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Excessive Crying in Babies: Top 11 Causes

One of the most important things for infants is crying because they communicate in this way. But, when your baby cries a lot, then this can be a sign of something that needs treatment. Normally, infants cry for about one to three hours a day. It is perfectly normal for an infant to cry when he or she is thirsty, hungry, tired, lonely, or in pain. Also, it is normal for a baby to have a fussy period in the evening. But, if your baby cries too often, then there might be a health problem that needs attention.

Colic is a term, which is used to describe the excessive crying of babies for no apparent reason in the first 3 months of their life. This is one of the most common and distressing problems, which are happening in infancy. This can be a very distressing condition for babies, parents, and the health care provider. It is not well understood the cause for colic, but this condition resolves in most infants by 3 – 4 months of age. Usually, it goes away on its own, but you can learn extra things for this condition, which can ease your life and the life of your baby.

It is noticed that colic is happening with equal frequency in both boy and girl babies. Also, breastfed babies and bottle-fed babies, have the same chances of having excessive crying. Full-term and preterm infants have the same chance of crying excessively, so there is no difference between them. The first and the second child and other siblings as well have the same risk for having excessive crying. It is noticed that excessive crying is just a temporary problem.

Excessive Crying in Babies


Many studies are shown that this condition resolves by three months of age in 60% of infants and by four months of age in 90% of infants. You should not be worried about the excessive crying of your baby. Remember, most cases are resolved. You just need to find the exact cause for your baby’s excessive crying, so you can know what to do. If you do not know what to do, then ask your doctor. He or she will help you to find the perfect treatment for your baby.

Why do babies cry:

It is tough for parents when they know that their babies will not stop crying. Usually, parents worry that something is wrong with their child. You can think that you will lose your cool. Also, you can think that your parenting skills are not up to job or that you will never connect with your baby. But, you need to remember that you can handle it.

There are different reasons why babies can cry and crying is the main way babies communicate. This is the way they capture your attention and they express their needs. In the beginning, it may be difficult to interpret your baby’s different cries, but as you spend more time listening, you will become better at recognizing and meeting your baby’s specific needs.

Causes for babies crying:

Below are given most reasons why babies cry:

  • Stranger anxiety or fear
  • Gas
  • Pain or illness
  • The normal muscle jerks and twitches that disturb the sleep
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Infection
  • Colic, acid reflux, or food allergies
  • Teething
  • Wet or dirty diaper
  • Overstimulation from noise or activity
  • Hunger

Below is given the explanation of the most common causes for your crying baby:

Pain (serious):

There are different conditions that could lead to pain in your baby, such as a raw diaper rash, mouth ulcers, or earache. Also, the ulcer on tip of the penis could lead to crying and pain. Babies, who have these types of pain, cry a lot and they are not happy when they are not crying. It is very important to see your doctor, so he or she will give the right diagnosis for your baby. Also, fever could be a cause of the pain.

It is a very common condition in babies that are less than three months old and this condition is serious, so it should not be ignored the chance of being caused until it is proven otherwise. Also, the shaken baby syndrome can be a cause for excessive crying in babies.


This is one of the most common causes of recurrent crying during the early months. We know that all babies have normal fussy crying every day. When the crying is happening over three hours per day, then it is known as colic. When your baby is not crying, then this means he or she is not happy.

Dirty diaper:

The stool is very irritating for the skin of your baby. If you do not clean it off, then it can cause pain and burning.


If it is too hot or too cold, it can make your baby cry. Also, if his or her clothes are too tight, then your baby can cry.


Caffeine is a stimulant, which can cause trouble falling asleep and increased crying. It is recommended to breastfeeding mothers limit their caffeine intake.

Fed too much:

In some cases, babies can cry due to bloated stomachs, which is caused by overfeeding. Too much milk can cause gas and discomfort that lasts a short time.

Fatigue or overstimulation:

Often, babies cry excessively when they become tired or overstimulated from being handled or played. Some of the best things which you can do to help your baby to fall asleep include change of scenery (such as car ride or stroller), offering a pacifier, and swaddling the baby loosely, leaving room for the legs to move.

Sleepy baby:

Babies need sleep, so if your baby is not sleeping well, then he or she can cry a lot. It is important for parents to put their babies in a comfortable position. It may be on their back and swaddled. Then, your baby will fuss a little and they will fall asleep.

Food sensitivities:

It is noticed that babies can have an allergy or sensitivity to foods in their mother’s diet or from a component of their formula. Some of the most common foods which can have a direct effect on the composition of a mother’s breast milk include wheat, nuts, eggs, and milk. The mentioned foods can occasionally cause food allergies and digestive problems, such as diarrhea, cramping, and abdominal pain.

Also, babies can be allergic to a protein in cow’s milk-based formulas or from the dairy products that are consumed by a mother (if the infant is fed with breastfeeding). The cow’s milk has a protein allergy which can cause blood in the stools and fussiness. Lactose (it is a type of sugar that is found in cow’s milk) has little to no effect on the development of colic.

Hungry baby:

When babies are hungry, then this could lead to excessive crying. They will stop their crying when they have finished feeding. Babies are very happy by the end of a feeding.

Myths about causes of crying:

  • Not due to gas: The gas which is passing through normal intestines does not cause crying or pain. It is noticed that all crying babies are passing a lot of gas. Also, their stomachs make a lot of gassy noise. The gas is coming from the swallowed air and it is a normal condition for all babies. The gas does not become trapped and it does not cause any pains. This is a reason why burping a baby will not help him or her to stop crying. So, blaming gas as a cause for excessive crying in babies is a myth.

Definition of colic:

Colic is a condition when your baby cries a lot of time, usually once or twice per day. Usually, colic is consolable when your baby is comforted and held. Between the bouts of crying, your baby is acting normally, which means he or she is happy and contented. Your baby is getting enough to eat and he or she is not hungry. Your baby is not sick. The onset of colic is most often happening before two weeks of age. Usually, colic goes away by three months of age (in some cases, it can take up to four months).

Is your baby unresponsive or indifferent:

We know that most babies use crying to communicate with their parents and they will continue to cry or show that they are upset until their parents or caregivers respond to their needs. In other cases, babies do not cry, but they become upset and then tune out and fail to show any emotion. If you think about this situation, you probably know more than one adult who acts this way when faced with difficulty. The unresponsive baby might seem like an easy baby because they are quiet and agreeable.

But, in fact, the baby that does not respond to you, the environment, and sensory influences, needs help. You need to talk with your pediatrician as soon as possible. You should call your doctor if your baby is not moving or he or she is very weak. If you think that your baby has a life-threatening emergency, then seek medical help as soon as possible.

Dr. Emil Sarsath (aka) Vijila, a licensed naturopathic doctor (BSMS) who always ensures his patients receive compassionate, and individualized care. He has extensive experience in primary care, digestive health, mental health, nervous system disorder and more.Area of Expertise – Naturopathic Medicine, Whole Foods-based Nutrition, Siddha, Panchakarma.She is always available through [email protected]


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