Why do Babies Cry?

It is normal for babies to cry. Each baby is different but lots of crying is common in the first two to five months of their life. Some may cry more at different times of the day, for example in the evening, and the crying can last for 30 minutes or longer. But remember, your baby is not crying to upset you. Crying is the way that babies let you know they need something.

These are some of the reasons that your baby might be crying:

  • Baby is hungry
  • Baby is too hot or too cold
  • Baby needs a diaper change
  • Baby wants to be picked up and cuddled
  • Baby has a gassy tummy
  • Baby is really tired and is having a hard time settling to sleep
  • There is too much going on around baby (overstimulated)

It is important for you to respond to your baby’s cries, to learn to read your baby’s cues, and to know how to comfort your baby. When you address your baby’s needs, you are providing comfort and security, building a strong bond of attachment.  You are helping your baby’s brain develop both emotionally and socially.  Yay for you!

Here are a few tips you can use to calm your crying baby.  Try them all to see which works best for you and your baby:

  • Feed your baby
  • Change your baby’s diaper
  • Try burping your baby
  • Remove a layer of clothing to cool your baby down
  • Snuggle your baby, try skin-to-skin
  • Rock your baby gently
  • Try gently bouncing your baby on your knee
  • Go for a walk with your baby
  • Try a car ride if possible
  • Read, sing, hum, or play soft music to your baby
  • Put on some background ‘white noise’ sounds (such as a vacuum)

There may be times when you cannot calm your baby's crying.  This can be a frustrating experience for both of you.  It is okay to give yourself a break.  It will not harm your baby to let them cry briefly, while you take a moment to calm yourself.  Once your baby is safe in their crib, step out of the room, take some deep breaths, and reassure yourself that this is normal and that all will be okay.  Do not be afraid to ask for help by calling a family member, friend, or neighbour.


Never Shake or Hit Your Baby!

Babies have heavy heads and weak neck muscles. Even a few seconds of violent shaking can result in serious injury or death of a baby. Shaken baby syndrome is a term used to describe the brain damage caused by a person violently shaking an infantShaken baby syndrome may include learning disabilities, physical disabilities, hearing impairment, speech disabilities, seizures, and behaviour disorders.  This is totally preventable! No matter how tired, angry or frustrated you may feel, take a break, ask for help, and never shake your baby.


For Further Information

Call the Family Health Program: (807) 625-5900

or toll-free 1-888-294-6630

or the Children’s Centre Thunder Bay (807) 343-5000

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