Crying is a normal and natural way for your baby to communicate with you. But your baby’s cries can make you feel overwhelmed, worried, exhausted and lonely. By crying, your baby is letting you know they need something. They don't have words or gestures to tell you this, so they use what they do have - their lungs! The sound of their cries is designed to make you respond – it’s a clever bit of human engineering.

Over time you will work out what some of their cries mean and how best to respond. Sometimes you won’t know the answer but by just being with your baby in their distress you will help them to learn that big feelings can be manageable.

By around two months a baby’s crying reaches its peak and by around six months they will be more confident in finding other ways to communicate with you.

Watch this short video for more information on your baby’s tears:

Video Transcript:

It can be really tough to experience your baby crying - especially when it’s a guessing game to figure out why.

Crying is how a baby communicates with us, letting us know they need our help. 

They might be hungry – a baby’s tummy at birth is the size of a teaspoon so they need to eat frequently.

Perhaps they’re sleepy, or need their nappy changed.

Or maybe they just want to be held.

It’s reassuring for a baby to know that you are close by.

The average baby cries for two hours a day, and crying peaks at around two months old.

Tending to your baby’s tears can be lonely, especially at night, but remember it won’t last forever.

If it’s all too much then it’s ok to put the baby somewhere safe and take a few minutes to yourself to calm down.

Babies pick up on your emotions, so taking care of yourself, and seeking help if you are feeling overwhelmed will help both you and your little one.

  • This video features Madeleine Jarratt, Family Support Co-ordinator at Home-Start Merton.

Further resources:

  • Cry-sis offer lots of information on their website, and have a telephone support line.
  • ICON offers information and resources for parents and for professionals
  • Understanding Childhood have useful online information, including a leaflet on crying and sleeping in the early months
  • Getting to know your baby videos on AIMH
  • BBC Tiny Happy People gives details of each stage of your baby’s development throughout their first year.
  • Brazelton Centre have great resources on understanding your baby’s behaviour and communication

Further support:

For every parent, the transition to parenthood, whether for a first baby, or for subsequent births, brings with it a range of feelings – excitement and hopes, as well as fears and worries, about what might lie ahead.

The practical and psychological adjustments take time to navigate, and these important changes in our lives can stir up powerful emotions from a parents own early experiences.

Research tells us that more than 1 in 10 mums and around 1 in 10 dads will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the first years. Many of these difficulties go unseen, undiagnosed, or untreated. It is important to seek help and support if you or your partner is struggling.

You can speak to your GP or Health Visitor.

You can also find some additional information, advice and further signposting from these organisations: 

Crisis Support:

If you or someone you care about is in crisis, or feeling suicidal and needs urgent help you can access support in the following ways:

  • Go to A&E at your local hospital
  • Phone emergency services on 999
  • Call Samaritans on 116 123 (free to call and will not appear on your phone bill), or email [email protected]

 More Home-Start Tips for Parents and Support for Families