An excessively crying baby is a panic button for parents. It keeps them burned out and sleep deprived. Further parents have no clue what could be the reason behind crying and how to address it. We have simplified all of it here.

Often we presume that, it is so fun to be a baby. Isn’t it! Just wake-up, feed, get tired and go to sleep. And then everyone will cherish you for no absolute reason. But babies do have tough time. Imagine being a baby. You want to express something, but you can’t. And you can do nothing about it too. That’s when a baby cries. 


The moment a baby is born, it starts crying. A newborn devotes around 2-3 hours a day for crying. 

Crying is a universal language for babies, peculiarly during first one year of life. It is a way to communicate with others. But what does an excessively crying baby trying to tell ? 

In this post we will try to decode language of an excessively crying infant. Also will put forward all possible solutions for new parents. 


Babies are born with stomach with very limited capacity. Hence they get hungry too frequently. 

When a baby is hungry, initially it leaves some clues for parents labelled was ‘hunger cues’. It will turn head from one side to other in search of nipple. It will smack lips ( lick lips ) and also put its hands inside mouth and start sucking. 

When hunger reaches peak, baby will start crying. To begin with, this cry is less frequent, lasts for few seconds and then again baby will be calm for some time. But if feeding demand is not met, the cry becomes louder and recurrent. Baby will also move four limbs in all directions out of frustration. 

Picking early hunger cues and feeding baby on time is imperative. If it is hunger cry then hold, soothe and feed the baby. Mother should also check if she is getting proper milk or not. 


Crying may be a reminder that, it is time for diaper change. After baby wets or passes poop, it stays inside diaper and irritates skin. Hence always check diaper or cloth if a baby cries. 


Sometimes a baby is excessively crying simply because it is bored. When no one is around, it calls for attention by crying. In that case holding the baby and walking around or taking baby out on a stroller will console a baby. 


When a baby is trying to sleep, but is not able to, then it cries too. Rubbing eyes repeatedly and yawning gives clue that it wants to sleep. So swing the baby or rock the baby and put it to sleep. 


If a baby is not covered properly when surrounding temperature goes down, then baby develops hypothermia ( low body temperature ). In initial stage of hypothermia, its hand and feet will turn colder compared to body. This is termed as “cold stress”. In this case clothe the baby with cap, mittens, socks, blanket etc. 

Sometimes it is the contrary. Parents layer a baby unduly with too many thick clothings to prevent a baby from becoming cold. Here too baby will excessively cry trying to voice out its uneasiness. So parents should pay attention here and remove extra clothings. 

Besides, too tight cloth or uncomfortable fabric or too stiff shoes or socks are also culprits. Hence always choose appropriate sized, soft and clean cotton clothings for babies. 


When a baby cries due to pain, customarily this cry is stronger, lasts longer and is more frequent. Baby will be fussy in between too. 

Colic is a form of cramping pain in gut of an infant. This is quite a common issue in babies between 3 weeks to 3 months of life. It fits into definition of colic when an otherwise healthy baby cries for more than 3 hours a day for at least 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks. 


This baby is well fed and not in hunger. Also it doesn’t have any other identifiable cause for crying. Detailed insight about what is colic pain and why colic pain happens in a baby is discussed in previous blog post. For new parents it is a must read. 


When a baby is brought to an environment which is crowded / noisy / too lighted then baby expresses its annoyance by crying excessively. Also if home environment is such that there is too much noise as happens during yelling/ shouting or else there is unwarranted bright light at home then baby cries too. 



This is a typical problem in child that many a times go unnoticed. If a baby has nose block, it can not suck milk properly. Also nose block results in retracted tympanic membrane or ear drum. This is one of the leading causes of ear pain in a child that results in inconsolable cry

When a child has nose block parents can find it out clearly by paying attention to noisy breathing coming out of nose of a sleeping a baby. Also baby cannot suck milk continuously like it usually does. Baby will feed for a very brief time and then will stop to feed. As if it is trying hard to feed but is not able to. 


As discussed earlier nose block may induce to acute pain in ear owing to retraction in ear drum. Furthermore, there are other causes of ear pain in a kid as well like ear infection, foreign body or insect inside ear etc, which leads to an excessively crying baby.


Parents sometimes overlook rashes over diaper areas on skin of baby. This causes irritation and soreness. 

To prevent diaper rash, keep a baby diaper free for most part of day. Cloth or cloth diaper is a preferable alternative. If you are using diaper for baby, then don’t leave it for long once it is soiled or wet. Change it frequently. 

In case of loose motion too, babies get diaper rash. Try to keep skin over diaper area as much dry as possible. Coconut oil aids in healing diaper rash. Your paediatrician may provide medicated cream as well. 


If parents notice that a baby who was active and playful, suddenly becomes fretful and cranky, then insect bite can be a possibility. It may happen that an insect has crawled in and bitten. Mosquito bite can also be one cause. 

Search into any redness or swelling present over skin. Remove insect if you find any. Apply a cloth soaked in cold water or with ice pack to the area intermittently for 10-15 minutes. It will lessen pain and swelling. If it does not help then consult a physician. 


While feeding milk, it passes from mouth through oesophagus to stomach. Reflux ensues when milk follows reverse path and comes up from stomach to oesophagus and then to mouth. This happens in babies owing to immature sphincters in gut. Reflux is even more common in preterm. 

Stomach’s content is acidic. So when milk refluxes, it gives a severe burning sensation, and hence pain. 

  • Burping baby properly for 10-15 minutes after each feed helps to avert reflux and regurgitation of milk. 
  • While laying baby on bed, keep head end of bed at 30 degree elevation to further prevent reflux. 


If you have tried everything mentioned above and still it doesn’t help, then baby might be have an underlying illness. Consult a paediatrician to find out the cause. Also paediatrician will examine and identify newborn jaundice, hypothermia and other subtle as well as overt signs which is many a times missed by parents. 


There are certain danger signs like poor feeding, reduced activity, lethargy, difficulty breathing, hurried breathing, reduced urine output etc. that need immediate attention. So be observant of these symptoms. 


These are not the only causal agents.  Baby which is vaccinated recently may start excessively crying. One such example is continuous crying following DPT vaccine. 

Baby, which has suffered any internal injury like fracture, will also cry out of agony. Occult injury may result from process of delivery too. The bottom line is individual cause need to be assessed for each individual baby, as it it not same for all. 


No matter how annoying it is to handle a crying infant, never shake him/her vigorously. This may cause shaken baby syndrome with bleeding into brain, permanent brain injury and even death. 



Parents often blame themselves for excess cry of a baby. But fact is that, if at all you try your best still one cannot keep a baby from crying. Hence instead of self blame, find out an answer. 

If you found the article useful, practical and simple to follow then do share it with others and help them out.


All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.

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