Don’t worry parents - babies cry! Paying close attention to your baby’s different cries can help you understand what they’re trying to tell you.

Why is my baby crying?

Newborn Baby Crying

Don’t worry parents - babies cry! Newborns may cry up to several hours each day and crying serves several useful purposes.

Crying is a way to call for help when your baby is hungry or uncomfortable. It also helps them shut out sights, sounds and other sensations that are too intense and it helps them release tension. Babies also have fussy periods throughout the day, even when nothing is wrong. This kind of crying seems to help babies get rid of excess energy so they can return to a more contented state.

Paying close attention to your baby’s different cries can help you understand what they’re trying to tell you.

  • A hungry cry is usually short and low-pitched, and it rises and falls.
  • An angry cry tends to be more turbulent.
  • A cry of pain or distress generally comes on suddenly and loudly with a long, high-pitched shriek followed by a long pause and then a flat wail.
  • The "leave me alone" fussy cry is usually similar to the hungry cry.

It won’t take long before you have a pretty good idea of what your baby’s cries are trying to tell you and how you can best respond to him or her. Make sure to share this information with other caregivers, including your spouse or partner. Above all, don’t take your newborn’s crying personally - he or she is not crying because you’re a bad parent or because he or she doesn't like you.


About the Author

As a pediatrician, Dr. Allison-Bryan specializes in the care of infants, children and adolescents. She not only focuses on children's health conditions, but also places strong emphasis on preventive health care and health maintenance. In addition to being a pediatrician at Gloucester Pediatrics,Dr. Allison-Bryan is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University.


About Sentara Pediatric Physicians

At Sentara Pediatric Physicians, we understand that keeping your children healthy is more than just treating them when they have a cold. That's why we partner with you through every step of your child's development. And with locations throughout Southeastern Virginia, access to quality care is closer to your home than ever before. Find a Sentara Pediatric Physicians location near you or schedule an appointment today.