Your baby cries a lot, and you wonder why. When you have a baby, especially  your first child, there are so many questions you ask yourself every day. It’s called being a parent!

You feel each of your babies cries and their tears worry you. Your little one looks like they are in a lot of pain, they are inconsolable despite your tenderest hugs and care. They squirm, their face is all red, their legs are pulled up to their belly. They are bloated and some small “pops” of gas seem to relieve it… And this can be over several days and for several hours a day. You feel totally distraught and its exhausting.

In the first year of life, 20% of babies will experience episodes of inconsolable crying.

While there are a few theories on why babies cry inconsolably, it remains one of the greatest mysteries of paediatrics. Is it colic, newborn stress, a stage of its development, an immaturity of the digestive system or anxiety…  Crying is also one of the only ways your baby has to communicate in the first few months of their life.

If your baby eats well, has no fever, moves normally and gains weight, if you have checked that they are clean,  neither too hot nor too cold then a lot of tenderness and care should overcome this situation.

If you are worried, talk to your doctor about the crying so that he or she can examine your child and eliminate any medical causes, such as esophageal reflux, food allergy, intestinal invagination or any other cause.

Observe the timings of when your baby cries

Dr. Alain Bocquet, a paediatrician, advises to observe the moment when your little one starts to cry. This can help understand the crying and its timeframes better. In fact, you can distinguish three different situations depending on when the baby cries”  he says.


Your little one cries a lot at the end of the day

Crying begins in the evening between 6 p.m. and midnight. It can last a long time, up to 3 hours. While your baby was calm in the early weeks of life, it is often around the 6th week that this type of crying appears. It’s usually nothing serious, they are fine and it will stop towards their 3rd month.

You tend to think they are hungry, so you give them the breast or the bottle, but nothing relieves the crying. This is ‘infant colic’. It is impossible to really say why it happens to some babies, birth stress, immaturity of the digestive tract… the best recipe: cuddles, love and patience.

Babies already have their temperament when they are born. Maybe you have already realized that? Sensitive babies tend to cry more, especially at the end of the day. This type of crying can be caused by extra stimulation or simply by fatigue.

Create the most peaceful environment possible. Gently massage the baby’s belly and body with baby oil to help soothe it. Taking the time  to give them a bottle or breastfeed them in peace is also important, letting them drink quietly without rushing them. Arm yourself with courage and above all do not hesitate to ask for help so that you can rest and take care of yourself.

Your little one cries especially at mealtimes

They cry at the end of the feeding or bottle.It can be a reflex in the digestive system, very commonly seen in children who drink very quickly without pausing or burping,” says Dr. Alain Boquet.  Do not hesitate to give them a break during feeding so that they don’t drink the bottle too quickly! This limits the absorption of air during feeding. Make sure to burp them well after they have fed.

“A baby who is not full at the end of feeding due to a lack of breast milk will also cry a lot,” explains the pediatrician.

Finally, if they cry 20 to 30 minutes after the bottle, with gurgling, gases, liquid stools and acids that cause a nappy rash, ask your doctor for advice. This is probably poor digestion of lactose. An allergy to cow’s milk protein will manifest itself in various ways such as stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating and excessive wind. Symptoms will normally occur 1-3 hours after digestion of the lactose products.

Your little one cries at any time of the day

“If crying occurs at any time, both day and night, it may be due to non-externalized  gastroesophageal reflux or a problem in the emotional relationship with the mother,” says Dr. Alain Bocquet. If you are very stressed, your baby feels it… Take time for yourself and to rest.

In any case, avoid overfeeding them.

Give them your full attention, carrying your baby when they cry will not make them a capricious baby! Responding to his need for contact will help him in the construction of a solid emotional base.

The sensory approach gives good results, here are some clues:

  • Rocking the baby gently and singing lullabies, the sound of your voice helps to reassure them
  • Take time for a “skin-to-skin”»
  • Carrying baby in a baby carrier or scarf
  • Give them an abdominal massage by caressing clockwise
  • Give him a bath if they likes it

Avoid seeing too many people and moving about a lot. Stay quietly cocooning at home until your little family finds its balance.

“You should never let a baby cry, because their crying always expresses a need. The one to eat, to sleep, to be reassured or to interact with those around you, recalls the paediatrician. Moreover, these pains are often calmed by you being there.

From the article published in the journal Practical Pediatrics, No. 234 – January 2012. The infant’s incessant crying in case of digestive discomfort. The view of a liberal paediatrician… A. BOCQUET, AFPA Nutrition Group; Besançon D.R.

This article has been translated form an article first published by Laudavie on 3rd June 2019.


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