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Five Reasons for a Baby's Cry

Updated on November 17, 2012
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Why is my Baby Crying?

No one likes to hear a baby's cry. I know when my baby cried, it felt like the walls were coming down around me and I was a failure. Don't tell yourself this. There are several reasons a baby may cry, and they may have nothing to do with you as a parent, or the baby may require immediate assistance. Learn how to distinguish between these cries so that you and your baby can not only prevent unnecessary crying in the future, but ayou can also strengthen the bond between infant and caretaker.

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Reasons for the Cry

  1. Hunger. If your baby is crying out of hunger, it is your responsibility as the parent or caregiver to fix this problem. This may sounds obvious, but adults need to come to terms with the great responsibility of taking care of a baby; without adults the baby would not survive. This great realization helped me become a better parent-- after acknowledging that I was in charge of taking care of my helpless newborn son, I knew that I needed to everything I could to ensure his survival and happiness. Your baby's hunger cry will be a violent cry. Hard, forceful and aggressive. If you haven't fed your baby within the past two hours and you note crying like this, feed your baby immediately. If you are using a schedule to feed your baby, but you find that he or she is crying like this frequently, it may be time to reassess how frequently you are feeding.
  2. Pain. Generally, but not always, when your baby is in pain, it will be his or her little stomach. Sometimes, the digestive system has a difficult time adjusting to life outside the womb, so it is imperative that caregivers always burp the infant effectively in order to prevent gas bubbles from building up. Pain cries can vary from a violent cry to a mousy cry. When the pain is extreme, the infant will become very tense and almost angry, attempting to push the gas out of his or her system. If you feel that your baby seems to be in pain frequently, or you are having a difficult time diagnosing why your baby seems to be in pain, see your baby's health care provider. He or she may be able to provide some insight as to why your baby is in pain, as well as provide suggestions for alleviating and preventing future pain.
  3. Temperature. If an infant is too hot or too cold, he or she may cry out of discomfort. If your baby seems cranky but you are unsure why, you might try adjusting the temperature by either swaddling or derobing the infant. Never use a heater by the baby's bed becuase this could cause him or her to overheat while sleeping and unable to inform you of the discomfort.
  4. Sleep or overstimulation. Nothing made my son crankier than being exhausted. When he was ready to go to bed, I knew it right away because his entire demeanor shifted from the pleasant baby that he normally was to a flailing, cranky little "monster." This may mean that the baby has sufficiently recieved all the stimulation he or she can handle at the moment and just needs to recuperate and "recharge the batteries." Daytime sleep is very important for growing and developing babies. If you were growing as fast as they are, you would require daily naps too! There is nothing better than geting a baby to sleep when he or she truly needs it.
  5. Personality. Some babies are more prone to crying than others. Some babies have a tendency to fixate on what they like and cry for that purpose. For example, some babies "need" a pacifier. Sucking can be great pacification for the baby, but be sureyou are not using the pacifier to hide other issues. I mean, if the baby is sleepy, popping the pacifier in is not the solution; it is just masking the problem. Another example is rocking. If an infant loves to be constantly moving, he or she may cry for that movement when still. This is ok, but it will need to end at some point. Be sure that you are not rocking when there is another problem, like hunger.

If you feel like your baby cries an unusual amount or you cannot seem to figure out the reason for the cry, contact your healhcare provider.

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The Solution

Whenever your baby is crying, take a deep breath. Before addressing the situation, think with a calm head. Assess the situation. How long ago did the baby eat? Has the baby been awake for too long? Is the temperature uncomfortable for baby? Does he or she seem like she is hurting?

Analyze the situation before simply feeding the baby or putting it to bed. Feeding a baby with a stomachache may only worsen the pain; putting a hungry baby to bed may cause slow development and weight gain.Truly get to know your baby and the various cries he or she uses. Then you will know when something out of the ordinary happens, but remember, always assess the situation first.

Remember, the crying always stops, but there is such limited quality time to spend with your baby before he or she grows up!

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    • wizardofodds profile image
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      Kayla Brown 4 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      Thanks twoseven! I learned a lot in my son's first year!

    • twoseven profile image

      twoseven 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Great information! I agree the most important thing is to spend the time to learn your baby's cues. It can be frustrating at times, but it's well worth it. Great hub and great advice for new parents.