Childbirth is almost a magical experience in the life of a woman. The first cry of the baby can make a new mother forget all her pain- her baby has finally made its presence known to the world- out loud. Though every cry after the first one is worrisome. Is my baby okay? Is he hungry? Is he sick? are the common concerns of new moms when their babies cry too much or too less. If you too are bothered by any such questions you need to calm down first. Crying is the only way your baby communicates and he/she is gonna do a lot of it every day. 

It doesn't necessarily mean that he is unwell or unhappy, it just means that your newborn is trying to tell you something. With time, you’ll be better able to understand your baby’s habits.

(Read more: Normal birth vs C-section)

  1. Why is the first cry important
  2. New born crying: What to expect
  3. How much crying is normal for a newborn
  4. Why is your baby crying
  5. When to visit a doctor
Doctors for Why do babies cry in the first 24 hours

The first cry of your baby is a sure sign that his/her lungs are functioning properly. It helps gynaecologists assess a newborn baby’s health. While a loud cry is considered a sign of well-being, feeble or low cry may point to health conditions.

Till your baby is born, the placenta is doing most of its breathing. Even at birth, the newborn’s lungs are not inflated. However, after parturition (childbirth) as the placenta is cut, the baby has to breathe by itself. Within the first 10 seconds of birth, he takes his first breath, filling his lungs with air and kicking out any residual amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds and protects the baby in the womb) in its nose and mouth. This is what brings about the cry. Sometimes, when the baby is not able to push the fluid out by itself, doctors do it by a suction tube.

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  • Normally, newborns are quiet and calm during the first 24 hours. After enjoying the comfort of your warm and secure womb, they will be working on adjusting to their new home 
  • Crying is the newborn’s the only way to get your attention, of telling you what he needs 
  • As a mother, the cry of your baby can prompt you to act, even when you’re asleep 
  • Babies cry and fuss on average for almost three hours a day. Some cry for a lot longer than this. Most of this crying happens in the late afternoon and evening

According to the National Childbirth Trust, Uk, every baby is unique and it is hard to tell how much crying is normal for your baby. However, research suggests that newborns cry for about two hours on an average day. You might wanna check in with a doctor if your baby cries for more than 3.5 hours every day. As they grow older they start to cry less. On average, a six- to eight-week-old baby cries for one hour a day.

He is hungry

Hunger is the most common reason for a baby to cry. Your baby has a tiny stomach that needs to be fed every 2-3 hours. Try to feed your baby every few hours. With time you will learn his cues for feeding. If you're breastfeeding, offer him/her your breast, even if you fed him/her half an hour ago. Your baby will come off your breast when he is content and settled.

If you're formula-feeding, your baby may not need more milk for at least two hours after the last feed. But that differs from baby to baby. Some babies remain calm and content for longer. 

If your baby is consistently not finishing his feeds, try giving him less formula milk at frequent intervals. 

He is feeling tired 

This world is new for your baby and he is still trying to adjust himself to the new environment. Constant attention from doting relatives can alarm the newborn and make it hard for him to sleep. As a result, your baby will feel overtired and cry. Try taking your newborn to a quiet room after a feed and before bed to help him calm down and switch off. Fussing and crying at the slightest thing, staring blankly into space, and being quiet and still are just some of the sleep cues through which your baby tells you that he needs some shut-eye.

He wants you to hold him

Babies always want to be close to their mothers. They spend nine months in the womb listening to their voice and heartbeat. After birth, your baby begins to recognise you through smell and touch. He constantly needs lots of cuddling, physical contact and reassurance to feel secure. So his crying may mean that he just wants to be held. Sway him and sing to him while you hold him close. This will help to distract and comfort your baby. 

He is too cold or too hot

Till nine months, the amniotic fluid in your womb kept the baby warm. Though, after birth, it’ll take him some time to learn to adjust to the outside temperature. With time his skin will get used to the environment. Till then, dress your baby according to the weather. He will usually need to wear just one layer more than you do. A soft blanket or newborn sleeping sack may help to keep him warm. 

However, don’t go overboard with clothes. A baby’s hands and feet will feel a little cool to the touch. They may even look a little blue, particularly in the first 24 hours. Check your baby’s temperature by feeling the upper part of his chest and layer his clothes accordingly.

He needs a nappy change

After hunger, this is probably the most common reason that your baby is crying. Though some babies don’t enjoy nappy change and tend to fuss when you try to. This is usually because of the cold air. Distract your baby with a toy, a song or by talking to him while you change his nappy or diaper. 

After a week or so, you'll become a pro at changing nappies quickly. 

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Though most of the time newborn crying is just his way to get attention, you should not ignore the constant moans and shrill cries of your baby. If you observe a change in the regular crying pattern it is better to visit your paediatrician.

Consoling a crying newborn is very exhausting and as mother, you will have to be on your toes all day and night. Try to remain calm and take a break and rest when you can. Remember that this is temporary. Crying spells will gradually decrease.

If you are losing control because of your baby's crying, put the baby in the crib take the help of your family and friends and go to another room to distract and collect yourself.

Dr. Mayur Kumar Goyal

Dr. Mayur Kumar Goyal

10 Years of Experience

Dr. Gazi Khan

Dr. Gazi Khan

4 Years of Experience

Dr. Himanshu Bhadani

Dr. Himanshu Bhadani

1 Years of Experience

Dr. Pavan Reddy

Dr. Pavan Reddy

9 Years of Experience

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