Crying and Unsettled Babies

Cork Emergency Departments

"Colic" has been the common word used to describe regular times of crying and not settling in a baby. It is now more widely understood that "colic" refers to the normal range of unsettled behaviour in many babies.  This can be very demanding and exhausting for parents.

This crying and fussing can happen at any time, but often occurs in the late afternoon and evening, especially in babies between 2 weeks and 4 months of age. It is very common for young infants to have crying and unsettled times.

What causes the crying?

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Sometimes there is a medical reason for the baby’s crying and this may need to be checked by a doctor or nurse.  However, in most babies no medical cause is found.  Young babies cry as a normal response to any sort of discomfort or stress. Sometimes the causes of the discomfort may be a wet nappy, being too hot or cold, wind, hunger, or tiredness.

This is a normal part of their growth and development. The temperament of some babies makes them more likely to cry for longer periods and to be more difficult to settle into a predictable routine.

Some babies seem to cry more than others – this does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong, rather that all babies respond differently.

Parents also worry that crying is caused by something they have done, and this can sometimes affect their confidence in handling their baby.  Parents should be reassured that a number of things can help them with a difficult baby. The most important is to get support from the family and talk to a health professional such as a maternal and child health nurse or doctor.

Key points to remember about crying & unsettled babies

Care At Home

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Remember, you cannot spoil your baby by too much cuddling or feeding.


Come back to this department if:

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OR you are worried for any other reason.
Doctor’s name from this consultation:
Hours of opening:
After hours number

If you are concerned, please contact the Emergency Department you first attended:

Mercy Injury Unit, Gurranabraher (021)4926900

LIU Mallow(022)58506

LIU Bantry(027)52900

Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan 07/04/2007. Last review Dr ÍOS 17/06/21.