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Why Is My Baby Crying?

Never shake your baby!

  • Shaking can damage your baby’s brain and may cause death.
  • No child of any age should EVER be shaken.

Crying is the only way that your baby can let you know how he feels.
Some reasons your baby might cry are:

  • Hunger
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Too hot / cold
  • Tired or over-stimulated
  • Needing a diaper change
  • Illness
  • Loneliness
  • Just because

It can be difficult to figure out why your baby is crying and it is normal to feel upset when you do not know why. If you feel like you might lose control, place your baby in a safe place and leave him for a few minutes.

Babies have a regular fussy period which can sometimes happen in the late afternoon or evening. It can start at about age two to three weeks, may increase until about six weeks and goes away by three to four months.

When your baby cries, pick them up and comfort them. Carrying your baby skin-to-skin or in a sling (external link) can help. Doing so teaches them that you are there to meet their needs. Studies show that carrying your baby may reduce crying. You cannot spoil your baby by responding to them.

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Crying is usually a late sign that your baby is hungry.

Watch for early signs of hunger:

  • Sucking and licking his mouth
  • Touching his mouth with his fingers
  • Making small sounds

Babies go through growth spurts around three weeks, six weeks, three months of age and other times as they get older. Babies often feed more at these times.

thumb and finger suckingRemember... babies need to suck

Sucking is comforting to babies and helps them to relax

Put your baby to the breast to soothe and comfort. Avoid using a pacifier in your baby's first few weeks of life as it can interfere with breastfeeding.

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Your baby may... You can...
Need food or need to be comforted
  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Try rocking or walking
  • Burp your baby
  • Check and/or change your baby’s diaper
Need to be held
Need a calm and quiet place
  • Turn down noise
  • Turn down lights
Need comforting sounds
  • Sing to your baby
  • Play music
  • Try some “white noise” (dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, fan, white noise machine)
Need movement or change of pace
  • Take your baby out for a walk
  • Rock your baby
  • Go for a car ride
  • Give your baby a bath
  • Encourage your partner to have some baby time
Need to be warm - not too hot or cold
  • Dress your baby as warmly as you are, and add 1 more layer
  • Your baby’s chest, tummy and back should feel warm (not sweaty or cool)
Be sick
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Babies sometimes cry for no reason

  • Having a baby that won't stop crying doesn't make you a bad parent

  • Listening to a baby cry for long periods of time can be very frustrating. Ask a family member or a friend that you trust to look after your baby and give yourself a break.
  • If you have questions about your baby’s crying, talk with your doctor or a Public Health Nurse.
  • Are you looking for someone to talk to about your baby's crying or being a parent in general? Call HaltonParents at 311 to speak to a Public Health Nurse Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm.
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