Why is my Newborn Crying?

Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks or longer.
— Mayo Clinc

During pregnancy we envision holding our baby, hugging them, kissing them, counting their sweet little toes.  Most of us don't picture our baby crying inconsolably for hours on end. 


My mother-in-law is of the bottle propping generation.  If you breastfeed at all, it's only for a couple weeks and you get that baby on a bottle as soon as possible.  Once on the bottle, you just prop it under a pillow, and walk away.  This is also the generation of "a cup of milk a meal."  My wife had colic, she was breastfed for two months and then switch to formula.  She cried non-stop for the first several months. In several studies they have found that cows milk proteins bind to breastmilk upsetting the digestion of the baby.  I have met many moms who are not aware of this and just switch to formula and then discover the same problem because most formula is cow milk based.   Oddly enough, my daughter cried a lot more as a newborn than my son.  I still consumed dairy when she was a nursling.  By the time my son was born, I had been dairy free for several years and he almost never cried. 

Diaper Changing

If I told you how you change your baby's diaper can cause colic, would you believe me?  It is okay if you don't, I didn't believe it at first either until I saw this video.  Rolling your baby side to side while changing their diaper is better for their spine. 

Foremilk/Hindmilk Imbalance

When my oldest was born, she was perfect, she barely cried, she slept all the time, she even let me put her down when I wanted to and then my milk came in. I was like a milk machine.  I had so much milk I could pump and enough for two extra babies.  That's when the crying started.  It also happens to be when my daughter had green bowl movements.  I learned quickly that moms like me have over supply.  We have to make sure baby empties one side before moving on to the other, or baby will get more foremilk, which is thin and blue and your baby drinks first, and not enough hindmilk, the fatty stuff at the end. 


Although burping is a rite of passage, our study showed that burping did not significantly lower colic events and there was significant increase in regurgitation episodes in healthy term infants up to 3 months of follow-up.
— National Institute of Nursing Education, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.

A lot of babies spit up.  Both of mine would look like the belonged in the exorcist with their projectile vomiting.  My first instinct was to always burp them after they ate and they were supposed to spit up less right?  WRONG!  They puked more!  The I read this study

What you can do instead, hold your baby in an upward angle after they drink, the air bubbles and gas will work their way up on their own with less puke.  If you are concerned about getting spit up on your clothes, carry around a receiving blanket or burp rag just in case.

Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

Occasionally the frenum is longer than it is supposed to be.  This can cause latch issues and nipple discomfort.  When the baby doesn't have a good latch, they can suck down more air, causing gas and discomfort, or they may just be hungry all the time because they are not getting enough milk.  If you suspect a tongue or lip tie, talk with your pediatrician.

Some babies just cry

Sometimes it doesn't matter what we do or change.  Some babies just cry for long periods of time and we don't know why.  It is hard to not let it get to you because our mommy senses say "fix it, fix it." But nothing we do is fixing it.  If this is the case, turn on some white noise or music, put your baby in a carrier such as a moby, or ring sling and just be there with them.  If they have to cry and we can't fix it, at least they are not alone.  It's okay to enlist help so you are not alone either.