MYTH: Babies do not cry to exercise their lungs.

Crying is one way in which your baby will communicate with you. Unfortunately, crying can mean many different things, such as, "I'm hungry" and, "I'm tired", and it’s often hard to tell what it means.

A baby will almost never suffer in silence unless he has a chill or is being smothered. However there is an exception to this rule. A newborn baby (within the first few weeks) will cry for no reason because they are simply adapting to life outside the womb.

• Uncontrollable periods of crying that last longer than normal is a condition referred to as colic. The cause for colic is still unknown; there is currently debate over intestinal cramps and hormone levels in the brain.

Reasons for crying and what to do
These reasons and cures are simply a guide and are not designed to be a magic answer.

Hunger: The most common reason, will only be alleviated with milk, sucking a dummy will not suffice.

Pain: It was once believed that babies did not feel pain, and procedures would be performed without pain relief (not a very nice start to life). Babies do feel pain and will cry even with a small degree of discomfort, e.g. if their bath is a degree too hot or cold.

Over-stimulation: Shock and fear a loud sudden noise, bright lights, a sharp or unpleasant taste, being too cold or too hot, having too many tickles, hugs or too much bouncing, someone laughing too loud, a sense of falling... these can all cause crying. Your baby will be sensitive and sometimes a fright or shock can be worse than pain.

The right time: Your baby has to be in the mood for a particular activity just as you do. If your baby is tired they will not want to play, just as you wouldn't want to if you were tired. Just use common sense, such as not bathing your baby immediately after feeding. And if your baby is hungry, it is definitely time for a feed, not time for play.

Undressing: Even if the room is warm and you have warmed up your hands, your baby can still cry during undressing. This is because they dislike the feeling of losing the fabric next to them and the sensation of the air next to their skin.

Cold: The change between a warm environment to a cold environment will often make a baby cry.



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