Why Does A Baby Cry: Understanding What Is Wrong

Why a baby can cry for so long and make any adult nervous. Whether you are a new parent, or a caregiver, learn a few tips to sooth a crying baby.

A crying baby, especially if the crying continues for a long period of time, can be stressful on the parents or caregivers. In order to understand how to soothe a crying baby, we must first understand why babies cry. Here are a few common things that could be causing your baby to cry:


Dirty diaper





It is important for babies to cry as this is how they express their feelings or their needs. Babies have different cries to represent their different needs.

Eventually, new parents will be able to identify what is wrong with the baby by the sound of the cry. Until you can identify what you baby needs, you will have to rely on trial and error. The first thing you should do is pick the baby up. Babies need to be held and cuddled. Don't worry about spoiling your baby: holding and nurturing will not spoil a child. Babies that are repeatedly left crying may begin to feel neglected or insecure.

If holding your baby doesn't stop him from crying, go down the list of possible problems. Try changing his diaper, feeding him or talking to him. He may just be bored or lonely and need to hear your voice.

Prolonged crying may indicate that something is wrong. If your baby displays any signs of illness such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other abnormal symptom, contact your doctor for an evaluation. Sometimes babies that don't normally cry much will cry a lot when they are ill.

Some effective steps in soothing your baby include:

Rocking or swinging

Many babies enjoy the motion involved in rocking or swinging. You can rock your baby in your lap in a rocking chair or swing in a porch swing with your baby in your lap or you may invest in a baby swing. Many parents have sworn by their infant swing. Never leave an infant alone or unattended in an infant swing.

Wrapping the baby in a snug blanket (swaddling)

Wrapping the baby snugly in a receiving blanket may help him feel safe and secure. Some parents have stated that swaddling was the most effective method of soothing their infants, ages newborn to six weeks. Be sure you do not wrap the blanket too tightly and never put a baby to sleep while wrapped in swaddled blankets.

Singing, talking, or humming

Just hearing your voice could be soothing for a crying baby. You can try singing to him, humming, reading a book to him or just talking. Hold the baby against your chest when you are singing or humming, the vibrations of your voice and the sound of your heartbeat are also soothers.

Taking a walk

Try taking a walk outside. Some babies respond well to the sights and sound of the great outdoors. Put your baby in his stroller and take a walk around the block. This will also be a great stress reliever for the parent. If the weather permits you from going outdoors, try walking around the house or pacing up and down a hallway. Your baby may enjoy the motion and the change of scenery.

If all else fails, use the "Let's take a drive trick!"

It's amazing how many babies and small children respond to the car trick! As soon as you place a child in their car seat and start driving, they fall asleep. Perhaps it's the change of scenery, the motion of the car or the hum of the engine that soothes them, or perhaps a combination of all three. This has been a fail proof method for many parents, myself included! Just hope that the little fellow stays asleep when you try to remove him from the car!

Sometimes, all attempts to soothe your little one will fail and you will simply have to allow the crying to run its course. These crying spells can be nerve racking even for the calmest of parents. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed by your baby, call a friend, neighbor or family member and ask for assistance. If no one is available to help you immediately and you feel you must take a break, place the baby in a safe place, such as his crib, and take a short break to calm yourself down. Never allow yourself to get angry at the baby and never, ever shake a baby, this can cause severe trauma...even death!

Above all, be patient, time will teach you what your baby's cries mean and how he will best respond to you. And as your baby gets older and finds other ways to express his feelings and needs, his crying will diminish.

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