Crying concerns during infancy

Babies cry to communicate that they are hungry, wet, tired, too warm, too cold, lonely, or in pain, and parents often recognize the different cries signaling each of these needs. Soon after the source of discomfort is corrected, a baby typically stops crying. Responding promptly to your baby's cries helps your baby feel confident and safe. And the more consistently you respond to your baby when he or she is upset, the greater chance that your baby will cry less at age 1 and show less aggression at age 2.1

But some babies seem to cry for no apparent reason. The average amount of time a baby cries peaks at around 6 to 8 weeks of age. Typically, babies this age have a fussy time of day, during which they are difficult to console and need extra attention for a period of up to 2 or 3 hours. Often fussy times are during the late afternoon to evening, when babies are tired and unable to relax.

In the second and third months, crying periods typically become less or disappear as the brain matures. Also, parents usually get better not only at recognizing the differing cries of hunger, pain, and anger but also at comforting their babies.

In the second half of the first year crying often becomes much less of a concern for parents. By then babies usually cry because they are hungry, tired, afraid, uncomfortable, or for other specific reasons. Most parents learn to quickly identify those reasons and the best way to respond to them.

For more information, see the topic Crying, Age 3 and Younger.

Citations

  1. Feigelman S (2007). The first year. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed., chap. 8, pp. 43–48. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Last Updated: April 3, 2008

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