Why Is My Baby Crying? See what you can do to help!

Woman with her baby

All babies cry and most babies cry a lot. They cry because crying is the only way they have to let you know that they need something. Babies cannot say “Please change my diaper” or “Feed me” or “I want to have fun.” All they can do is cry.

When your baby cries, try to find out why. The table below can help. As time goes by, you will know what different cries mean and what to do. The key is to watch and learn your baby’s signals.

Don’t be afraid of “spoiling” your baby by going to him when he cries. Babies cry because they need food, love, hugs, or a smile. When you respond to crying, you are helping your baby learn that the world is a good place to be. He is learning that help comes when it is needed. A baby whose needs are met will feel safe, secure, and loved, not spoiled.

Mother trying to soothe a crying baby.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, your baby keeps crying. This can be hard to deal with. It's easy to say “stay calm,” but it can be very difficult to do. If you feel angry and are afraid you might hurt your baby: • Put your baby safely in his crib and leave the room • Do something to get rid of the anger. Run, jump, yell, or hit a pillow • Call for help. Call a friend, family member, or helpline. Sometimes just talking to another adult can help you feel better. 

My baby is crying?What can I do?
Hungry or thirsty• Feed the baby, especially if more than 2 hours have passed since the last feeding.
Uncomfortable• Burp the baby. • Check diaper pins. • Change wet or dirty diaper. • Change the baby's position. • Gently rub the baby's back. • Make sure the room isn't too warm or too cold. • Make sure the baby is not wearing too many clothes or not enough.
Not feeling safe (Insecure)• Wrap the baby up in a light blanket. • Help the baby feel safe by moving slowly and calmly. Do not rush or move quickly. • Hold the baby close and cuddle.
Lonely or bored• Talk or sing to your baby. • Move the baby to a room with other people. • Play music. • Rock the baby. • Take the baby for a walk. • Give the baby a toy or mobile to watch.
Too tired• Move the baby to a quiet place. • Give the baby something to suck — your breast or a soother (if you are formula feeding). • Try quiet motion — rocking, patting, and riding in a car or carriage. • Turn on the dishwasher, clothes dryer, or washing machine. Babies often enjoy these kinds of sounds. They remind them of the sounds they heard in their mother's body before they were born. • Take a warm bath with your baby (make sure you have someone to hold the baby while you get in and out of the bathtub).
Fussy time of day• This often happens late in the afternoon or early evening. Try the ideas for helping an overtired baby. • Try to plan ahead to make this time of day calmer. For example, get supper ready ahead of time and plan activities to keep your other children busy. • Ask for help during busy times. Ask your partner or someone else to take the baby or to do the chores so you'll be free to care for the baby. You can also use a snuggler (Snugli™) so you can hold your baby close and still have your hands free. Babies who are held and cuddled for longer periods cry less.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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