Discover the Main Reasons why Babies Cry

Many new parents tend to ask themselves why babies cry. While there is no single answer, it's good to know some of the reasons because it'll help you calm your baby down.
Discover the Main Reasons why Babies Cry
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Written by Yamila Papa

Last update: 27 December, 2022

A crying baby can lead to insomnia, despair, and frustration. A baby can start to cry at any moment. If you’re wondering about the main reasons why babies cry, keep reading to find out the answer.

The main reasons why babies cry

Babies cry, it’s just a fact of life. That’s their way of communicating that they don’t like something or need something in particular.

At first it may seem like all cries are the same. However, with the passing of days and weeks, parents realize that their baby cries in different ways depending on what he or she wants.

Undoubtedly, in the early days, it can seem impossible to calm babies down because you don’t understand why they’re crying. This shouldn’t worry you, as you’ll soon “guess” their gestures, needs, signs, and, above all, how to comfort and calm them down.

Here are the main reasons why babies cry:

1. Hunger

When they’re born, babies only think about one thing: eating. In most cases, the reason they cry is hunger, especially at night, when they wake up startled and eager for nourishment.

Main Reasons Why Babies Cry

Similarly, there are other signs that may indicate that babies are hungry before they start crying. For example, if they’re restless, put their hands in their mouth, turn their head to the side when you caress their cheek, stick out their tongue, or smack their lips.

2. Stomach problems

During the first few weeks of life, it’s normal for babies to have colic. This happens because their digestive system is getting used to digesting milk and triggers diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, etc.

If your baby starts crying after you feed him, it might be because his stomach hurts, he’s constipated, gassy, or suffering from gastroesophageal reflux.

There are different ways to relieve these symptoms, such as laying babies on their back and moving their legs as if they were pedaling a bicycle. Before medicating them, consult your pediatrician.

Another reason why babies cry is that they need to be burped. If your child eats hastily, he’ll probably swallow air. Thus, you must burp him after feeding him.

3. Dirty diaper

A dirty diaper makes your baby uncomfortable. When babies do their business, they’ll “notify” their mother so they can change their diaper. Others may stand a dirty diaper for longer and don’t notify their mother immediately.

In either case, when your baby cries, you should take a look at his or her diaper and make sure it isn’t too dirty. Remember that not changing them right away can cause eczema, irritation, redness, or what is known as diaper rash.

Babies cry because it’s their way of communicating that they don’t like something or that they need something in particular.

4. They’re sleepy

Another reason why babies cry is that they need to sleep. While they spend most of their time sleeping, sometimes they want to fall sleep and can’t. And that really irritates them!

Main Reasons Why Babies Cry

When it’s time for their nap, they may get cranky and cry inconsolably instead of falling asleep. This is because they may need to be rocked or put down in their crib to be able to fall asleep.

5. They need attention

Babies love being pampered, held, and sung to. They also crave feeling protected and loved by their parents. Perhaps crying is their way to ask for more attention and affection.

Some say that leads to spoiling. However, during their first months of life, babies need contact with their parents.

Other reasons why babies cry include being too warm or too cold. They may also be crying because something is bothering them, such as clothing labels or nearby toys.

If none of the above reasons made your baby cry, we recommend taking him or her to a pediatrician for a checkup. This is the best way to ensure that a simple discomfort doesn’t lead to something more serious.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.