What Makes My Baby Cry?

9/1/10 by Nativity Lennon

Photo courtesy of Pedro Klien via Flickr

The first night in the hospital after giving birth, my newborn screamed his head off. I tried everything, but there were no obvious problems, so what was making my baby so upset? It took a couple of weeks before I understood the meaning of those cries. I soon identified a hunger cry, a “get your butt over here and hold me” cry, a cry for when he was wet, etc. But even after I learned to identify those specific wails, there were times when my little guy would bawl for no apparent reason at all.

You know the basics: change his diaper, feed him, and hold him… but what if none of those things makes a difference? When you’re left with a baby who won’t calm down, the feelings of helplessness build up fast. Eventually, you’re wondering why on earth anyone even let you have a baby in the first place because you’re obviously not the right person to look after such an unhappy little creature! There were times when I broke down and cried right alongside my baby.

There are actually a lot of things that a baby’s cry might signify. Just remember that your baby is sending you a message by crying because he doesn’t have any other way to communicate. Once you’ve run through the basics on the list, here are a few more reasons that you’ll want to consider for why your baby is crying.


Some babies are more sensitive than others to things like clothing texture, tags, etc., so check your baby’s clothing to see if that’s what’s bothering him.  In addition, check that your baby’s sleeper isn’t too tight, for threads caught on tiny toes or fingers, or even a hair that might have caught on his little hand.


Colic is a common problem for babies, especially between three and six months of age. Colic is usually caused by gas that isn’t burped out and ends up in the intestines. Try using gripe water, moving the baby’s legs in a jogging motion, or giving him a tummy massage to relieve the discomfort.


How exciting is it to lie in a crib and stare at the same dancing monkeys every day? Not very! Babies get bored just like adults do, so try to find new ways to stimulate them. My son loves it when I fold clothes and let him feel the different textures of each piece. He also likes to sit in his bouncy chair and listen to me explain things while I chop up veggies for supper. Even just setting your baby in front of a window where he can watch the world go by may be an effective way to alleviate his boredom.


Older babies have very specific ideas as to what they want to do, but often, their bodies aren’t ready to follow suit. The inability of babies to do as they please can get very frustrating for them; it is often the reason why they screech at the top of their lungs!  So, if your baby seems frustrated for no particular reason, chances are, he’s just trying something new and is upset because things aren’t panning out.

I still don’t understand every baby cry that my son lets out. Sometimes, it seems like he’s just exercising his lungs! Keep in mind that babies have a variety of needs, not just the need to eat and have their diaper changed; try different solutions and hopefully, your baby’s problem will be solved and you’ll be able to get some much-needed shut eye.

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2 Responses to “What Makes My Baby Cry?”

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