Pregnancy is a tough process, and you might expect the hard work to come to an end once a baby is born. The first time you see or hear that newborn cry, chances are you’ll have a tear in your own eyes.
Unfortunately, the crying has only just begun. There are so many reasons why babies cry. For newer parents, it can be overwhelming as they try to figure out why their little one is so upset and what they can do to fix it. We’re here to go over some of the most common reasons babies cry so you, and they, can get some rest.
We’ll break everything down into easy-to-read sections. For each reason we’ll give you some tips on how to identify and soothe the issue.
Here is a brief list of the 10 most common reasons babies cry:
- A diaper change
- Gas pains
- An illness
- Temperature issues
- A desire to be held
- Lack of sleep
So now that you know a little bit about what we’re going over, let’s take a look at some reasons why babies cry.
- 1. Hunger
- 2. A Diaper Change
- 3. Gas Pains
- 4. Teething
- 5. An Illness
- 6. Temperature Issues
- 7. Pain
- 8. A Desire to Be Held
- 9. Stimulation
- 10. Lack of Sleep
- Final Thoughts
When it comes to the reasons babies cry, hunger is often the cause. There are often a couple of signs to look out for.
What are the signs of hunger in babies?
The signs that your baby may be hungry are as follows:
- Putting their own hands in -or near- their mouth
- Creating a fuss
- Smacking their lips together repeatedly
- Turning their head to your cheek, which is also known as rooting
Now, if you notice any of these signs before your baby begins to cry, chances are hunger is the problem.
How to soothe a baby in this case?
Feeding them should solve the issue. If they’re a young baby they’ll need nursing, while if they’re a little older feed them some of their usual diet. Once you accomplish this, the crying should subside.
This issue is more common in newborns because newborns need to breastfeed quite a bit.
2. A Diaper Change
The next thing we’ll take a look at is the dreaded diaper change. Nobody likes changing a diaper, and chances are you’ll know when that time comes, but this is one of the most common reasons babies cry.
How will I know that a diaper needs to be changed?
This actually depends on the baby, because you’ll find that some infants are able to deal with a dirty diaper for quite some time. Regardless, you’ll definitely notice, because the smell will make your nostrils flare up.
How to soothe a baby in this case?
If you want to soothe your baby, the answer is as self-explanatory as hunger. All you need to do is change the diaper, and your baby should start to calm themselves down.
Diapers should be changed as soon as you notice, even if your baby isn’t crying yet. This is due to the fact that infections can occur, which could lead to more crying and other serious issues.
3. Gas Pains
Gas pains are another one of the most common reasons babies cry, so we’ll give you a brief overview about what this can look like. Keep in mind that it can be quite tricky to deal with gas pains in infants.
How will I know that I’m dealing with gas pains?
Gas pains are tricky to spot, but the best way to know if it’s gas is to observe your baby’s crying pattern. If you notice that your baby is crying right after a meal, gas can be a likely culprit. So for gas pains, you’ll want to keep an eye on your baby after they eat.
How can I treat gas pains?
Gas pains can be treated in a few different ways. You can try using medications, but you should definitely give your doctor a shout before doing so. If you do know that it’s gas, you can move your baby’s legs in a bicycle-like motion. This can help alleviate some of the pressure in your child’s bowels, and may soothe your baby.
If that doesn’t work, the problem could be a burping issue. A lot of people burp their babies, but not everyone does. This is due to the fact that it’s not mandatory. Now, while this may be true, the need to burp can definitely be one of the reasons babies cry. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to burp your baby after a meal.
There is also a condition called colic. This is a condition that can cause your baby to cry for more than three hours a day, three days a week or more for a period for three weeks. Essentially, if your child is crying excessively, this may be the cause.
Teething is definitely another one of the main reasons babies cry. Naturally it can be hard to spot, but there are some basic signs and timeframes to keep in mind.
What are the common signs of teething?
Teething will usually occur once your baby reaches about 5 months old. This can also happen at the 4 month mark, and in some cases it may take as long as 7 months. If you want to know whether or not teething is the issue, take your finger and gently feel your baby’s gums. If you feel a bump of something solid, that likely means that teething has begun.
How can I soothe a baby in this case?
Soothing a teething baby is no easy task. Plus, in most cases, you’re going to have to let teething run its course. If the crying is very bad, though, here are some treatment ideas you can try.
- Chilled fruit
- Hold your baby as much as you can
- A washcloth (cold) can be used to soothe gums
- If your baby is drooling make sure that you wipe it away as soon as you can
- Massage the gums of your baby
These treatments should help calm your baby down a bit, but nothing is guaranteed to work when it comes to something like teething. This is why it’s one of the most common reasons babies cry.
If your baby is causing quite a fuss about teething, be sure to consult your doctor for some other treatment options.
5. An Illness
Hopefully an illness doesn’t occur, but while your baby’s immune system is growing things are bound to happen. What should you do if you think your baby is ill?
How will I know that it’s an illness?
Spotting an illness will usually be easier than you think. Babies are small humans, so just be sure to look out for things like:
- Teary eyes
- Red/pink eyes
- A runny nose
- A cough
- A fever
How can I soothe an illness?
When it comes to ending a crying episode brought on by an illness, you’re really fighting an uphill battle. We would definitely recommend that you do the best you can to alleviate symptoms, but that’s really all you can do. If the illness doesn’t improve, or the crying gets worse, call your doctor.
Also, only use medication that your doctor has said is safe.
6. Temperature Issues
Temperature issues can be anything from a fever to simply not having enough blankets. This can also be hard to spot, but we have some good signs to pay attention to.
How do I know if my baby crying is a temperature problem?
The first thing to check for is always a fever. To do so, you can either use a thermometer, or you can apply your palm to their forehead. If you notice that it’s hot or warm, a fever is the culprit. Now, if you notice that your baby is shivering a bit, they’re likely crying because they’re a bit cold.
How can I fix a temperature issue?
If your child is cold, be sure to add a blanket or hold them. On the other hand, if they’re overheating, make sure you give them some air and let them cool off.
If you notice that your baby has a fever, we definitely recommend calling your doctor.
Pain comes in various forms for a baby. It can come from teething, or even something as simple as gas. While this may be the case, the pain that you’ll need to worry about is pain without a noticeable cause.
How can I tell if my child is experiencing pain?
When it comes to pain, you should always look for the main indicators like an illness, gas, or teething. If none of this is happening, and you can’t seem to figure out why your baby is crying, it’s time to take a closer look.
Here are some common things to look out for:
- If your baby’s hair is wrapped around their fingers (this can cause a painful lack of circulation)
- Any small cuts a baby could have
- Their clothes may be too tight
- They’ve been sitting in the same position for too long
- They could be sick with something
- Something could be in their eye, which will usually be followed by red/pink eye
These are some pretty tough things to spot, especially when you have enough to worry about already. Unfortunately, when it comes to your baby, you need to be vigilant.
How can I soothe my baby if pain is the problem?
If pain is the problem the first step to soothing it is to locate it. Once you find out where the pain is coming from, make sure that you do the best you can to reduce the pain. This should cause your baby to finally calm down.
Pain is a tough thing to notice, especially when you can’t tell where it’s coming from. Therefore, always be sure to thoroughly examine your child if crying seems to be coming out of nowhere.
8. A Desire to Be Held
This is going to be more common in newborns, but at the end of the day babies love to be held. They need attention, and it’s part of the growing process. Therefore, if you’re not holding your child enough, it can definitely cause them to cry.
How do I know if holding my baby is the issue?
Once you’ve spent some time soothing your infant, hopefully they will stop crying and you’ll know that’s the cause. You may think you can hold a baby too much, but you can’t. Although it’s true some babies will want to be held less than others, but holding a baby will never do any harm. So if you notice that your baby is crying but they have no other issues, it might be time to hold them.
How can I resolve this issue?
The resolution to this issue is simple. If you think that your baby needs attention, just be sure to hold them more. This should soothe their emotions, and can definitely stop a fuss.
Babies love to be held, so never be scared to give them too much attention. As they get older, the amount of attention they want will decline, so be sure to read your baby’s emotions.
Stimulation issues can really mean a lot of things, but luckily it’s pretty easy to notice. This is due to the fact that most baby’s will begin to cry once they become overwhelmed. So let’s take a look at some of the common reasons babies cry from stimulation.
Too much stimulation
If your baby is exposed to too much sound, light, or even people, this can cause your baby to cry. While this can be the case, your baby can also cry from too much parental attention as well. This is due to the fact that as babies grow, sometimes they want to be held or cuddled less. So make sure that you pay close attention to the stimulation your child is exposed to, because it can be a huge indication as to why they may be crying.
To little stimulation
On the other hand, sometimes a baby may want more stimulation. This could mean a number of things, but think of this as an outgoing baby. Therefore, if you notice that your baby is crying for no identifiable reason, you might want to try and engage them in some activity.
How can I soothe a baby in these situations?
If your baby needs less stimulation, all you need to do is make sure that you provide them with a little bit of alone time. This can definitely reduce the crying, and you can always try adding stimulation in again at a later time.
Now, if they need more stimulation, you’re going to need to put some leg work in. Therefore, in this case, make sure that you stay active with your child. This can be anything like:
- More walks in the stroller
- The exposure to more people
- More attention from you
Stimulation really comes down to reading your baby’s mood. If you notice that your baby cries in busy areas, be sure to give them a bit of a break. Also, if your baby cries for no reason, they may need more attention.
10. Lack of Sleep
If your baby is tired this can also be another reason for frequent crying. This can be a bit hard to spot, because it might seem like babies sleep all the time. So let’s take a look.
How can I tell if sleep is a problem?
If you notice that your baby is crying a lot through the night, they might not be getting enough sleep. Keep in mind that babies are usually sleeping and eating for most of their days. So if you notice that your baby never seems to be taking a nap, that’s a good way to determine that your baby is not getting the sleep that it needs.
How can I soothe a baby in this case?
If a baby is crying from a lack of sleep, all you need to do is make sure that they get some more sleep. You can do this by holding them until they sleep, or even just making sure that they sleep through the night.
If your baby is crying from a lack of sleep, the only real solution is to help them sleep more. Try to relax them and create a sleepy atmosphere so they feel calm and ready to go to bed.
We know that we went over quite a bit of information, but we want to make sure you’re familiar with the 10 most common reasons babies cry. Knowing the signs, and how to alleviate crying, is important for both you and your child.
If you feel like you have no idea why your child is crying, we encourage you to refer back to this guide. Caring for a baby is busy work, so we know that it can be hard to absorb information sometimes. Also, if crying persists and you aren’t able to identify the cause, be sure to contact your doctor.
Now that you know the facts, we hope that you feel more comfortable handling those crying episodes.