Why Do Babies Cry?

Why Do Babies Cry?

As a parent, hearing your baby cry can be frustrating, even nerve wracking! The reality is babies cry for the same reason adults talk – to communicate.

Babies cry when they may be hungry, tired, feeling hot or cold, or simply because they want to be held or stimulated. Some babies, particularly ones that are nervous by nature, cry because they are over-stimulated from experiences throughout the day. The baby’s nervous system is still immature and the sensations received (voices, noises, lights, contacts, etc) progressively overload them. At the end of the day, the baby communicates in the only way it knows -- by crying.

The challenge comes in figuring out what the baby needs to stop crying.

As a parent, your role is to satisfy your baby’s need as quickly and accurately as possible, without becoming agitated or overly anxious. A baby can sense that its parent is nervous and becomes more excited and fitful.

Instead, watch your baby and begin understanding their emotional expressions. Learn to identify the different types of cries it uses to communicate hunger, boredom, discomfort (annoyance), tiredness and stress. Scientists have found that babies who are understood and well cared for create more neuronal connections -- links directly connected to brain growth and emotional development – which stimulate intelligence.

Well meaning parents often find they misunderstand their baby’s communication, leaving their baby’s needs unmet. These situations usually exacerbate the problem, leading to a more fitful baby and frustration and anxiety for both baby and parents alike. For example, not understanding that your baby is crying because it is hungry may lead to a missed feeding, which in time turns into cries of discomfort. If the baby's needs continue to be unmet, the baby becomes tired and cries even more.*

WhyCry® Mini helps you identify why your baby is crying within 10-20 seconds, avoiding situations that create stress for baby and you alike.

*If you begin to feel nervous or irritated, try taking a break. Make sure you put your baby down in a safe place, preferably in another room and do something that both distracts and calms you. If you start feeling distraught, ask a relative or close friend to look after the baby for a while. Parents who are anxious or upset can’t stimulate or give a baby what it needs. Therefore, we strongly recommend you seek help any time you feel you can’t cope with the situation.

* The Baby’s Knowledge, Dr T. Berry Brazelton, (Paidos, 1989)