Why is my baby crying so much, especially at night? 

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A baby crying is the only way in which infants express themselves. To convey any need or discomfort, babies crying to get your attention. But for a new mom, the crying can sometimes be worrying (read here to know what research says about it). Till the time your baby starts to talk, use our guide to figure out why she is crying.

Why is my baby crying?

An infant in her early stage (0 to 1 year of age) cries for several reasons and attending to her cries is a part of newborn baby care. With her not being able to talk, we can only guess what is it that the child is asking for. Here are some probable reasons:

  • Baby crying after birth Just after birth the baby’s cry signifies intake of oxygen into the lungs for the first time. In the womb, babies’ intake oxygen through placenta via the umbilical cord and crying within few seconds of being born shows that the baby’s lungs have kick-started. The first cry gets rid of the excess amniotic residue present in the lungs, mouth and nasal passages. It also helps the doctor to evaluate baby’s adaptation ability to life outside the uterus. 
  • Hunger- The younger the baby, the more likely she will feel hungry often. They have small appetites and possibly every pee or poop leaves their stomach empty leading to a baby crying.
  • Physical discomfort- Another important reason for the baby to be wailing is an attempt to get your attention to the fact that her diaper is soiled and needs a change. This is the most common reason when the baby is crying in her sleep.
  • Temperature change- Infants initially find it difficult to regulate their body temperature in accordance to the environment. So when she feels cold or may be too hot she may cry to indicate discomfort especially when the baby is crying at night.
  • Physical proximity- Newborn babies need a lot of physical closeness. Babies look for the familiar warmth and cozyness of the womb and a skin-to-skin touch is the closest that comes to it. So, to feel and be assured about the presence of her mom, the baby may be crying a lot; baby maybe crying in her sleep; baby maybe crying at night.
  • Need for rest and sleep- Newborns’ need a lot of rest and sleep comfort. But at times the baby cannot just sleep by herself. That is the time when she cries to express the need of rest.
  • Colic and illness- Colic is a common cause that makes babies cry. Experts believe that it is the contraction in the intestines that causes them pain. And can lead to hours of inconsolable crying. Other reasons could include pain, stuffy nose, inability to breathe, insect bites etc. or just a general feeling of discomfort .

Did you know that moms respond to a crying baby in 5 seconds? Well done, mumma!!

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

To handle crying, work by the elimination theory:

Give the baby milk, change her diaper, check her clothes for too warm or cold, hold her close to make her feel secure, warm and loved. Try and gently rock your baby if the baby is not getting comforted. Sometimes a change of scene–take your baby outside in the open/another room also helps. At times, offer your baby clean finger tips to suck on something that works as a baby soother.

Importantly, when the baby is crying, do not get worked up.

Babies sense emotions. Instead try soothing sounds, talking gently, singing or humming to your baby. Also, in case you have a colicky baby, baby is crying all night or baby is crying too much in her sleep, ask your pediatrician for some colic medicine to soothe the baby.

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