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Monday, May 2, 2011

Why Babies Cry

Crying is a normal event in the lives of all babies. When a baby comes out of the womb the first thing to do is crying. By the first cry he will take some air into the lungs for the first time in their life. After delivery if the baby does not cry then it should be initiated by slightly pinching or gently stroking the feet. From this it is clear that the healthy baby should cry and it is a normal physiological event, still some times it can upset the mother or family members.

We all know that a baby can't tell his needs or troubles in words. The only way for him  to communicate with others is by crying. Babies show some other signs like feet kicking, hand waving and head turning etc. but the best way to take the attention of others is by crying.

Excessive crying may not have a firm definition because the crying habit changes from baby to baby and some babies can be calmed easily but some are difficult to sooth. If crying is distressing for the mother and home nurse it can be called excessive. Many a times baby become quiet by giving breast milk or by carrying with a gentle rocking. Sudden onset of excessive crying means baby is distressed and needs attention. The causes of crying extends from simple reasons to life threatening conditions. Hence crying of a baby should not be ignored.

Most of the time it is difficult to find the cause of the cry. Common causes are discussed here for awareness.

Common reasons for crying:
1) Hunger
A hungry baby will cry till he gets the milk. Here the old saying comes true 'crying baby gets the milk'.

2) Wetting
Urination and defecation causes some discomfort and results in crying till his parts are cleaned and made dry .

3) Company
Majority of the kids need somebody near.  If they feel lonely they cry. When their favourite doll slips away from the grip they cry for help.
4) Tired
When the baby is tired after a journey and unable to sleep just cry simply. They feel tired in uncomfortable surroundings and due to unhealthy climate.

5) Heat & cold
If they feel too hot or too cold they become restless and cry. Child is comfortable in a room with good ventilation.

6) Tight clothing
Tight clothes especially during warm climate is intolerable for kids. Tight elastic of the the dress can also produce soreness in the hip region.                                                                                   

7) Dark room
When the baby wakes up from sleep he needs some dim light. If there is darkness he will disturb the sleep of parents by crying. Of course he will be more irritated by strong light resulting in cry.

8) Mosquito
Yes, these creatures disturb the sleep by their blood sucking and make the baby to cry.

9) Nasal blocking
Child may not be able to sleep when there is a cold and go on crying till the passage is open.

10) Phlegm in throat
This also causes difficult breathing resulting in cry. Often a typical sound can be heard with each breath.

11) General aching
Generalised body ache with restlessness is seen in flu and prodromal stages of some infectious diseases can result in continuous cry.

12) Habitual cry
Some babies cry without any real cause ending the parents in agony. Many a times doctor is called for help.

13) Nappy rash
If a tight and wet nappy is kept for a long time results in this condition. Rash can also be due to some allergic reaction to the elastic material of the nappy. When the rash appears it causes soreness and baby become sleepless and cry.  All other skin lesions like eczema, ecthyma, candidiasis etc also causes same problems.                                                

14) Earache
Ear infection is common in wet climate. The infection may spread from the throat. Ear infection can result in rupture of ear drum causing discharge of pus. Earache usually becomes worse at night when lying down. Child will become restless with cry and may not allow you to touch the ear. Some children with earache rub the affected ear frequently.

15) Colic
When the baby cry continuously most of us diagnose it as colic. This problem is still a topic for debate because exact cause for colic is not known and diagnosis is also difficult to confirm. Colic may be associated with rumbling and distention of abdomen. Child often feels better when lying on abdomen. Some children may not allow you to touch the abdomen. If the child cries continuously doctors help is needed.

16) Infections
All infections causes some kind of pain or irritation resulting in cry. Infection may be anywhere in the body. Usually it is associated with fever, redness and swelling.

17) Reactions to certain food
It is said that one man's food is another man's poison. Some food particles can produce some allergic reactions. Allergy  is manifested in the form of redness, breathlessness, gastric symptoms and continuous cry.
18) Hard stools
Constipated babies with hard stools may cry when they get the urge for stool. Some children hesitate to pass stool because of pain .

19) Gastroesophageal reflux
Here baby cries with spilling of food after feeding. If this continues it may be due to gastroesophageal reflux. This is due to failure of the lower part of esophagus to close after food causing regurgitation from the stomach. It is difficult to diagnose this condition and can be confirmed by giving anti reflex medicines.

20) Dentition
During dentition or teething child becomes restless with crying. 
Some rare reasons:

1) Bowel obstruction
Bowel obstruction is associated with severe pain and vomiting. Abdomen is distended with rumbling sound. Baby is constipated with absence of flatus.

2) Septicemia
Invasion of pathogenic micro organisms in to the blood or blood poisoning is called septicemia. Fever is associated with this condition.

3) Torsion of testes in male kids
When a male baby cries continuously his scrotum should be examined. Torsion of the testes produce severe pain which will be worse by touching the affected testes. When the testes is pressed upwards pain is relieved. If this is not treated properly it can damage the affected testes due to lack of blood supply.

4) Meningitis
Initially there may not be fever, hence crying baby with alternate vacant stare and irritability should not be ignored. Fontanel or the soft spot of the infant is bulging. Neck rigidity and seizures may appear later.

5) Retention of urine
Children with retention of urine will have agonising pain making them restless.                                               

7) Major injuries
Major injury to any parts of the body causes pain. Occasionally children will fall while carrying, from bed or cots and results in head injury. Head injury is associated with reflex vomiting and convulsions.

If you see the above signs or any other abnormal signs consult your doctor for proper treatment.


ChinaHeart said...

So a baby cries when the room is dark(#7 in common reasons). And too much light will also irritate them which results in crying. Thank you for sharing this one. I had a nephew who frequently cries late at night. And I noticed the room is dark. I'll tell them to use a dim light instead.

I still wonder if there's a solution when a baby cries habitually (without reason).. I think we should call a doctor.

Inforhub said...

@ChinaHeartYes, it is best to consult a doctor. However, some babies love to be cuddled and rocked, that can be another reason for the crying and this habit will stop when they are a few months older. So be patient with them.

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