5 Less Obvious Reasons Your Baby Might Be Crying And Fretful

amber teething necklace -baby crying

Teething is the process when the baby’s teeth first start to emerge from their gums, and the average age for this process to begin is six months. However, it can start as soon as four months or as late as 12 months. Sometimes, a baby will not appear to be in any pain or discomfort during this period, but some can find it difficult.

Obviously your baby can’t tell you what they are experiencing, but they are likely to have sore red gums, less appetite than usual, be prone to drooling, and be more wakeful and irritable than usual. If your baby has other symptoms such as a fever, vomiting, rashes, or diarrhoea, then you should seek urgent medical advice.

However, teething symptoms can be soothed with home remedies, such as applying a cold cloth to the gums, or providing a suitable object for them to chew on, which helps to relieve the pressure on the gums. It’s normal for babies to cry, particularly from birth up to four months old. It’s the only way they can communicate their needs, and as time goes on new parents will learn how to interpret these cries. However, sometimes a baby may be irritable and fussy for reasons that seem difficult to interpret. 

Most of the time, a baby will cry because it wants basic needs met, such as hunger, sleepiness, a nappy change, a cuddle, or because it is too hot or cold. It may also need winding if it has abdominal discomfort. The baby can usually be soothed by having these needs addressed by the caregiver.

However, sometimes a baby is often fretful and unsettled for a reason that is not obvious, and it can be difficult to soothe them. Here are some of the possible reasons.


An alternative therapy that has gained popularity in recent years is the amber teething necklace. Baltic amber contains a substance called succinic acid, which has natural painkilling and antiinflammatory properties. When the necklace is worn against the skin, it gently heats up, releasing safe small amounts of succinic acid.

The acid is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, naturally easing the baby’s discomfort. It’s important to note that the necklace is not a teething toy designed to be chewed, and the baby should be monitored closely at all times while he or she is wearing the necklace.


Colic is a common occurrence in younger babies up to six months of age. The exact causes are unknown, but it is thought to cause abdominal pain that may be due to trapped wind, food intolerances, muscle cramping, or changing hormone levels. A colicky baby can be distressing to deal with, because they may cry for hours and be completely inconsolable. 

The crying fits may start suddenly and be accompanied by a flushed face and clenched hands. A baby may not respond to any attempts to soothe them, but sometimes holding the baby in different positions can bring some relief. Burping the baby after feeding can help to minimise the chances of them becoming colicky. 


Reflex occurs when the muscle at the end of the gullet lets food or liquid travel back up from the stomach. It’s common in babies because the muscle is still developing, so they may bring up feeds or have bouts of hiccups. 

Most of the time, this is a passing phase that your baby will grow out of, but if they are frequently sick or appear unduly distressed, then consult a health professional. 


A baby that has difficulty passing stools or infrequent bowel movements may be cross and fretful. This tends to be relieved once they have had a bowel movement and it’s usually not the sign of a serious problem. It occurs more often in babies who are fed formula milk, because they find it less easy to digest than breast milk.

It’s recommended to always use the correct amount of powder to liquid when making up a formula feed, and if necessary to give your baby extra water between feeds to encourage looser stools.


If your baby is crying for much longer periods than usual and doesn’t want to be touched, check their temperature. If it is above 38°C it is likely that they have an infection. If they have other symptoms including a rash that does not disappear with pressure, difficulty breathing, becoming pale and floppy, or going blue around the lips, seek urgent medical attention.