Why is my baby crying?

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Why is my baby crying mother child

It's a sound that drives mothers to distraction - and that's exactly what nature intends. Here's how to cope when your baby won't stop crying.

Babies can't talk, so they cry instead. Your baby is crying because she needs something, the experts say. Simply work out what your baby is trying to tell you, then act immediately on her 'instructions.' Sounds easy? Try telling that to a sleep-deprived mum who has been pacing the floor with her newborn since 3am.

Her response won't be polite. Instead, try showing her this guide. It may make her life a little easier.

1. She's uncomfortable

If she's definitely not hungry, think practical. Babies often complain because they feel uncomfortable.

Wet or dirty nappies bother some a lot more than others, so it's always worth checking whether she needs to be changed.

Also make sure her sleep suit fits properly (you wouldn't be happy if your clothes felt tight, would you?), her bedding is comfortable and she's not too hot or too cold.

The temperature in her bedroom should be around 18°C (65°F). This may all sound obvious, but it's easy to forget these simple things when you're feeling stressed.

2. She's tired

If she's tired she should just go to sleep, right?

Well she would if she could, but young babies often need a bit of extra help getting off to sleep. Cuddling, rocking, stroking and singing can all help calm her down. Don't worry about 'spoiling her'. The vast majority of experts now agree that you can't spoil a newborn baby by cuddling and comforting them.

3. She's overtired

Young babies can't handle too much stimulation. Lots of visitors, or a very busy day can unsettle her and make her extremely tired. But this doesn't mean she'll recuperate by sleeping for eight hours.

She's more likely to do the opposite and keep you awake all night. Try swaddling her in a sheet or blanket to make her feel safe and secure. (Young babies usually love being swaddled, it reminds them of being in the womb). But if you want a peaceful life, the best solution is to limit visitors and activities in the early days of your baby's life.

4. She has 'colic'

Its the five letter word that sends a shiver up the spine of even the most hardy, fearless parent - which isn't surprising. A baby with colic will cry and cry and cry, and no matter what you do, you can't seem to comfort them.

The crying often starts in the early evening when you're tired and desperate to unwind, and continues for several hours until you're too exhausted to care.

Instead of relaxing with a glass of wine, you will find yourself doing the most bizarre things. From practising the colic 'dance' (a weird series of steps and sways designed to soothe her), to pacing round the garden, feeding her anti-colic drops, switching on the washing machine so she can hear the noise (the spin cycle works best), massaging her tummy - and if all else fails, bundling her into her car seat at 2am and going for a drive.

Nobody really knows what causes colic - an immature digestive system, slow bowel movements, swallowing too much air, or drinking cows milk are all popular theories. But we do know that a lot of babies get it (around 15 per cent) and it does eventually ease, usually at around three months. So get through these difficult weeks as best you can by doing any or all of the above. And remember, thousands of other parents will be doing exactly the same.

If you're close to despair, put her down in her cot where she's safe and have a ten minute break.
Call a friend or relative, or contact Cry-sis a support group for anyone finding it hard to cope with a crying baby. Helpline number 08451 228 669 or go to

Always remember:

  • All babies cry - no matter what their parents say. Even the most laid back, angelic newborn will exercise her lungs for at least one hour every day, usually a lot, lot more. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
  • Listening to her baby cry can turn even the toughest, hard-nosed woman into a sobbing, demented wreck. A newborn's cry is designed to produce a hormonal 'surge' in her mother, making her feel anxious and compelling her to 'do something.'


She isn't hungry, she isn't tired, she's comfortable and clean and doesn't have colic - so why is she crying?

  • She's bored or lonely
Even young babies need company or playthings. This doesn't mean spending a fortune on toys. A simple mobile, a rattle or even a wooden spoon could fascinate her for ages. Or sit her in a baby seat and let her watch you and talk to you. Chat to her and let her babble back. Remember you're the best playmate she'll ever have.
  • She's ill
If your baby is ill, her cry could be more high-pitched than usual. If you're worried, see your GP, midwife or call on 0845 4647.

Act quickly if her cry sounds urgent and is also accompanied by vomiting, runny nappies, a temperature, a rash, or difficulty breathing.

Continued below...

For more information go to

- Baby sleep advice for new mums

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laura gibbs

my seven week old never settles at night, she sleeps through the day just fine but when i go to settle down to sleep my self up she gets. she crys all night. what can i do, please help im at my wits end!


My baby is 15 weeks old and i'm still having to rock him off to sleep, he puts up a good fight even though you can see he's absolutely shattered and it can be so frustrating, i literally have to either sit there rocking him or walk around and it can take me upto 30 minutes for him to fall asleep, sometimes longer. Is this normal for a baby of his age? he just doesn't seem to have or want any routine and am having a complete nightmare trying to get him to sleep in his cot.

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