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Possible Causes of Baby Crying and Potential Effects

It’s important to know some of the causes and effects of a crying baby.

Here are some symptoms and causes for babies to cry.

Symptoms that may indicate a physical cause of the cry:

  • piercing cry with voice
  • crying all day
  • flow back nutrition, vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss

Possible physical causes:

  • nutritional problems like spitting, cramps, or constipation;
  • infections like colds, inflammation, diaper rash, urinary tract infection, or diarrhea; and
  • Other causes like allergies, eczema, prematurity, birth trauma (e.g. broken collarbone.), immaturity of the central nervous system, hip dislocation, deviation in the spine, or breathing problems;

* Note: This is a list of examples, not an exhaustive list of the causes of crying.

No physical cause

Recent research shows that there was no physical cause of crying in 97% of babies in the hospital. (Nooitgedagt et al, 2005).

The cry should be considered as something a baby does as opposed to something a baby has.  (Barr, 1993).


A baby’s excessive crying and lack of sleep can have grave consequences.

Consequences for parents

  1. Physical effects

Structural sleep deprivation leads to the following:

  • concentration problems;
  • forgetfulness; and
  • constant stress, most especially if the crying happens at night; and
  • is a proven method of torture  .
  1. Emotional or psychological consequences

If your baby cries excessively, it’s hard to think that there ever will be a healthy sleep-wake pattern. Everyone has moments. Hence, everyone deserves to have some time to rejuvenate.

A crying child can spark the following emotions:

  • pity;
  • irritation;
  • anger;
  • fury;
  • impotency;
  • frustration;
  • depression; and
  • loneliness, to name a few.

You may also experience feelings of anger once you are deprived of sleep. This, in turn, causes you to get angry with your baby. Such emotion can leave you feeling guilty.

Exhaustion can trigger or even worsen depression worsen or even trigger. In most cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome, 95% to be exact, crying is the reason for the shake of the child (Pass et al, 2005). Shaking can cause serious damage to the brain of a baby. The damage caused by shaking, is permanent and can vary from mild symptoms to death. In the majority of SBS cases, 5 to 20 seconds of shaking have shown great damage to the infant.

  1. Social impact

Crying and fatigue can also affect your social life. If you are always exhausted, you will have a hard time sustaining your social obligations. Hence , every opportunity to sleep should be maximized. If you have to hire a babysitter, then do it.

  1. Other consequences

Prolonged sleep deprivation can have profound implications on the couple’s relationship. At the same time, it can also affect the other children as well. The following are grave consequences of sleep deprivation.

  • Tension and quarrels among family members;
  • Less need for physical contact; and
  • Sleep deprivation for other children.

With sleep deprivation, parents won’t have time to take care of themselves. Their self esteem and confidence will wane.

Everybody loses with a cry baby in the family. The parents and other children are all bound to end up in the losing end. At the same time the crying baby is also on the losing end, he or she is pretty much the victim in such an unfortunate  situation.  This can cause a lot of friction among the family members.

Here are a couple of quotes from parents of cry babies:

“I’m too irritated to even do something with my child. Sometimes I wonder if I love him. ”

“I’m afraid when I think of what I could do to my baby if he cries all night again.”

“My first child was crying a lot. When he was eight months, I was at wits’ end. We wanted a little brother or sister for him. So now, I am two months pregnant and honestly I can not enjoy my pregnancy. I feel depressed and guilty once and I’m not sure how to proceed.”

Parents will do anything to comfort a crying baby. Everyday is a challenge because nothing seems to help. So after a few weeks, parents tend to give up. The first few months can be very tough for the parents and if they don’t know how to handle the situation, it could endanger their relationship with their baby.

Consequences for the Baby

Physical consequences

Symptoms may be the result of a long and difficult birth or a very fast, powerful delivery. If these symptoms are left untreated it can cause the following problems:

  • Does not want to crawl;
  • Slow  development of gross and fine motor skills;
  • Has a hard time balancing himself or herself;
  • Has a poor posture;
  • Stumbles and falls;
  • Has speech delay;
  • Is always tired;
  • Wakes up with a headache;
  • Always has a headache; and
  • Can eventually have poor concentration in  school.

Other symptoms like forgetfulness, restlessness, and learning disabilities need a lot of attention from the parents.

4 thoughts on “Possible Causes of Baby Crying and Potential Effects

  1. I think it’s very important to hold your crying baby. No matter how irritating your baby gets, you just have to make sure that there is some physical contact. Sure, you can verbally reassure your baby but touch is more important. Besides, your baby wouldn’t be able to understand whatever you have to say. Touch is more important than words. 🙂

  2. I let my baby cry but that doesn’t mean I’m neglecting her or anything. When she cries, I tell her everything is okay but I don’t tell her to stop crying. I cuddle her until she stops crying. That’s not easy to do but I wouldn’t do it any other way.

  3. A crying baby can test your patience. Try to imagine a crying baby while you are driving. You wouldn’t be able to concentrate at all. Nonetheless, you have to. You just have to let your baby cry so that you can still drive safely. In a situation like this, you have to train yourself to stay calm. If that requires you to completely ignore the crying, then go ahead and do just that.

    1. Well said, NV! Even a short drive to the mall can be very challenging if there’s a baby crying in the car. That’s why parents and guardians need all the patience in the world to deal with a crying baby.

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