Why do babies cry?

In most cases, babies cry because this is how they communicate their needs. Sometimes, it can be hard to know exactly why your baby is crying.

Some common reasons babies cry can include:

  • Hunger. Keep track of your baby’s feeding times and hunger cues (signs they are hungry). Hunger cues can include lip smacking or putting their hands to their mouth.
  • Overfed. Babies can feel uncomfortable if they are too full. Waiting 2-3 hours between feeds can help your baby not feel too full.
  • Wet or dirty diaper. In the first few months of life, babies need to be changed often.
  • Too hot or too cold. Feel your baby’s back or stomach to see if they feel too hot or cold. Dress them as needed.
  • Tired. Keeping a routine before naps and bedtime can help calm your baby.
  • Loneliness. Your baby might miss you! At this age, you cannot spoil your baby with too much cuddling.
  • Overstimulated or overwhelmed. Take your baby into a quieter or calmer environment.
  • Sick. Check your baby’s temperature. If your baby is under 2 months old and has a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), call the doctor right away.

How can I soothe my crying baby?

Here are different ways you can soothe your baby:

Movement

  • Pat or stroke your baby in a steady, even pattern.
  • Rock your baby in your arms or a rocking chair. Go for a ride in the car or a stroller.
  • Hold your baby straight up in your arms. Bend your knees up and down (like squats).

Sound

  • Hum in the same tone over and over.
  • Sing or speak softly.
  • Play white noise from a sound machine, vacuum, hair dryer or running water.

Play

  • Distract your baby with a favorite toy.
  • Comfort
  • Swaddle your baby in a blanket. If you do not know how to swaddle your baby, ask the care team.
  • Offer your baby a pacifier to suck on.
  • Lay your baby directly on your chest or stomach. Wrap your baby in a blanket while in this position.

Remember to take a break!

If you have tried to soothe your baby and nothing is working, it is okay to take a break. It is normal to feel frustrated or overwhelmed. Make sure your baby is in a safe place, such as a crib, and walk away for a few minutes. Remember – it is never okay to shake or hit your baby.

Rev. 6/2018