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If you’re a new parent and you get confused between crying-for-a-nappy-change and crying-for-food, you’re not alone. It’s a learning curve that all new parents have to go through. And if you take it in your stride, it can be quite rewarding.

Crying is actually one of the more nuanced ways in which our babies communicate with us. And as you work towards this mini-milestone in your parenting journey, we put together a list of the eight most common reasons why babies cry and how to comfort your baby in the hope that it helps.

  1. ‘I am hungry’
  2. ‘I am a colic baby’
  3. ‘I am tired, I need to sleep’
  4. ‘I need a nappy change’
  5. ‘I am feeling hot’
  6. ‘I am feeling cold’
  7. ‘I want to be cuddled’
  8. ‘I am not feeling well’
  9. Takeaway
Doctors for 8 most common reasons why young babies cry

Hunger is the most common reason for a baby to cry. When your baby is small, she has a stomach the size of a marble: it can’t hold very much. In other words, she has to feed more frequently because she can’t have a lot of milk in one go.

She will cry for her feeds every two-three hours. Feed her whenever she demands. With time, she will give you cues like sucking on her fists or turning to your breasts when you tap her cheeks. Observe your baby and you’ll soon begin to understand her cues.

Say, you have just fed your baby and everything seems alright, but your baby’s still crying. Every effort to pacify her seems to be in vain.

Don’t panic!

Your otherwise healthy baby may be a colic baby.

A baby is considered to be colicky if she is younger than five months old and if she cries for more than three hours a day, for three or more days in a week, for at least three weeks. 

Here’s how you can tell if your baby is a colic baby:

  • Her cries are louder and higher-pitched than other babies her age.
  • Her tummy is often tight, she clenches her fists and passes gas frequently.

You can help your baby by burping her after every feed. Rub or massage her back to soothe her.

Your baby has to make lots of adjustments to adapt to her new world. To cope, she needs to sleep for 16-18 hours a day. Your baby may cry if she is overtired and unable to sleep. Follow her cues to know when she is sleepy: whining, crying or silently looking into the blank space could all be signs that she's ready for her forty winks. Take her to a silent room and help your baby to get enough sleep.

A wet or soiled diaper or nappy irritates the soft skin of the baby and she may protest by crying. Change the nappies timely and keep your baby dry and clean. Use barrier cream at every nappy change. Try to give some nappy-free time to your baby daily.

We tend to overburden our babies with clothes. The overdressing not only restricts her movements but also makes her feel hot and uneasy.

Remember, your baby only needs one more layer of clothing than you.

Our babies hate bathing and nappy changes because they are not used to feeling the cold air on their skin. It makes them uncomfortable, and they cry to communicate their discomfort.

This doesn't need a fix. With time, you will learn to do a quick yet proper nappy change. And your baby will get used to the air.

Babies need cuddle time. Your cuddles reassure them and they feel secure and loved. Hold them close to you, sway them and sing to them. You can also use a baby sling to keep your baby close to you.

No one knows a baby better than her parents. If you feel that your baby is not her usual self and is moaning or crying too loudly, then call your doctor immediately.

Your baby depends on you for her every need. And crying is the only way she can communicate her needs and problems to you. In the beginning, you may find it hard to handle when your baby is crying; you may even tear-up yourself. But you will soon learn to tell the difference between crying for cuddles and crying because your baby is ill.

Dr. Nida Mirza

Dr. Nida Mirza

Pediatrics
5 Years of Experience

Dr. Vivek Kumar Athwani

Dr. Vivek Kumar Athwani

Pediatrics
7 Years of Experience

Dr. Hemant Yadav

Dr. Hemant Yadav

Pediatrics
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Rajesh Gangrade

Dr. Rajesh Gangrade

Pediatrics
20 Years of Experience

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