Back to Growing Stages Main Page  |  Back to Home Page  |  


Crying is the foremost communication tool of a baby. In the early weeks, the only language baby knows to get you to respond is to cry. Babies cry on an average 1 - 2 hours daily, so crying can be also due to no apparent reason.

Most babies cry due to one of the following situations :

A. Discomfort arising from :
1. Hunger is the most common cause.
2. Wet or soiled diapers.
3. Nappy rash.
4. Excessive heat or cold.

B. Abdominal pain which may be due to :
1. Pain or discomfort due to wind.
2. Discomfort due to constipation.
3. Bacterial infections of the urine or bowels e.g. diarrhea.

C. Colic which may be :
1. Infantile colic or evening colic.
2. Colic due to allergy to certain proteins in the cows milk or lactose malabsorbtion.
3. Colic due to Psychological Stress in the mother / family e.g. the baby’s mother may be anxious and distressed and unable to cope with looking after baby.
4. Temperament of the baby.

“Infantile colic or evening colic” :-

When a healthy baby cries inconsolably usually in the late afternoon or evening every day for 2 –3 months, the baby may have colic. It may begin as soon as the baby comes home from the hospital and may persist till the baby is 3 – 4 months of age. The infant is well at other times, feeds well and grows normally. Infantile colic is temporary and harmless and there is no cure.

What can be done about colic ?

1. See a doctor. A thorough examination to exclude any medical cause for excessive crying.
2. Reassurance to the parents that no other problems are present in the baby’s physical health.
3. Rhythmic rocking of the baby or patting on the back of the baby.
4. Some babies settle with a car ride.
5. Correction of the faulty feeding techniques.
6. Medication with colic drops may help to reduce the wind problem.

D. Sudden Stimulation of a loud sound.

E. Fatigue / Tiredness – such babies should be left to sleep quietly and not carried.

F. Unpleasant smell or taste e.g. vomitus.

G. Loneliness – Most babies cry for company. They need to be loved and carried.

H. Infections of ear and throat – can cause pain and fever in baby. Medical advice should be sought immediately.

I. Obstruction in the baby’s intestine can cause pain but these are rare. Babies with this condition cry excessively and may vomit. The baby should be taken to the doctor immediately.


Back to Growing Stages Main Page  |  Back to Home Page  |