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Why Do Babies Cry?

Crying is a newborns only way of communication and can happen often.  Although it still can be distressing for parents creating a range of difficult feelings such as helplessness, anxiety, anger and possibly depression.   Remember you are not alone in this and that in time you will become accustomed to why your baby is crying.  There are several common causes for your baby to be crying and usually their crys can be slightly different depending on the reason they are crying and with time you will become used knowing straight away what is causing the crying and ways of helping resolve the cause.   The reasons can include:

  • Needing diaper changed
  • Wanting to be fed
  • Wanting to be held
  • Wanting to sleep
  • Feeling too hot or too cold
  • Piece of clothing making them feel uncomfortable
  • Strand of hair caught around their finger or toe – “hair tourniquet”
  • Trapped gas or tummy pain

If the crying does not stop but becomes increasingly worse and persists in day or night they could be experiencing Colic or have an infection – in this case it is recommended to take their temperature and seeking a review with a Paediatrician – if confirmed to be Colic there are some ways to help ease it – see our section on Common Newborn Symptoms.

Oldbury S, Adams K. The impact of infant crying on the parent-infant relationship. Community Pract. 2015 Mar;88(3):29-34 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25812239/

Altman T, Hill D, Shelov S, Hannemann R (2019) ‘Caring For Your Baby & Young Child’ – American Academy of Paediatrics

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