Why does a baby cry?

10 reasons why a baby cries and what to do about it

All babies cry! Although we’ve heard this more than once, it’s somehow not comforting. How much can these babies cry? What is normal and when do you need a doctor? And finally, why do babies sometimes weep so frantically and how to calm them down? MedAboutMe is here to help young parents and anyone else who thinks babies cry because they “should.”

Most important: When crying is a cry for help

The average baby up to a year old may cry for 2-3 hours a day. In newborns, it can take all of their waking hours with breaks for food and a few minutes of good cheer. Most often the reasons are clear: the diaper is wet, you want to eat, something scared you. But sometimes children report a less obvious problem by crying.

It is important to remember that crying and crying never just happen. So the first reason for crying we will call a disease: it is always necessary to remember about this possibility. Children do not cry just because they are small. Here are signs that you should definitely call the doctor:

  • crying lasts longer than two hours;
  • body temperature is over 38 ° C (subfebrile to 38 degrees a child may be due to overheating, the same crying, as a reaction to teething, etc.)
  • does not want to eat, although it is exactly time;
  • Vomiting;
  • There is no or little urine, it is dark;
  • there are traces of blood in the feces;
  • No reaction to adults, to touch, sounds, attempts to comfort.

These signs can be symptoms of various illnesses, from acute respiratory infections and otitis media to digestive problems and concussion. It’s important to notice all of these in time and begin treatment.

10 causes of crying and how to deal with it

If there are no dangerous manifestations, the cause may be a quite ordinary situation.


Hunger is no match for the big ones, but the little ones especially. Even if feeding is done according to an established regime, taking into account the desires of the baby, appetite can run wild at the most inopportune moment.

The reason is the undulating rate of growth. Children do not grow gradually, but in sudden stages. And when the next growth spurt is picked up, the baby needs to eat more and more often.

Offer the breast or bottle when crying. As a rule, after a couple of months, parents will begin to understand the sounds a baby makes when he or she says he or she is hungry. Most often it is a monotone, gradually increasing demanding whimper (but it can be different).

Fear .

Fear can be for obvious reasons: a dog barked outside the window, fireworks, a neighbor’s drill. Or maybe the mother was out of sight, or the child fell asleep in your arms, and woke up in the crib. Either way, even the littlest ones can get anxious and scared and report it with tears.

Take the baby in your arms, rock him/her, offer something to suck on: a pacifier, a breast, talk to him/her. Close contact, a familiar voice and something in your mouth (even your own fingers) is enough for most: this way the baby feels safe, as if he is back inside his mom.

If you think that babies get into the bad habit of sucking their fingers only after birth, know this: they do it while they are still in their mother’s womb.

Heat or cold

Such a little, so helpless: how not to wrap it warmer, not to freeze? Don’t scold your grandmothers for suggesting you add a second blanket – it’s our evolutionary legacy from the days when heat sources weren’t as reliable.

There is the opposite extreme: children “must be hardened” from infancy, to leave more often naked in a cool temperature. But both overheating and cold are bad for kids: their body is only beginning to understand thermoregulation. And it reacts to discomfort by crying.

Check that the child is not cold and hot, and change the amount of clothing or blankets. If he is cold, his hands and feet will be cold. If it is hot, his head will be sweaty and his skin will be red.

Physical discomfort.

Not just a wet diaper: believe me, small children can have many other reasons for discomfort, and some of them are not at all obvious. The same diapers can have a tight elastic band or a chafing edge. Clothes may have roughly finished seams.

Hair and threads can wrap around a toe and go unnoticed for so long that they cause serious circulation problems. It’s not all that uncommon: Benjamin Spock wrote about a toe hair as early as Benjamin Spock, and recently American Heather Frick reported on how her two-month-old son was saved by five doctors from having his toes amputated – all because of her hair.

Check the skin, look for chafing, redness, scratches, rashes. Whether the baby has a comfortable position, whether the velcro is not jammed skin folds, a rattle – a finger, whether he himself, in the end, pinched his earlobe with his own head. Babies are capable of much more than that!

Too much or too little freedom.

Some babies like to be wrapped in a diaper – it reminds them of being cramped inside their mom. Others, on the contrary, do not like restrictions. And all this can be a reason for loud crying.

Just check: if the baby is not wrapped up, try free swaddling. If he is in a diaper or in a baby “cocoon,” unwrap it. If the crying stops – you are on the right track!


It is adults who fall asleep from fatigue. Children’s nervous system is only learning how to react properly, so they react to fatigue with excitement, irritation, and crying. It is better, of course, not to bring this – but you can learn this only by experience.

Putting to bed, using all the techniques: with an overexcited baby is better to overdo it. You can swaddle it, take it in your arms or put it in a sling, rock it, give it a breast or a pacifier, make “white noise” (you can download sounds to your smartphone) or hum yourself. Sometimes quite serious measures are required: a walk in a stroller with rocking or a car ride in a car seat.

You need to understand the difference between “rocking the baby” and “shaking”. Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a very dangerous condition that occurs when a baby is shaken sharply or shaken out of helplessness.

According to research (Fetal and Pediatric Pathology), 20 seconds of shaking is enough for SVR. During this time, the head moves sharply from side to side 40-50 times. The brain is subjected to acceleration, as in a high-speed car accident.

All this leads to brain injury with the most unpleasant consequences: developmental delays, seizure syndrome, blindness, death.

Knowing about SVR is important: statistics say that the desire to spank or shake the child occurs in 70% of moms by six months (and at least once spanked 1 out of 20 parents of both sexes). This is something to be aware of the degree of maternal fatigue.

If suddenly this feeling comes up – put the baby to bed and step away. Give yourself a break, leave the room: a loud roar is not as dangerous as a careless action.

Stressful situations

A child may not get tired, but suddenly become overexcited by such familiar stimuli. These, by the way, include the fuss before the New Year with its lights on Christmas trees, unfamiliar smells, calls and guests. But more often children react to visits to stores, playgrounds, and guests.

Notice which situations cause loud crying and avoid them. And if stress occurs, you need to change the environment to a calm one and act in the same way as in case of fatigue.


Colic! One hundred days of crying, horror stories, sleepless nights. They have tons of causes, and the advice (often useless) is even more. Parents of children with colic can shoot entire videos about how crazy walks with legs tucked up and swinging sideways on the side, they have to make with the baby in their arms, just to make him calm down.

And despite all advances in medicine, colic is still a common and unbeaten problem for babies from three weeks to 3-4 months. Stomachache may be due to ingested air, gas, allergies, heartburn and “baby migraine. But the most important reason is the immaturity of the nervous system.

Experts say that colic (if pathological causes are excluded) is nothing more than hypersensitivity of the baby to intestinal contractions. Before, its walls were not forced to move in order to move the food. And after birth, they had to start trying.

By three weeks, babies become aware of this (as well as many other stimuli around) and respond to the still uneven spasms by crying. Therefore, the attacks of “colic crying” are stronger in the evenings: fatigue accumulates during the day and the reaction intensifies.

  • What to do?
  • Carry the baby after a meal “column”, help regurgitate, check the flow in the pacifier on the bottle.
  • Massage the tummy clockwise, let the baby lie on it more often (just not in sleep), put a warm diaper on the tummy, practice skin-to-skin contact: the baby in a diaper lies on his bare torso (works great with dads).
  • Carry in your arms, turn on the “white noise”, that is, do everything so that the nervous reaction is not so bright.
  • And wait. By 3 or 4 months, it goes away on its own.

Of the research-proven (Italian Journal of Pediatrics) ways to relieve colic work:

  • Holding baby at a 45-degree angle for 10-15 minutes after eating;
  • Breastfeeding alternately so that the baby gets more “back” milk;
  • evening feeding, when the mother herself wants to sleep: the sleep hormone melatonin appears in the milk with a mild calming effect;
  • Psychotherapy for parents – it has the highest efficiency index! Because when the mother is calm and rested, the baby is also more quickly comforted and cries less;
  • glucose solution (there is data, but there are also negative effects of doping);
  • Lactose-free formula or the mother’s diet – in 1 in 40 cases, children have transient lactase deficiency. Less often there are allergies to eggs, soy, nuts, fish, and gluten. To check them, exclude them from your diet for 10 days and see how they react. If the baby is on formula – consult your pediatrician, whether it is worth it to transfer to another version, sometimes it also increases colic;
  • a couple of serious and even poisonous drugs, which are needed only in the most serious cases and only after six months.

What doesn’t work for colic:

  • Simethicones, dimethicones, foam suppressants, “anti-foaming” herbs, gas tubes, suppositories – all used for gas and/or constipation, but not for colic;
  • Probiotics;
  • A maternal diet (if not for lactase deficiency or allergies);
  • chiropractic care, chiropractic care, acupuncture (yes, there are such things too). These methods at best only help to prolong the time until the colic passes on its own. They also calm down the parents (psychotherapy is better!).

Sleeping alone

After about six months, babies will gradually realize that they and their mother are separate beings. But even after that age, they often want to become one again, especially at bedtime. So the absence of an adult in bed can cause regular crying.

This issue is a new battleground. There are experts who are adamantly opposed to co-sleeping or being carried in the arms on short notice. But even the strictest today say that you can only wait a couple of minutes from the start of crying (gradually bringing it to 10-15), to give the child a chance to calm himself.

Throwing a sobbing alone, hoping so accustomed to independence, just can not: the crying once stopped, but will begin more serious emotional problems.

Other experts, and there are more of them, advise: if possible, we must give your baby as much attention as strength and desire. But do not overdo it! It is important to remember your needs and try to rest: the more tired a parent is, the worse he takes care of the child.

How to soothe an infant when it cries

You have a new baby – congratulations! With each new day, you need less and less time to recognize and correctly interpret his crying. Let’s figure out how to identify exactly why your baby is crying and help him.

Types of newborn crying

Like all babies, your baby is unique. He eats, sleeps, reacts to stimuli in his own way – and he will calm down in his own way, too. For all the variety of individual manifestations, the nature of crying in newborns is the same.

  • Appeal crying – the baby cries for 5 – 6 seconds, then pauses for 20 – 30 seconds, with a distraction or waiting for the result, then cries again for about 10 seconds and again falls silent for 20 – 30 seconds. This cycle is repeated several times, with the period gradually increasing until the crying becomes continuous;
  • Hungry crying begins with a call out cry. If the mother came up and took the baby in her arms, but did not offer the breast, the crying turns into an angry cry, which is combined with “searching” movements of the head, and at this point the baby becomes silent. If she does not give the breast even after that, the demanding crying turns into furious crying with choking. The baby can put his fist in his mouth, makes sucking movements with his lips and tongue, turns his head in search of his mother’s breast or pacifier;
  • Crying in pain – crying with a touch of suffering and hopelessness. It is quite even, incessant crying, during which there are bursts of desperate crying, apparently corresponding to the increase in pain sensations. If you did not approach your baby when he was “calling out” and he cried, you can guess the reason for the crying by the way he cries, so you can quickly calm your baby down.
Alla Vasilyevna Belyakova

How to soothe a crying newborn baby

Causes of crying newborns: find and solve the problem

To understand how to calm a newborn baby when he cries a lot, you need to understand the cause of the tantrum. For example, the baby may be hungry, therefore, the child should be fed. So, what signals does your baby give with his crying?

Reason #1. I am hungry

Usually the mother feeds the baby 8 to 10 times a day, but the number of feedings may be as many as 15 to 20, including nighttime attachments to the breast (2 to 4 times per night). During this period, the baby should be fed on demand, not on a schedule. By one month of age, the baby establishes his or her own routine.

Hunger is the most common cause of crying in a newborn. To be sure that the baby is crying from hunger, simply bend your little finger and touch the corner of his mouth: if the newborn immediately turns his head and opens his mouth, it means he is hungry. How to feed your baby correctly, we tell you here.

Reason #2. I’m not comfortable

Often babies cry because they feel uncomfortable. Such crying is continuous (or almost continuous), more monotonous than crying from hunger and accompanied by a child’s restlessness. What can cause discomfort in a newborn

  • A dirty diaper or wet diaper. A baby in the first month of life “goes to the bathroom” up to 20 times a day. With natural feeding, the frequency of stools in the child 5 – 6 times, and with artificial feeding – 3 – 4 times a day;
  • The need to change position: the baby wants to turn over, and he needs your help, he will learn to turn himself only after a few months;
  • Overly tight diapering, tight diaper, diaper folds, small objects caught in the diaper or clothes (buttons, baby crumbs, pebbles, string);
  • Excessively bright lights, loud noise, not enough fresh air;
  • Intestinal colic.

Tight swaddling (with legs straightened and arms stretched tightly against the body), which was very common before, violates the natural position of the newborn, normal breathing and circulation, which is not “like” the baby.

Reason #3. I’m hot (cold)

The temperature is very important for the well-being and mood of the baby. The room in which the child is, you need to maintain a constant temperature (22 – 24 ° C – for newborns, 20 – 22 ° C – for older children). How to create a comfortable temperature

  • Feel your baby’s shoulders, back or wrists: if they are hot and sweaty – your baby is overheated, if they are cool – he is freezing;
  • If the baby is hot, open him/her up, remove one layer of clothing, and change into dry underwear;
  • If the baby is cold, wrap him in a blanket, take him in your arms, put him on your chest. When the baby warms up, do not forget to put another layer of clothing on him before putting him in bed;
  • For the future: do not wrap baby – baby clothing should be loose and breathable, made of natural fabrics such as cotton. Overheating is much harder for children than overcooling, and you should always bear this in mind, dressing the baby.

Tip! It has been tested for generations: dress your baby as yourself, plus one more layer.

Reason #4. It hurts me.

What do the sharp, high-pitched, anxious cries that don’t stop, even when you take your baby in your arms, mean? They speak of the pain he is experiencing. Most often it is a tummy ache or colic. Few people manage to avoid them, but you can help your baby and reduce the discomfort.

Read about how to deal with them here.

How to reduce your baby’s pain

  • Make sure your baby grips the nipple and areola while feeding – this will prevent air from getting to the baby with the milk (loud smacking is a sign that the baby is sucking air along with the milk, and this should be avoided);
  • If the baby is on artificial feeding, feed the baby a little slower, the formula should fill the nipple completely; you can use special bottles that do not allow air to pass through with the food;
  • After feeding, hold the baby for 2 to 5 minutes in an upright position, with the head leaning against your shoulder and with the tummy pressed closely against your breast;
  • Give your baby a simple massage to stimulate the expulsion of gas from the intestines: lay him on his back and stroke his tummy in a clockwise direction. Massage with gentle pressure on the belly around the navel. Mentally draw a horseshoe on the tummy, the ends of which point downwards. The movements of your hand should follow this trajectory in a clockwise direction;
  • Put a warm (not hot) diaper or heating pad on your baby’s tummy;
  • Try a feeding tube (you can buy one at the drugstore). The procedure is as follows: the baby should lie on his side, the thin end of the tube, lubricated with petroleum jelly, inserted into the anus for about a centimeter, and the other put in a glass of water. If the cause of the pain is gas accumulated in the intestines, you will soon see air bubbles. Sometimes the tube stimulates stools, which also brings relief to the baby;
  • Adjust your diet, try to determine which product of your diet causes colic in your baby, and try not to eat it. Cabbage, legumes, grapes, yeast dough products, any spicy food, caffeine, chocolate can increase the baby’s colic;
  • Try giving your baby warm fennel tea or dill water from a bottle;
  • If there is no effect from the above measures, seek advice from the pediatrician, if necessary, he will consider the use of medications – drugs that eliminate excessive gas, are not absorbed into the blood and do not cause harm to the baby;
  • Lactose overload or lack of lactase enzyme may aggravate flatulence. This happens when the baby gets too much “front” milk and does not get “back” milk. At the beginning of breastfeeding, mother’s milk is more saturated with milk sugar, lactose. It is called “front” milk. After 10 to 15 minutes of feeding the same breast, she begins to produce “back” milk. It is richer in fat, which neutralizes lactose and thus reduces gas. Rear milk also has a calming effect and helps anxious babies fall asleep.

Most newborns naturally fall asleep at the end of a feeding due to the calming effect of “back” milk. When the baby is older and more effective at suckling, it will come to him in less time after feeding begins.

Reason #5. Malaise

Sometimes crying is related to a baby’s specific medical condition (intracranial pressure, nervous system disorders, hyperexcitability, hypertonicity, hypotony, developmental abnormalities, physiological phenomena of the adaptation period, the beginning of an infection or cold, skin diseases or diaper rash, reaction to geomagnetic, atmospheric phenomena, etc.). ). If you can not identify the cause of crying baby, do not hesitate to consult a doctor-perinatologist: doctor will definitely help rule out crying associated with a disease.

A mother’s love and care are the best remedies for crying

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe that would allow all moms to instantly calm their babies, because every child is different. So it’s important to watch your baby: watch the reaction of the baby and try to understand what he wants to tell you. Believe me, very soon you will learn by trial and error to understand your baby and calm him.

Sometimes parents are afraid that by responding to every squeak of the baby and meeting all his needs, they spoil him. Don’t be afraid of that!

By responding to your baby’s call, you not only give him/her your unconditional motherly love, but also satisfy his/her need for a sense of security and reliability, letting him/her know that you are here, ready to comfort him/her and help. And if your baby understands that there is someone around who can be trusted, he will grow up to be calm and confident.

Happy and joyful motherhood to you!

List of references

  1. Meleshkina A. V., Kudryashova MA, Chebysheva SN What it’s important to know about colic in babies during the first months of life. Appendix to the journal Consilium Medicum, 2018.
  2. Titova O. N., Taran N. N. Intestinal colic in children of the first months of life: a comprehensive solution to the problem. Appendix to the journal Consilium medicum, 2018.
  3. Belyaeva I.A., Namazova-Baranova L.S., Potekhina T.V. Infant colic – a new look at an old problem. Appendix to Consilium medicum, 2015.

Is it worth transferring a one-year-old baby to the common table?

Mother’s milk is the ideal food for an infant. Continue breastfeeding as long as possible, including after the introduction of complementary foods, in accordance with the WHO recommendations.

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Mother’s milk is the ideal food for an infant, especially in the first year of its life. It is an important source of nutrients and energy, so the WHO recommends keeping breastfeeding as long as possible, up to the age of two.

Breastfeeding complementary foods

Mother’s milk is the best food for a baby, especially in the first six months of life. It remains an important source of energy and nutrients even after six months, so the WHO recommends breastfeeding until the age of two.

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Not only the lack of nutrients, but also their overabundance can interfere with the proper development of a baby.


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Mother’s milk is the ideal food for a breastfed baby, continue breastfeeding as long as possible. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by the introduction of complementary foods when breastfeeding continues. Continue breastfeeding as long as possible after the introduction of complementary foods. A specialist should be consulted to decide when and how to introduce complementary foods to your baby.

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Mother’s milk is the ideal food for a breastfed baby, continue breastfeeding as long as possible. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by the introduction of complementary foods when breastfeeding continues. Continue breastfeeding as long as possible after the introduction of complementary foods. A specialist should be consulted to decide when and how to introduce complementary foods to your baby.

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