Crying and Colic
Why Do Babies Cry?
Crying is your baby's way of communicating. Most babies cry more at 6-8 weeks old than at birth. Babies cry more when they need something and they have different cries for different needs.
Hunger pain is the most common cause of crying. Breastfed babies feed frequently, since breastmilk is more easily digested than formula. So feed the baby, especially if it is more than two hours since the last feeding. Observe baby for early feeding cues such as sucking and licking movements of the mouth, making small sounds and rapid eye movements under the eyelids; feeding at these times can eliminate the progression to crying.
Something may be hurting or making your baby uncomfortable.
- Maybe it's time for a diaper change.
- Check the room temperature, as baby may be too hot or too cold. Baby should be dressed as warm as you, plus one more layer of clothing.
- Is the baby gassy? Gas pain can be very painful and may be alleviated by burping the baby, changing baby's position or giving the baby a gentle back rub.
Your baby needs to feel loved and secure.
The more comfort you provide by cuddling and holding your baby in the first few months, the less demanding your baby will be as he/she gets older. So do not be afraid of spoiling your baby.
Lonely or Bored
Remember that your new baby can see and hear well.
- Talk and sing to your baby.
- Rock the baby and play soothing music.
- Babies love bright colours. Have an interesting toy or mobile for the baby to watch.
Over Stimulated and/or Over Tired
Babies in this state may be very difficult to settle.
- Moving to quieter surroundings, slow rhythmic movements such as rocking, patting or going for a car ride may go a long way to help settle your baby.
What is colic? Many theories exist, but there are no clear explanations or ways to prevent colic.
Colic can be recognized by a lot of crying and fussiness that tends to last several hours and tends to be worse in the late afternoon or early evening.
Colic can occur in both breast and formula fed babies and usually begins at 2-3 weeks of age and can last until 3-4 months.
Although there are no proven treatments, some of the suggestions to ease crying can also be used for babies with colic.
It is important to remember that colic has nothing to do with your parenting. Having a colicky baby can be very stressful and frustrating, so it is important that you reach out to family and friends for support to help you cope.
For more information you may wish to call your Public Health Nurse or visit
Let's Grow A Healthy Baby, Grey Bruce Health Unit, 2003.
Baby's Best Chance, Province of British Columbia, 1998.