Crying for companionship
If your baby is fed and you can find no obvious reason why he/she should be uncomfortable, it may be that they are crying for companionship: they want to be played with or cuddled. Warm contact with your body, or the sound of your voice will quickly comfort them. By twelve months they realise that crying brings the attention, so they will cry with the intention of getting someone to play with them.
On the other hand, babies also cry because they are tired- fatigue is a common cause of crying in babies. If this is the problem, the baby is likely to become even more miserable and irritable if you pick him up and play with him. However, gentle rocking or patting may help him/her to get to sleep.
When young babies begin to cry they kick and wave their arms- which stimulates them to cry more. Eventually, a baby may work himself up into a frenzy. Swaddling the baby loosely in blankets, so that his/her movements are restricted, may calm them down.
Crying out in pain
Continuous crying can mean that a baby is physically ill or in pain. If your baby’s crying seems to be excessive, or if he/she can not be soothed, you should consult your doctor, who can help diagnose a physical
problem if there is one.
Between nine and twelve months, as their ability to remember past experiences develops, babies will begin to cry in anticipation of a frightening or painful event. Babies of this age often cry when they see a doctor’s needle, or even as they cross the surgery threshold – presumably because they remember the last painful experience.
When you don’t know why?
Various reasons have been suggested for persistent crying that has no obvious cause: for example, it may be that a baby who cries a lot has a difficult temperament. At around two weeks, about one in five infants
develops colic. This is characterised by a pattern of intense crying for as long as three or more hours every day. There are many theories about why colic occurs, none of them proven.
If you feel that your baby cries more than others, you should get your doctor to check that there is no medical reason. You can also try the various soothing methods suggested below. Beyond that, there is not much that can be done.
Try to take comfort from the knowledge that most babies stop their inexplicable crying by the time they are between ten and sixteen weeks old. Possibly this is because their nervous and digestive systems have caught up; it may also be relevant that now they are beginning to interact and play more as they have activities to keep them occupied.
Meanwhile, you will be best able to help you baby through this difficult period if you can manage to remain affectionate but unflustered during bouts of crying.