Ten reasons babies cry and how to soothe them

As if being a new mum didn’t involve enough hard work, it’s also one of the most difficult times to communicate with your little one. Before your child learns to speak, it can be hard to decipher what they want when they cry. Here’s ten different reasons babies cry, and how to solve them.

reasons babies cry

Reasons babies cry: food

Hunger: This is the number one reason most of us adults cry (we think) and the first thing you think of when baby starts.

Solution? Recognise the signs of hunger before your baby starts crying so you can feed them. Fussiness, lip smacking and putting their hands to their mouth can all indicate that baby wants to be fed.


Stomach pain: If your baby starts crying after being fed, it usually means there’s some sort of stomach problem. Most commonly, gas would be making baby feel uncomfortable.

Solution? If you’re not a fan of over-the counter anti-gas drops (as prescribed by your doctor), try putting baby on their back, grasping their feet and moving the legs in a gentle, bicycling motion. You could also pat on baby’s back for a burp.


Colic: It often feels like baby can cry for hours and hours for no particular reason. Colic can often be behind the persistent crying of an otherwise healthy baby.

Solution? Cuddling your baby, going for a drive or using white noise from a machine are some ways you can soothe colic.


Reasons babies cry: feeling uncomfortable

Dirty nappy: For some children, a wet nappy doesn’t affect them: they can wear it for hours and hours and not feel a thing. For others, they can’t stand the feeling of wearing a dirty nappy, even for two seconds.

 Solution? Whenever suspicious, a quick check would be best. For your own sanity, some nappies have invented a ‘wetness indicator’ which will tell you when things get dirty without you having to, well, check up on it.


Too hot: This is a particular issue living in the UAE. It’s sometimes difficult to dress your baby appropriately moving from dessert heat to freezing air conditioned areas. However, babies are very sensitive to heat, and becoming too hot can easily prompt tears.

 Solution? As a general rule, babies need only one more layer of clothing than we do in order to feel happy and warm, so dressing them like you’re in Antarctica will definitely backfire.


Too Cold: Your baby may not be used to the feeling of cold air on their skin. Especially after a bath or nappy change, you may find that baby starts to cry.

Solution? You’re probably dressing them up in enough layers, but until they put their clothes back on, they won’t stop crying if feeling cold. With time, you’ll master the art of a quick nappy – or clothes – change.


Teething: The harshness of a tooth breaking into tender gums can be quite painful for a baby.

Solution? Feel their gums and you may feel their baby tooth coming out. Ease the pain by giving them something to chew on: if old enough for solids, they may get relief from eating cold foods like yogurt.


Reasons babies cry: tiredness, attention and illness

Tired: If a baby is too tired, they may have trouble sleeping.

Solution? If overtired, they may stare blankly into space, go quiet or whine over the slightest thing. For younger babies, try swaddling, playing white noise or feeding them. For older babies, try rocking them, reading to them, singing a lullaby or playing white noise. Babies of all ages may benefit from a walk in the pram to calm them to sleep.


Attention, please: Babies very often want to be held. Cuddling and physical contact offer reassurance and comfort for little ones.

Solution? For added comfort, sway your baby or sing to them. They’ll be comforted by the warmth of your body and smell.


Not feeling well: You know best: you may feel like there’s something wrong with your baby or find that their crying is high-pitched, continuous or more urgent.

Solution? Head to the pediatrician’s office as soon as you feel like something just isn’t right with your baby.


If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in this story on things you need to know about breastfeeding in Dubai. 

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