Excessive Crying

Prolonged, inconsolable crying in babies that may indicate an underlying illness

  • More common in early infancy
  • Gender, genetics, and lifestyle are not significant factors

Babies let adults know they are hungry or uncomfortable by crying. Prolonged, inconsolable crying, especially at night, is very stressful and tiring for parents. Newborn babies are more likely to cry excessively because they have yet to establish a routine. Regular episodes of crying are called colic. Babies also cry more when they are teething. However, if the crying is persistent or sounds different from normal, you should consult your doctor because it may indicate that your baby has an underlying infection or disorder.

If your baby is crying but is otherwise well and has been feeding, make sure that you have excluded causes such as wind or a dirty nappy. Holding a crying baby will often soothe him or her, and offering a dummy may help. Many parents find it stressful if their baby cries for hours on end and may feel unable to cope. If you are afraid that you may harm your baby in an attempt to keep him or her quiet, you should put the baby in his or her cot and call someone for support. These feelings are a normal reaction and do not mean that you are a bad parent. Most babies grow out of excessive crying by the age of 6 months.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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