Crying in the first year


As adults we cry for two reasons – pain and sadness. Both feelings are negative and so we have the instinct to prevent crying and quickly intervene for our little one when he or she cries.

For little ones, crying is a form of communication. They cry for so many reasons and I believe that pain and sadness are the least of the reasons.


All newborns cry between 1 and 4 hours on average a day. Most cry very little in the first 10 days but between 2 and 12 weeks, babies cry more than any parent anticipates.


  • Hunger
  • Over stimulation
  • Overtiredness
  • Digestive disturbance

What to do

  1. Always rule out hunger first – if your newborn is gaining weight well and less than 2 hours have passed since the last feed, it is unlikely to be a hunger cry.
  2. Watch your baby’s awake time – put him back to sleep 45 minutes to an hour after he wakes.
  3. Do not over stimulate your newborn – just being alive, interacting with you, some tummy time and a little baby massage is all the stimulation he needs to learn and develop.
  4. If your newborn is crying more than 3 hours a day and is a very poor sleeper, rule out digestive disturbances as a reason for colic.


After three months of age, babies settle and cry little and for more specific reasons.


  • Over stimulation
  • Tiredness
  • Boredom
  • Teething discomfort
  • Hunger

What to do

  1. As with the newborn, rule out hunger – as your baby gets older, he will be eating solids and will be on a firmer routine. This makes ruling out hunger a whole lot easier than with the newborn.
  2. Keep watching your baby’s awake times (per Baby Sense, Metz Press). As your baby goes through the first year, the time he can be happily awake lengthens but you still need to watch when you need to settle him to sleep.
  3. Babies start to seek interaction and stimulation. If your baby has been feed and it’s not time for a sleep, he may just need a change of scenery or different stimulation.