All babies cry and some cry more than others. Babies cry when they're hungry, bored, scared, need a diaper change or want to be held. Sometimes, they may cry for no reason. And sometimes they may cry because they don't feel well. Crying is one of the few ways your baby can communicate with you.
If your baby cries often, it doesn't mean you're a bad parent. It can be very frustrating when your baby keeps crying even after your best efforts to make him feel better. But as you get to know your baby, you'll learn how much crying is normal for him and what you can do to soothe him.
It's important to respond quickly when your baby cries during the first few months of life. Don't worry about spoiling your newborn baby. If you respond quickly to your baby's cries, she may cry less overall.
If your baby cries, try the following:
If your baby cries longer than usual and nothing you do soothes him, call your baby's health care provider to see if there is a medical reason or if he's sick. If he pulls up his legs or passes gas often, he may have colic (intense crying for more than 3 hours a day).
And remember, NEVER shake your baby. If you begin to feel very frustrated, call a friend or relative for help. Not only does this give you a break, but having a new face can sometimes calm your baby.
Some studies show that premature babies are more likely to be fussy than babies who are born full term. They may be harder to soothe, cry often, and have trouble eating and sleeping. If your baby is fussy, it may be comforting to know that you are not alone. Your baby will soon outgrow this difficult phase.
Some babies who have been in the NICU have trouble getting used to the quiet of home. Your baby may sleep better with some background music or a low level of noise.
Last reviewed September 2012
About 1 in 5 babies develops colic - usually between 1 and 4 months of age. They cry constantly, often extending or pulling up their legs or passing gas. Sometimes their tummies are enlarged with air and gas from crying. There's no one cause of colic, but there are many different ways to ease your baby's discomfort. One way is to walk her in a soft-sided baby carrier that you strap to the front of your body. You can also try laying her tummy-down across your knees and gently rubbing her back. The pressure against her tummy may relieve her discomfort. Breastfeeding moms can ask their baby's health care providers about a change in food choices or eliminating specific foods that may cause your baby's colic. Keep in mind that colic usually disappears by 4 months of age, no matter what treatments you try.
If your child is younger than 3 years, taking a rectal temperature gives the best reading. Here's how:
Your baby's bowel moments depend on her age and eating habits. Every baby is different. Some babies have a bowel movement right after each feeding. Others have it only once a day. It also is normal that a breastfed baby (3 to 6 weeks of age) passes stools only once a week. Formula fed babies should pass stools at least once a day. If your baby is having irregular bowel movements but her stools are soft (no firmer than peanut butter), this isn't a sign of constipation. But if your baby's stools are firm, she seems fussy or cries when having a bowel movement, she might be constipated. Talk to your baby's health care provider.