Your baby questions answered – Insights into understanding a baby’s crying


BabyLove Spokesperson Midwife Cath answers some of your questions about babies.  Here she discusses understanding your baby’s cry.

All babies cry.

Remembering that a baby cannot be sick and well at the same time you must look at the baby who is crying and determine first is he/she well or sick? It causes so much distress to new parents when we see a baby cry as we think something is terribly wrong with them.

A well newborn baby cries for a variety of reasons. If they have their clothes off or are having a nappy change, they will cry. A well newborn baby will cry for hunger.  Even if just fed, if the baby is awake they will still be hungry… So, if you have fed the baby and he/she is still crying offer another breast feed or bottle (depending how you are feeding your baby).  Remember, it’s not because you are hurting them but the have spent their life in a warm safe environment and when undressed, unwrapped or nappy changed they will cry…and cry loud!

Look at your baby. Often their facial expression will tell you what is wrong with them. They might make a funny face followed by a poo or a big burp. It’s important to look at your baby. Look, watch and learn. Your baby will tell you exactly what they are feeling.  You are the parent and know and love the baby the best.  There is a reason for everything a baby does, everything! A well-baby who is crying should be able to be comforted by cuddling or food.

If the baby is quiet and looking around, this means they have enough food in their tummy and are feeling very comfortable. If the baby is squirming around and making noises, they may have some wind going around in their lower bowel which is not the end of the world or life threatening but may cause some discomfort. Everyone has wind it’s a normal body process for us all to pass wind but it seems to cause new parents so much concern. I receive so many calls about a baby and wind and really this is the least of your problems.  Wind does not make them sick or cry.

It’s important to remember you can never overfeed a baby. Many new mothers won’t feed their baby if they have recently been fed and is now crying “but I just fed him, he can’t possibly be hungry”.  A baby needs to put on weight every day, every week, every month and every year for healthy growth and development.  They need to put on weight to grow, gain weight and this gives them the capacity to sleep better!

Often a new born baby will cry with gastric reflux which is basically heartburn. The baby will cry because they have acid regurgitating up after a feed or when vomiting after feeds. The reflux needs to be diagnosed by a GP or paediatrician and the baby shouldn’t be given any over the counter medications unless ordered by a doctor.

If a baby has a high pitched cry, does not settle with comport or food you should have the baby checked by a medical professional. If a baby has a high temperature and is floppy and crying – again you must seek medical advice.


Author: Laurice Klaire

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