Why Do Babies Cry? What Your Newborn Is Telling You

Crying is perfectly normal for all babies, but why do babies cry? Crying is how your little one communicates with you. As you start to get to know your baby better, you will start to understand that different cries mean different things. Pitch, facial expressions, and body language will also give you cues as to what your newborn is trying to tell you.

Don’t be alarmed if you notice that your newborn starts to cry more around 2 to 3 weeks. This is not uncommon. In fact, it is quite possible that your baby’s crying will continue to increase, peaking at 6 to 8 weeks. Babies tend to cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

There are times when you will be able to predict why your baby is crying. For example, you know that it has been a few hours since they fed and are getting hungry. However, other times, they may cry for no reason that is apparent to you. This can often feel overwhelming and leave a new parent feeling a little helpless. Throw in some serious sleep deprivation, and it can feel like a perfect storm. So, here is a list of what your crying baby might be trying to tell you and what you can check for.

Why Do Babies Cry? A Checklist for New Parents:

  • Hunger
  • Dirty Diaper: Some babies will be more sensitive to a dirty diaper than others.
  • Gas/Sore Tummy: Try to burping baby or laying baby on their back and gently moving their legs in bicycle motion. You can also try holding baby on their side or stomach.
  • Something Hurts: Babies have a highly-developed sense of touch, so they may be sensitive to something causing them discomfort. For example, check to see whether there is a tag scratching them or a strand of hair wrapped around baby’s toe.
  • Tired: Babies crying may be exacerbated when they are overtired.
  • Overstimulation: It is possible for newborns to be overstimulated. If you suspect this is the issue, try dimming the lights and creating a quiet space for baby. *
  • Boredom: While overstimulation could be the issue, so can under stimulation. *
  • Too Cold or Too Hot: As a general rule, babies should be in one more layer than you are wearing.
  • Not Feeling Well: If you are concerned that your baby might be sick, check their temperature.
  • Wants To Be Cuddled: Babies love to be cuddled. They love to be close to you – see your face, smell you, and feel your heartbeat.

Above all else, trust your instincts! If you are concerned that baby is crying too much, crying too little, or you feel that there might be a cause for concern, see your healthcare provider.

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