Can A Baby Die From Crying Too Long: Parent’s Ultimate Guide

Written by Daisy
Last updated:
Reviewed by Margaret

Many parents wonder, can a baby die from crying too long? The short answer is no, a baby can not die from crying too long.

It’s normal for babies to cry, that’s their way of telling you to attend to them. But constant and prolonged crying could indicate an underlying issue.

Babies will always cry and you could get worried about their endless wails. Continue reading to find out when to be concerned and how to calm a fussy baby.

How Much Crying Is Normal For A Baby?

Crying for babies is normal, it’s the only way they can tell you that they need your attention. If they’re hungry, uncomfortable, tired, or have wet their diapers, crying is the last resort to get your attention.

Babies cry a lot during their first few weeks after birth, usually up to two to three hours a day and it is most likely due to colic. At six months, their cries reduce by an hour or two. As they get closer to twelve months, they learn new ways to get your attention. 

When Should I Be Worried?

If your newborn cries for more than three hours, three days a week, for three weeks straight, this is known as colic. 

However, if your baby’s crying is accompanied by fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should reach out to your pediatrician to schedule an appointment. 

What Is Colic In Babies?

Colic is when a newborn, who’s neither hungry nor sick, cries for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week for more than three weeks straight. Can a baby die from crying too long from colic? The answer is also no. 

Colic usually starts around two or three weeks of age. Most of the time, there’s not much you can do to relieve the pain or console them. Eventually, they grow out of it when they are three to four months old.

What Causes Colic?

Doctors aren’t sure what exactly causes colic but it is believed to be influenced by the following: 

  • An early form of childhood migraine
  • Fear or excitement
  • A developing digestive system
  • A developing nervous system
  • Gas or indigestion

What Are The Symptoms Of Colic?

Your baby might be experiencing colic if they show the following:

  • Crying with no clear reason.
  • Clenching their fists or curling up their legs as they cry.
  • Crying around the same time every day.
  • Crying like they’re in pain
  • Turning bright red as they cry.

Can Too Much Crying Hurt A Baby?

Crying too much or too long does not hurt a healthy baby. They may experience these symptoms after crying:

  • Flushed cheeks
  • Hoarse voice
  • Runny nose
  • A little gassy
  • Increased body temperature 

All of these should be nothing to worry about as they would eventually fade away within an hour. 

Can Crying Too Much Damage A Baby’s Brain?

If you leave your distressed baby to cry it out repeatedly, it could affect brain development. It could also affect their social and emotional development.

Why Is My Baby Crying Too Much?

Babies cry a lot for so many reasons. Some of these reasons include:

Hunger or thirst

Since babies can not talk, the only way they can let you know that they’re hungry or thirsty is by crying. Babies get hungry very quickly, especially in their early days. 

I would feed my baby an hour ago, and she would get hungry within the next hour. This is normal, they need all the nutrients they can get.

How Do I Know If My Baby Is Hungry?

  • They turn their heads.
  • They try to suck on anything they can find.
  • They open their mouths or stick out their tongues.

Discomfort

If your baby doesn’t feel comfortable in their crib or bassinet, they begin to cry. Also, they cry when they have a wet diaper, and when they feel too hot or cold.

Boredom or loneliness 

Babies need all the attention in the world. If they’re all by themselves in their cribs, they would let you know they want your attention by crying. 

Tiredness

If your baby is tired, they begin to cry and rub their eyes. Rock them gently until they fall asleep. 

Teething

It gets to a stage where the milk teeth erupt through the gum. This is known as teething and your baby would cry a lot during this stage. 

How do I know my baby is teething?

  • They drool a lot.
  • They constantly suck and chew on anything they can reach.
  • Their cheeks are red.
  • They have a teething rash on their chin.
  • Their poo is sloppy which can cause nappy rash.

Feeling unwell

If your baby is ill, they let out a weak or high-pitched cry. Their cries are usually accompanied by fever, poor appetite, irritability, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Can A Baby Die From Crying Too Long

How Long Can A Baby Cry Without Stopping?

This depends on whether your baby is experiencing colic. If your baby is hungry, uncomfortable, or in pain, they will cry until you attend to them and take care of their needs.

How Long Should You Let Your Baby Cry?

You should never leave a newborn to cry it out. But by five or six months of age, they begin to learn self-soothing. 

At this age, many parents pause for a while before going to attend to their cries. This will teach them to sleep on their own. However, you should never leave your baby to cry out for more than ten minutes.

How Can I Calm My Fussy Baby?

Playtime

Boredom can make your baby cry, so what do you do? Try to take them to different scenery. They’re probably tired of seeing their nursery walls.

You could also try to sing them a song to calm them down. Play with them a little until they become calmer and eventually fall asleep. Also, try cuddling them until they fall asleep.

Go Outside

If it’s not too cold or hot, take them outside and walk around. You could also bring their toys outside and play with them on a mat. 

Put Them In The Water

Maybe a little tubby time could calm your little one down and send them off to sleep. If they’re a bit older, place them in a small, baby’s pool. 

Try The Four ‘S’

  • Sucking: Babies like to suck on things, so try giving them a pacifier to suck on.
  • Swaddling: Swaddle your baby by wrapping a blanket around them. This reminds them of the snug and comfortable womb. 
  • Swaying: Swinging or rocking motions help to calm a fussy baby. Try rocking your baby gently, while protecting their neck and head. 
  • Shhh-ing sounds: Making a shhh sound with your voice or a white noise machine can help to calm a fussy baby.

Conclusion 

Babies generally cry to communicate their needs. While it’s sometimes best to let them cry it out until they go to sleep at a certain age, you should never let them cry for more than ten minutes without attending to them. 

If your baby continues to cry even after trying tricks to calm them down, call your pediatrician to book an appointment. 

Photo of author
Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "mamallove.com" and "cashsavvytips.com", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

Get a freebie every week!

Join 40,000+ parents and teachers , and you'll get a freebie in your inbox at least once a week, along with tips, information, and other resources!

Subscribe to the Mamallove newsletter: