The National Parenting Center

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Types of crying – Part 1

Many expectant and new parents are worried and believe that they will not be able to learn to recognize why their babies are crying. Believe me, if you put your mind to it, within a very short period of time, usually no longer than a week or two, you will usually be able to recognize the different reasons why your baby is crying. In my experience, there are six common causes of crying that in most cases you will be able to recognize early on. These six causes are:
1. Hunger
2. Pain
3. Colic
4. Boredom and loneliness
5. Irritability and fatigue
6. Wet and/or soiled

1. Hunger:
One common mistake many new parents make is to automatically assume that every time a baby cries it is because he is hungry. It usually take about three hours for the stomach to empty and so it is unlikely that your baby will become hungry one of two hours after and adequate feeding. But if you put your breast or a bottle in your baby’s mouth every time he cries he will do some sucking even if he is not hungry. This causes overfeeding and also is an improper response to his real needs at the time.

2. Pain:
There are many reasons why an infant develops pain and starts to cry. It may be due to gas, it may be due to difficulty in having a bowel movement, or it may be due to some illness such as an ear infection.

3. Colic:
The cry of colic is piercing, prolonged and predictable. You could almost set your clock by the time of day colic crying starts. Unfortunately, infantile colic almost always stops by the time your baby is three months old.

4. Boredom and Loneliness:
This is a cause of crying that many parents never think about. Simply by picking him up and holding him, he promptly calms down and crying. He just was looking for some company and attention. This is what I call the “I want Mommy” cry.

5. Irritability and Fatigue:
An overly tired infant often becomes cranky and irritable, He fusses, whimpers, and cries and has a difficult time settling down and falling asleep.

6. Wet and/or Soiled:
This cause of crying is the easiest to recognize. All it takes is walking into your baby’s room and getting close to the crib.

Relax and enjoy your baby-crying and all!

Dr. Alvin Eden is chairman of the department of pediatrics at Wyckoff Heights Hospital in Brooklyn and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Cornell University Medical Center. Dr. Eden has authored several books including “Positive Parenting” and “Healthy Kids”.


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