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Gabriel Montenegro
Gabriel Montenegro

Colic 101: What Is It, Why Does It Happen, and How to Help Your Baby

Cry Babies: Why They Cry and How to Soothe Them

If you have a newborn or an infant, you probably know how challenging it can be to deal with their crying. Babies cry for many reasons, and sometimes it can be hard to figure out what they need or want. Crying is their way of communicating with you, but it can also be stressful and frustrating for both of you.

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In this article, we will help you understand why babies cry, how to identify different types of cries and their meanings, and how to respond to your baby's cries and comfort them. We will also share some tips for calming a crying baby and making them feel safe and loved.

Common Reasons Why Babies Cry

Babies cry for various reasons, depending on their age, temperament, environment, and needs. Some of the most common reasons why babies cry are:


Hunger is one of the first things you should check when your baby cries. Babies have small stomachs and need to feed frequently, especially in the first few months. A hungry baby may cry in a rhythmic and repetitive way, with short pauses between each cry. They may also make a "neh" sound, which is caused by their tongue hitting the roof of their mouth as they search for milk. Other signs of hunger include:

  • Fussing or squirming

  • Lip-smacking or sucking on their hands

  • Rooting or turning their head toward anything that touches their cheek

  • Putting their hands in their mouth

To soothe a hungry baby, offer them the breast or bottle as soon as you notice their hunger cues. Let them eat until they are full and satisfied. They may close their mouth and turn their head away when they have had enough. Try to feed your baby before they get too hungry and start crying, as this can make it harder for them to calm down and latch on.

Discomfort or Fussiness

Babies may also cry if they are uncomfortable or fussy. This can happen because they are tired, bored, overstimulated, too hot or cold, or have a dirty diaper. A fussy baby may cry mildly, on and off, with varying intensity. They may also arch their back, kick their legs, or clench their fists.

To soothe a fussy baby, check for any causes of discomfort and fix them if possible. Change their diaper if it is wet or soiled, adjust their clothing if it is too tight or loose, or move them to a quieter or cooler place if they are bothered by noise or temperature. You can also try to distract them with a toy, a book, or a song.

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If your baby is fussy because they are tired, help them nap by rocking them, swaddling them, or singing to them. New born babies need about 16 to 18 hours of sleep a day, while older babies need about 12 to 15 hours a day. Try to follow a consistent sleep routine and avoid overstimulating your baby before bedtime.

Pain or Illness

Babies may also cry if they are in pain or sick. This can happen because they have a fever, an ear infection, a rash, a sore throat, or teething. A baby in pain may cry loudly, sharply, and urgently, with little or no pause between each cry. They may also make a "eh" sound, which is caused by their chest tightening as they exhale. Other signs of pain or illness include:

  • Redness or swelling in the affected area

  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Difficulty breathing or coughing

  • Pulling their ears or rubbing their gums

To soothe a baby in pain, try to find out the source of their pain and treat it if possible. You can give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen (after consulting with your doctor) to reduce their fever or inflammation. You can also apply a cold compress or a teething gel to their affected area. If your baby has an ear infection, you can elevate their head to relieve the pressure. If your baby has a sore throat, you can offer them some warm water or breast milk to soothe it.

If your baby's pain is severe or persistent, or if they have other symptoms that worry you, call your doctor or take them to the emergency room. Do not ignore your baby's cries or assume that they will go away on their own. Your baby may need medical attention and care.


Colic is a condition that causes babies to cry excessively and inconsolably for no apparent reason. It usually affects babies between two weeks and four months of age. The exact cause of colic is unknown, but it may be related to gas, digestion, temperament, or sensory overload. A colicky baby may cry for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks. They may also cry in a high-pitched and piercing way, with their legs drawn up and their fists clenched.

To soothe a colicky baby, try to calm them down by rocking them, swaddling them, or shooshing them. You can also try to burp them, massage their belly, or give them some gripe water (after consulting with your doctor) to ease their gas. You can also try to change their feeding position, formula, or bottle (if you are not breastfeeding) to prevent them from swallowing air.

Colic can be very stressful and exhausting for both you and your baby. It is important to take care of yourself and seek support from your partner, family, friends, or doctor. Remember that colic is not your fault and that it will eventually pass.

Tips for Calming a Crying Baby

Besides addressing the specific reasons why your baby cries, there are some general tips that can help you calm them down and make them feel better. Some of these tips are:

Rocking, Swaddling, and Shooshing

These methods can trigger a calming response in your baby's brain by mimicking the sensations they felt in the womb. Rocking your baby gently in your arms, a cradle, or a swing can soothe their nerves and lull them to sleep. Swaddling your baby snugly in a blanket can make them feel secure and cozy. Shooshing your baby softly in their ear can create white noise that blocks out other sounds and reminds them of your heartbeat.

Music, Singing, and Talking

These methods can distract your baby and make them feel secure by stimulating their senses and emotions. Playing some soft music, singing a lullaby, or talking to your baby in a soothing voice can calm them down and capture their attention. You can also try to match the tone and rhythm of your voice to your baby's cries and then gradually lower it to help them relax.

Pacifier, Massage, and Warm Bath

These methods can relax your baby and reduce stress hormones by stimulating their physical comfort and pleasure. Giving your baby a pacifier can satisfy their sucking reflex and help them self-soothe. Massaging your baby gently with some oil or lotion can ease their tension and improve their blood circulation. Giving your baby a warm bath can lower their body temperature and make them sleepy.


Crying is normal and natural for babies, and it is their way of expressing their needs and feelings. As a parent, it is important to understand and respond to your baby's cries and comfort them. By doing so, you can help them feel safe, loved, and happy.

However, soothing a crying baby can be challenging and stressful at times. You may not always know why your baby is crying or how to calm them down. You may also feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or guilty. That is why you need to be patient, flexible, and compassionate with yourself and your baby. You also need to trust your instincts and seek support when you need it.

Remember that every baby is different and that what works for one may not work for another. You may have to try different methods and combinations until you find what works best for your baby and you. You may also have to adjust your strategies as your baby grows and changes. The most important thing is to keep trying and never give up.

Crying is a normal part of your baby's development and it will not last forever. As your baby matures, they will learn other ways of communicating with you and coping with their emotions. They will also develop a stronger bond with you and a greater sense of security and trust. Until then, you can use the tips and information in this article to help you and your baby get through the crying phases.


Here are some common questions and answers about cry babies:

Q: How much crying is normal for


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