of spreading their legs wide (this is mostly related to small babies, thus it is recommended for children under 3 months to be carried in a wrap) – except for adjustable carriers. The wrap can be adjusted to fit your baby perfectly, however sometimes the baby might prefer a carrier.
  • They need to see more. Children who are bigger and more curious (you can spot this with a 3 months old children already) do not want to be put in the front position when not sleeping, they want to watch the environment around them. They might show discomfort either when being put into the wrap/carrier or after several minutes in there. In this case we recommend wearing your baby on your hip or back.
  • Impatience. With smaller babies it is very often their impatience to be breastfed as soon as possible. We recommend to offer your breast already during wrapping. The bigger ones might feel discomfort during the “never-ending wrapping”. In these situations it is better to choose a babywearing aid that is quick to use (full buckle carrier, Ring Sling)
  • Closeness of the mother and stimulation of sucking. The physical closeness of a mother stimulates the need to suck. That is why babywearing is recommended during nursing strike. We recommend the same as previously stated – to offer your breast already during wrapping.

Offering your breast on the very beginning of wrapping lowers the stress of the child and you can even better detect its signals and adapt to them.

Another very effective way to calm down a crying baby is to put the child into the babywearing aid the best it is possible for that moment (no matter if it is in a right position or not – when being in your arms protesting, it is not in ideal position either) and immediately go outside – even the balcony helps – just change the environment. Fresh air, movement, swinging, slight jumping, monotony or breastfeeding in a carrier or a wrap – this all really helps a lot. As soon as the baby calms down, you can re-position it into the “right”, ergonomic position in a wrap or a carrier.

If you are a beginner, be sure to use these methods when exercising wrapping. It will ease your initial stress from wrapping technique. A baby cry stimulates your stress hormone and makes you unable to concentrate on wrapping or watching signals until all these activities become fully automatic for you.
Detský plač: Prečo dieťa v šatke plače poppy grey

When the baby is crying after several minutes of being carried

Your baby was all content and happy when being put into a wrap, however after several minutes it shows a discomfort. It might even fall asleep, but wakes up with a great cry. This might be caused by several reasons:
  • The baby might have been in a certain stage of a sleep, something woke it up and the baby got scared. It needs to calm down again. Breastfeeding, swinging, singing might do it.
  • Bad dream, processing stimuli. Breastfeeding, swinging, singing might do it.
  • Sudden feeling of discomfort related to urination/defecation, bloating, processing of food/breast milk and the following burping. The current position of the baby might cause a discomfort to the baby. Try to lift it up a little by your hands. If there is no progress or release (in the form of a burp, breaking wind or emptying the intestines) and children refuses breastfeeding, put it out of the babywearing aid. In this moment usually the true cause shows off. Some children cry when they need to urinate/defecate and are being situated on a mother because their basic instinct does not let them to do so on her body (more can be found under EC - Elimination Communication). When the baby is relieved, do not be afraid to put it back into the wrap or a carrier.
  • Temperature changes. The child might be too hot or cold in the wrap. In the first case we recommend to choose a more breathable wrap, try a more permeable carry (kangaroo, short cross carry, front cross carry, Ring Sling, rucksack carry for a back or back cross carry; in principle choose single-layered carries that enable ventilation from sides) or to use a carrier that also enables ventilation from sides. In second case we recommend to cover the child with another layer of warm clothing – babywearing jacket, babywearing hoodie, babywearing cover.

There might be really many reasons why your baby is crying. It is up to you to watch the signals and find out what exactly is behind the discomfort. Moreover, it does not have to be the same reason all the time – once the baby might have cold feet, other times it can get scared, or need to pee, etc.…and, of course, it might easily be something totally else.

A strong, unceasing cry that takes place not only in a babywearing aid needs to be solved otherwise, because its reason might lie in the prenatal period. The psychology of crying can be further researched in many books, for example Naomi Aldort - “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves”. This relates to new-born babies as well as infants and older children.

Even though babywearing, just like breastfeeding, is the most natural thing for children, sometimes problem might occur. With sufficient help, respect and love, this “problem” might be solved instantly or with time.