It’s no surprise that all babies cry. Most small babies cry 1 to 3 hours a day. But sometimes it is hard to figure out why a baby is crying, and this can be frustrating.
Hunger: Look for signs of hunger—i.e., moving head to the side (“rooting”), fussing, smacking lips, or putting hands in mouth— before crying starts.
Dirty diaper: Babies differ on how long they can stand a dirty diaper, but it’s easy to check.
Needs sleep: Sometimes it is hard for babies to fall asleep especially when they are overtired. They may need rocking, movement, or less stimulation.
Wants to be held: Cuddling is good for you and your baby. You can hold your baby in your arms or try a front carrier.
Needs to burp or has tummy troubles: Many babies are uncomfortable after they eat, especially if they haven’t burped enough. Other stomach problems might be gas, a milk intolerance or allergy, reflux, constipation, or colic.
Too hot or too cold: As a rule, babies are comfortable when they wear one more layer than you would need.
Teething: Teething usually begins at 4-7 months. You can feel your baby’s gums for teeth pushing up. Give your baby something hard to chew on to ease pain.
Not feeling well: If your baby is still crying after his/her basic needs are met, you might want to check whether your baby has a fever or seems sick.
Wants less stimulation or wants more stimulation: When things seem overwhelming for your baby try swaddling. If your baby wants more action, try to take him/her outside the house in a carrier or stroller.
Something is uncomfortable (scratchy clothing, awkward position).
Sucking: The tip of your finger, a pacifier, or his/her own fingers, thumb, or fist
Motion: In a stroller, rocking chair, bouncy seat, car, or baby swing
Distraction: A game of peek a boo, a new toy or book, or a change of scenery
Visual Stimulation: A place by the window, a fan in motion, or a fish tank
Comfort: Extra cuddling, swaddling, a massage, or a bath with a parent
Sound: A vacuum cleaner, running water, humming or saying “shh” soothingly, singing, or a radio turned to static
Thanks to babycenter.com and Eugenie Allen “Why is This Baby Crying?” from the October 1996 issue of Parenting, pgs 87-92