Crying is a means of communication for a baby. Babies cry for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Hunger
  • Tiredness
  • Over-stimulation
  • Loneliness
  • Discomfort e.g. dirty nappy, digestive troubles (cramps, reflux, constipation, over-feeding) and being too hot or cold.



Baby’s age in weeks Feeds per 24 hours
2-4 7-8 (every 3 hours)
4-6 6-7
6-10 5-6
10-14 4-5
  • Breastfed: if milk flow is very fast and baby gulps, try to lie down or recline as much as possible while feeding
  • Bottlefed: Guideline is 150ml x baby’s weight in kg ÷number of feeds in 24 hours

e.g. 5kg baby having 6 feeds in 24 hours
150ml x 5kg = 750ml ÷ 6 = 125ml per feed
Some babies need more and others less


Baby’s age Awake time between naps Number of naps Hours of day sleep Hours of night sleep Total hours of sleep in 24hrs
1 week 40-60 min 4-5 8 ¼ 8 ¼ 8 ¼
4 weeks 40-60 min 4 6 ¾ 6 ¾ 8 ¾
3 months 1 ½ hours 3-4 5 5 10
6 months 2 hours 2-3 3 ¼ 3 ¼ 11
9 months 2 ½ hours 2-3 2 ¾ 2 ¾ 11 ¼
12 months 3-3 ½ hours 1-2 2 1/4 2 ¼ 11 ½



When baby starts feeling unhappy, the following signals may be given: hands to face, hands clasped together, fisting hands, straightening legs. If baby is not calmed then will begin to: finger splay, squirm, arch back and neck, grimacing, colour changes around mouth (a bluish colour). Then finally baby will cry.


  • Digestive disturbances
    1. Constipation: Breastfed babies do not suffer from constipation. Bottle fed babies need to drink boiled-cooled water, may add 2-3 drops of honey for taste. Can add ¼ teaspoon of brown sugar to bottle of formula. If still constipated, put 2 or 3 prunes in 100ml water, microwave on high for 2 minutes. Throw the prunes away and use the water as part of the water added for bottle of formula.
    2. Reflux occurs when the baby lies flat, the contents of the stomach comes up into the oesophagus because the inlet valve does not close properly. So the child has INTENSE “heartburn”. The tell-tale signs are: baby cries when lying flat and stops when held vertically, will drink a certain amount of breastmilk or formula happily and then cries, refusing more, and possets/vomits quite a lot. The solution is to put baby on an Anti-Reflux Formula or Paediatric Gaviscon, and put baby in an inclined position when lying down.
  • Too hot or too cold: babies don’t need much more clothing than Mom. Guidelines for blankets, if baby is wearing a nappy, vest, babygro plus sheet:


12-14 º 4 blankets
14-16 º 3 blankets
16-18 º 2 blankets
18-20 º 1 blankets
20-24 º Sheet only



1. Baby sleep guide, Erica Niewenhuis
2. Baby sense, Megan Faure and Ann Richardson