Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A guide for parents and carers
Crying & colic

Crying & colic

Understanding why

All babies cry, especially in the first few weeks after birth. Crying is their way of letting you know they need something or are uncomfortable. They may need changing, they may be hungry or just need a cuddle.

If your baby cries suddenly and often, but they otherwise appear to be happy and healthy, they may have colic. Colic is common and although uncomfortable it is not serious and usually affects babies only in the first few months of their lives.

The most common symptoms of colic are:

  • Continuous crying, which typically occurs in the late afternoon or evening.

  • A flushed appearance.

  • Drawing their legs to their chest.

  • Clenching fists.

  • Passing wind.

  • Having trouble sleeping.

When a baby cries, it can be upsetting, it can be easy to get frustrated and you may not be getting much sleep. It is very important to stay calm and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your baby's crying seems different in any way (such as a very high-pitched cry or a whimper), then seek medical advice. Crying can sometimes be a sign that your baby is unwell. Trust your instincts - you know your baby best.

Health visitor

Health visitor says

Know your baby. Try to understand what it is they need.

Things to check first are:

  • Does their nappy need changing?

  • Could they be hungry?

  • Could they be too hot?

  • Could they be too cold?

  • Does their cry sound different?

  • Could they be teething?

  • Do they want a cuddle?

  • Are they tired and need a sleep?

These are simple things which could be causing your baby to cry.

Never shake your baby

No matter how frustrated you feel, you must never shake your baby. Shaking moves their head violently, and can cause bleeding and brain damage.

Source: NHS Choices

1

My baby is crying more than usual.

2

What is your baby trying to tell you? It may be something really simple.

3

If you are still worried, speak to your health visitor, or contact your GP.