Crying normally starts to increase at about 2 weeks of age, peaks in intensity during the 2nd month, and has decreased and evened out by the 4th or 5th month of life. On average, babies cry between one to 2 hours per day at the peak of crying, but some infants will cry less than that and some will cry more. Some babies might cry for almost 6 hours a day during the peak of crying. It is not unusual for babies to:
- cry for 30-40 minutes or more at a time
- cry more in the afternoon and evening
- look like they are in pain when they cry
Expect there to be times when your baby can’t stop crying, no matter what you do.
A Parent’s Experience
I tried everything in the book – nothing worked (quote from a parent).
These pictures are of the same two month old baby on the same day – the first photograph was taken at about 5 p.m., the second at about 7 p.m, shortly after she was changed into her pajamas for bedtime. This bout of crying was very normal for a baby her age:
- It lasted for about an hour.
- It began in the evening.
- Her facial expression looked like she was in pain and her body was extended and rigid while crying.
- Both parents tried various ways to soothe her crying without success.
In general this baby cried a lot, cried loudly and was difficult to soothe. She was referred to as having “colic”. All parents need help and support with the difficult job of parenting. Even though infant crying is normal it can be physically and emotionally draining for parents.
There were many times that I cried right along with my baby (quote from a parent).
Even though most crying is normal, it is important for you to trust your instincts if you are worried about how much your baby cries, or if you think your baby is crying due to illness. Sometimes there are health reasons that a baby cries a lot. These reasons can be short-term like an illness with or without a fever, or long-term like an allergy or a medical condition. If you think your baby is unwell, you need to talk to a healthcare professional.
A baby’s crying can be very upsetting so it is important for you to understand what to expect in terms of infant crying and to plan in advance for how you and other caregivers can handle crying.