Crying

A crying baby is a great concern for parents, other children, family members, and friends. Everyone wants to "do something" to stop the crying. It's easy to forget that crying is one of the few ways a baby has to communicate. She may cry if she is cold or hot; tired or bored; hungry; wet or uncomfortable; overexcited or in pain or distress. The reasons for ongoing crying are not always known. Babies tend to cry less overall if their cries are answered quickly. Give your baby attention and don't worry about spoiling her. Check to see if she is wet, cold, hot, or hungry. To calm your baby, you can try the following:

  • Check to see if she is wet or dirty and change the diaper if necessary.
  • Consider whether she may be hungry and try feeding if you think this may be the problem.
  • Try burping her. A gas bubble in the stomach may be causing discomfort.
  • Consider whether she may be hot or cold and adjust clothing accordingly.
  • Make sure no strings or threads have worked themselves around a finger or toe.
  • Try holding your baby, making face to face contact, and talk or sing to her.
  • Some babies who are overtired and over stimulated will sleep better if swaddled - wrapped snuggly in a blanket.

Don't assume that crying always means it is time for a feeding. Look at the "big picture." Is she comfortable? Is your baby too hot or too cold? Is the diaper wet or soiled? Would your baby like to try another position? Is there loud music or loud voices that upset her? Are there too many smells, sounds, or sights at the same time? Be especially alert to unusual cries, like piercing or shrieking sounds or persistent crying that is not typical of your baby's crying patterns. In these instances, you should call the office.

If you're feeling impatient, try leaving your baby with someone you trust while you get away, even for just a short while. Whatever you do, NEVER shake your baby, no matter how frustrated or angry you feel. Shaking a baby can cause very serious injuries.

Many babies have a "fussy time" at the same time each day. Late afternoon and evening hours are common. This pattern of afternoon or evening fussiness often starts at around three weeks of age and eases by three months of age. You may need to try a variety of calming techniques. Keep in mind that what may be successful this evening may not work tomorrow evening.

Age Group: 
Infancy

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