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Why do babies cry?

Babies cry when they are hungry, wet, tired, in pain, or just want company. Some infants cry at certain times of the day or night (usually when you want to sleep or eat). Feeding or changing them may help, but sometimes even that doesn’t work.

What can I do if my baby is crying:

  • If the baby might be hungry, try to feed him/her. Offer a pacifier. Try burping the baby if you think it might be gas.
  • Check for and change a wet or soiled diaper.
  • Check to make sure clothes/shoes are not too tight or that the baby is not too warm/cold.
  • Check your baby’s temperature if he/she seems sick or feverish.
  • Hold/cuddle the baby. Walk the baby from room to room.
  • If the baby might be tired, try rocking/walking the baby, and put the baby to bed.
  • If the baby might be bored, try changing positions, a baby swing or other toys/music, or interacting with the baby.
  • Sometimes a steady sound such as a fan, a dishwasher, or a vacuum cleaner may calm your baby.
  • A ride in the car or a stroller ride may help.
  • Stay calm and be patient.

When to call your child's doctor:

  • It becomes a painful cry.
  • Your baby is less than 2 months old and acts sick.
  • The crying goes on for more than 3 hours or happens 3 or more times a day.
  • Your baby is 3 months old and still has colic-type crying.
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation occurs with crying.
  • Your baby is not gaining weight and may be hungry.
  • You can’t find a way to stop the crying.
  • You are exhausted from all the crying.

NEVER EVER, EVER SHAKE A BABY. Call for emergency help if you are afraid you might hurt your baby.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 08/06

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