Intense crying in newborns: causes and management

Crying is the primary means of communication for newborns. However, sometimes, intense crying in newborns can cause worry and confusion for parents. Let’s explore the reasons why newborns cry excessively and how to help calm them down.

Intense crying in newborns – when to worry?

Most newborns go through a phase of continuous, unexplained crying. Some cases, characterized by severe and prolonged episodes, are referred to as infantile colic. Fortunately, the majority of these intense crying episodes are not related to serious health issues.

Causes of intense crying in newborns

Infantile Colic:

  • This is a common cause of “intense crying in newborns.” The exact reason remains unclear, but it may be due to abnormal bowel movements or immature nervous system.
  • Recognition: Crying intensely for over 3 hours per day, more than 3 days per week. The baby often clenches fists, has a flushed face, and tightens their legs.

Other common causes of “intense crying in newborns“:

  • Hunger or thirst: Crying is the baby’s way of signaling basic needs.
  • Wet/dirty diaper: Causes discomfort, leading to fussiness and crying.
  • Need for comfort: The baby seeks closeness and security, especially in the early developmental stages.
  • Too cold/too hot: Newborns have not yet regulated body temperature well.
  • Teething: Around 4-7 months, when teething begins, babies may cry due to pain.
  • Abdominal pain, bloating: The baby’s immature digestive system is prone to bloating and discomfort.
  • Overstimulation: Environments with bright lights, loud noises can overwhelm the baby.


Environments with bright lights, loud noises can overwhelm the baby

Differentiating newborns’ crying sounds

Babies cry to communicate various needs, and the cry may vary slightly:

  • Crying due to hunger: Usually rhythmic, starting softly and gradually intensifying.
  • Crying due to sleepiness/fatigue: The baby’s eyes may droop, accompanied by eye rubbing and yawning.
  • Crying due to pain: Sudden, abrupt cries, with loud sounds.


Babies cry to communicate various needs, and the cry may vary slightly

Ways to soothe “intense crying in newborns”

  • Comforting: Holding the baby, gentle rocking, patting on the back, singing softly.
  • Offering a pacifier: Sucking action can have a soothing effect.
  • Belly massage: Massaging the baby’s belly clockwise helps reduce bloating.
  • Warm bath: Helps relax, and some babies may sleep more easily.
  • Changing the environment: Dimming lights, reducing noise levels can help reduce overstimulation.


Changing the environment: Dimming lights, reducing noise levels can help reduce overstimulation

When to take the baby to see a doctor?

In most cases, the condition of “intense crying in newborns” will gradually improve after 3-4 months. However, it is necessary to take the baby to the doctor immediately if any of the following signs occur:

  • Continuous crying for more than 4 hours.
  • High fever, refusal to feed.
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stools.
  • The baby seems lethargic, difficult to wake up.

Advice for parents

Caring for “intense crying in newborns” requires patience and understanding. Remember:

  • Stay calm: Newborns can sense your stress.
  • Seek support: Taking care of a small baby alone can be exhausting, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
  • Self-care: Resting, eating well helps you have enough energy.

Here are 5 questions related to “intense crying in newborns“:

1. How can you differentiate between normal crying and “intense crying in newborns“?

Normal crying: can be soothed, usually has clear reasons (hunger, dirty diaper, cold…)
Intense crying in newborns: intense, lasts over 3 hours per day, more than 3 days per week, often occurs in the evening, lasts until 3-4 months old. Baby may show signs like leg stiffness, red face, tight fist.

2. Is there any way to soothe “intense crying in newborns“?

Yes! After checking basic needs (hunger, wet diaper…), try:

Gentle rocking, patting, singing lullabies
Offering a pacifier
Swaddling baby to mimic the womb environment
Gentle clockwise abdominal massage to relieve gas
Warm baths
Reducing stimulating factors: dim lights, soft sounds

3. Does “intense crying in newborns” persist? Is it a sign of illness?

Most cases of infant colic tend to decrease after 3-4 months.
However, if accompanied by high fever, vomiting, refusal to feed, diarrhea, lethargy… seek immediate medical attention to rule out serious illnesses.

4. I always feel exhausted and stressed when my baby cries a lot. What should I do?

Caring for a colicky infant is very challenging. Remember:

Babies can sense your emotions, so staying calm is crucial.
Seek support from family, friends, or consider short-term childcare services.
Self-care: Ensure you eat nutritiously and grab sleep whenever possible, even if it’s just in short bursts when the baby sleeps.

5. Is there any way to prevent infant colic?

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive prevention method. However, some tips may reduce the frequency of colicky episodes:

  • Ensure baby feeds adequately to prevent hunger
  • Burp baby well after feeding
  • Limit excessive stimulating factors (noise, bright lights)
  • Mothers maintaining a healthy diet (if breastfeeding) may help reduce baby’s gas discomfort

Scientific evidence regarding “intense crying in newborns

Scientific evidence about “intense crying in newborns“:

1. Concept and prevalence:

Intense crying in newborns: intense crying, inconsolable, lasting >3 hours/day, >3 days/week, often in the evening, affects 10-20% of infants.

2. Causes:

Not precisely defined: Combination of factors such as immature digestive system, incomplete nervous system development, genetic factors…

3. Management:

  • Soothing techniques: Holding, rocking, singing lullabies, swaddling…
  • Reduce stimulation: Dim lights, reduce loud noises.
  • Gentle abdominal massage: Helps relieve gas, discomfort.
  • Warm baths: Help baby relax, feel comfortable.
  • Use of pacifiers: May help calm the baby.


Intense crying in newborns is a common experience for many families. Understanding the causes and management techniques will help you stay calmer and learn how to better meet your baby’s needs.


Kiểm Duyệt Nội Dung

Ban Biên Tập | Website

More than 10 years of marketing communications experience in the medical and health field.

Successfully deployed marketing communication activities, content development and social networking channels for hospital partners, clinics, doctors and medical professionals across the country.

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