Crying in Infants

All babies cry. They may cry for as long as a few hours each day. Crying is how babies communicate their feelings or needs. Your baby may cry because he has a wet diaper or is hungry. Or it may be that he just wants you to hold him. You may know what your baby wants by the sound, pattern, or length of his cry. However, at times he may seem to cry for no reason at all.

This health decision guide will help you understand why your baby may be crying, and what you can do about it. Unless you are prompted to seek emergency care, you can proceed through the guide -- even if you have placed a call to your pediatrician's office.

Click here to begin.

A baby's cry can be an important clue that something serious is bothering him, such as sickness or an unrecognized injury.

Does your crying baby have any of these symptoms?

  • Vomiting

  • Limp or very weak appearing

  • Fever (a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher)

  • Holding, hitting, or scratching his head

  • Not wanting to eat or drink

  • Dry diaper for more than six hours

  • No recent bowel movement

  • Not moving one or more parts of his body normally

  • Crying more or louder when he moves an arm or leg

  • A finger or toe that is red or swollen

Yes, my baby has one or more of these symptoms.

No, my baby does not have any of these symptoms.

You have said that your baby does not have vomiting, weakness, fever, or unusual movements, and has been eating normally and having wet diapers. That is reassuring.

Can you comfort your baby by changing his diaper, feeding him, helping him burp and/or holding him?

Yes, I can comfort or console him.

No, I can't comfort him.

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