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Why Your Baby Is Crying & How You Can Ease It

Try these 9 tips to stop your baby crying.


Don’t let this news discourage you, but did you know that your newborn will spend an average of two hours of each day crying? As they grow and reach about six weeks of age, that number can be up to three hours. While all that crying doesn’t typically happen for two hours straight, it can be tough to handle a crying little one if you don’t know what the cause is or how to fix it. Your baby can’t talk to tell you what they need or want, but the good news is they can still communicate. If you know what to look and listen for, your baby’s cries can tell you exactly what they need.

There are nine main types of cries that your baby uses to communicate, here’s a breakdown of what they sound like, look like, and what you can do to resolve the issue once you’ve figured out why they are crying.  

1. The Hungry Cry

Newborn babies eat a lot, and sometimes it feels like you just finished feeding them and you hear them crying again, which can leave you wondering if they are really hungry or if something else is going on. A hungry cry is usually lower pitched and may come and go. Along with the tears you may see your little one “routing” around, making a sucking motion, or sucking on their fingers.

As soon as you identify the cry as a hungry cry, it’s important to feed your little one as soon as possible. This will help them to calm easier in that moment and will help them to know that you will be there when they are hungry and they don’t need to panic.  

2. Colic

If your little one is crying mostly at night, and is not able to be consoled - it’s possible they are crying due to colic. Colic is when an otherwise healthy baby cries for more than three hours a day, for three days a week or more. With colic, there isn’t a medical condition that causes it, and it does go away on it’s own.  The cry is usually a high pitched and intense. Your little one may seem to wiggle around uncomfortably as well.

One of the best ways to help cope with colic is to make sure you have a strong support system in place to give you a break. Babies aren’t easily calmed when they have colic, but you can try swaddling them, playing soft music, a white noise machine, or taking them for a car ride to see if it helps.  

3. The Tired Cry

If your baby’s cry seems whiny is ongoing, and they are rubbing their eyes and yawning while crying, it’s likely they are upset because they are tired. It’s usually best to try to lay your little one down before they get sleepy, but if they are already in tears, get them in bed to see if that helps.   

4. The Overstimulated Cry

This cry is similar to the tired cry, but you also may notice that your baby is turning away from sights or sounds going on around them. When you notice this cry, take them out of the noisy environment and get them to calmer room with less stimulation.    

5. The Discomfort Cry

There are several reasons your little one may not be comfortable, but this cry starts off slowly and builds, usually with a whiny tone to it. When you hear this, check your little one’s diaper and make sure the position they are in is comfortable.  

a baby boy crying while lying on a bed

6. The Sick Cry

When your little one is sick, it may sound like a sad little whimper of a cry. You can look for other symptoms like fever, congestion, lack of desire to eat, and more in order to help you identify this cry. How to fix it will depend on what is making them ill. Be sure to call your doctor if you are not sure what the cause is and/or if they seem to be getting worse instead of better.  

7. The Attention Cry

Don’t you just love those little cooing noises your little one makes sometimes? If your little one is cooing and then it gradually turns into a whiny cry, it’s possible your little one just wants a little attention. You can help ease the tears by talking to them playfully, giving them a new toy, or picking them up to play.  

8. The Gassy Cry

When your little one is gassy, the cry will sound like an uncomfortable cry, but they will also pull their knees into their chest or begin grunting. Some theorize that pacifiers can help to ease gas. You can also burp them, and/or gently take their knees and tuck them into their belly - pressing gently to try to relieve some of the pressure.  

9. The Teething Cry

Teething can cause some serious discomfort, so like the gassy cry, this one will be very similar to the uncomfortable cry. You may also see your little one trying to chew on their fingers or other objects. You can help ease teething pain by rubbing their gums, giving them a pain reliever (make sure to talk to your doctor first), and giving them objects to chew on - like teething rings.  

No matter what the reason is for your baby’s cry, keep in mind that there will be times that it seems impossible to comfort them. Be sure to maintain your patience and if it gets to be too much, don’t hesitate to set your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a short time in order to regain your composure.  Having some “on call” support in place is a great idea - a friend you can call who can come to the rescue when you need a little break from the tears can be a lifesaver!

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