Baby Whisperer: Deciphering Crying

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When it comes to eating and crying, Tracy Hogg lists some good assessments for figuring out why baby is crying. It is found on page 109 in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.


  • After Feeds: It might be gas or reflux
  • Same Time Each Day: Colic or witching hour (witching hour is my addition)
  • Erratic and Random: Might be personality


  • Pulls Feet To Chest: Likely gas
  • Rigid and Arches Back: Reflux or over stimulation


  • Burping: Gas
  • Bicycling Legs: Gas
  • Sitting Upright: Reflux
  • Motion or White Noise: Colic or witching hour (witching hour is my addition)

Once you have a guess as to the reason for the crying, you can try to help ease the discomfort and reason for crying. If it is colic, there might be little you can do, but at least you would know it is nothing you are doing “wrong.”


Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Redheads
    September 2, 2009 / 3:43 PM

    Good post! I noticed that when my DD was a newborn, she had a "cough-like" cry when she woke hungry. If not answered within minutes, it rose to a wail!! Now that she is 7 months, she has a "scared" cry, "whining" cry, and then just irritable fussy cry. She hasn't been sick yet, and hasn't teethed yet, so I am sure I have more to learn!

  2. Plowmanators
    September 17, 2009 / 1:19 PM

    Thanks Amy! No sickness…ahh the days of the only child 🙂

  3. blondfern
    July 14, 2010 / 3:42 AM

    My little guy is about 3.5 months old. He had been sleeping well through the night with no sleep training (although i did loosely follow the BW guidelines), then it suddenly stopped! A few days ago my husband and I decided to try to CIO method. It's worked really well! Now he can easily soothe himself within 10-15 minutes! I really believe in CIO, but I do have one concern: my baby is hoarse :o( Has this happened to you or anyone else? I'm inclined to stop CIO because he sounds so pathetic! Any advice is appreciated!

  4. Retro Mod Momma
    August 28, 2010 / 4:53 PM

    Hey. Not sure where to leave this comment. I have a question for you. My gal used to wake up 8am happy and content. Around month 5, that's not the case anymore. I've gotten her back to 8am. Just fine! She has slept through the night since @ 2 1/2 months. She's happy most of the time. At @ 5 months, waking up is SCREAMING on the top of her lungs. In the morning, every nap (we went down to 2 two months ago to see if that was why. She takes 2 naps a day at 1 1/2 hours each (if I'm lucky) and sleeps @ 11.5 hours at night. Down around 8:30 or 9 and up at 8. That's that. Yes, she's teething, sometimes hungry but MAN! It is SCREAMING!!!!! I have reached the point of almost ignoring it, going in when it's time. Smiling, let's change your diaper, etc. It's just crazy. Thought I'd ask for any advice. Normal babywise stuff just isn't the cause. I have no idea. She's been in a low percentile for weight, I've upped the food intake for that reason. She eats 5 times a day. I'm just sick of the psycho screaming as if she's being beaten! Thanks so much. I love your blog.

  5. Plowmanators
    September 9, 2010 / 5:05 PM

    It could be due to pain. Most of the time for a baby that age, crying when waking is because the baby is tired. If that is the case, then tweaking waketime length should help. She might need an earlier bedtime and shorter waketimes between naps.

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