A-Z List | Accessible Info | Careers | Contact Us



First Year

Sleep and Crying

Why babies cry

Crying is the only way that your baby can let you know how he feels.

It can be difficult to figure out why your baby is crying and it is normal to feel upset when you do not know why. If you feel like you might lose control, place your baby in a safe place and leave him for a few minutes.

Never shake your baby! Shaking can hurt your baby's brain and may cause death (Shaken Baby Syndrome). No child at any age should be shaken.

Normal Crying
Babies have a regular fussy period which can sometimes happen in the late afternoon or evening. It usually starts at about age 2 to 3 weeks, peaks at 6 to 8 weeks and lessens by 3 to 4 months.

When your baby cries, pick him up and comfort him. Carrying your baby skin-to-skin or in a sling can help. Doing so teaches him that you are there to meet his needs. Studies show that carrying your baby may reduce crying. It will not spoil him.

Is Your Baby Hungry?
Crying is usually a late sign that your baby is hungry.
Watch for early signs of hunger:

  • Sucking and licking his mouth
  • Touching his mouth with his fingers
  • Making small sounds

Babies go through several growth spurts during the first year. They are common around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months of age. Babies feed more often at these times.

Remember…Babies Need to Suck
The need to suck is strong in babies. Sucking is comforting to babies and helps them to relax. Let your baby suck on their own fingers, your clean finger or a pacifier. For safety, check the pacifier every day and throw out if damaged. Never tie around baby’s neck.

Your Baby May… You Can…
Need food or need to be comforted
  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Try rocking or walking
  • Burp your baby
  • Check and/or change your baby’s diaper
Need to be held
  • Hold your baby – try skin-to-skin against your chest
  • Massage your baby
Need a calm and quiet place
  • Turn down noise
  • Turn down lights
Need comforting sounds
  • Sing to your baby
  • Play music
  • Try some “white noise” (dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, fan)
Need movement or change of pace
  • Take your baby out for a walk in a stroller
  • Rock your baby
  • Go for a car ride
  • Give your baby a bath
  • Encourage your partner to have some baby time
Need to be warm – not too hot or too cold
  • Dress your baby as warmly as you are. Your baby’s chest, tummy and back should feel warm and not sweaty or cool
Be sick See or call your doctor for advice if you are concerned

Babies sometimes cry for no reason.

Having a baby who won't stop crying doesn't make you a bad parent.

Help for Parents
Listening to a baby cry for long periods of time can be very frustrating. Ask a family member or a friend that you trust to look after your baby and give yourself a break.

If you feel depressed about your baby's crying, talk with your doctor or a Public Health Nurse.

Are you looking for someone to talk to about your baby's crying or being a parent in general? Free telephone support is available in many different languages.

Have a specific Question?

Region of Peel – Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216
To speak with a Public Health Nurse

Nutrition | Play, Learning & Development | Safety
Sleep & Crying | Infant Health | Child Care | Contact Us

Revised: Thursday July 11 2019

Privacy Service Commitment

Smaller Text Larger Text