1. 0-2 Years
  2. Bonding with Baby
  3. When our baby or infant cries, we cry too.

Bonding with Baby

Bonding with Baby

When our baby or infant cries, we cry too.

The little one wants to convey something and we want to know what she wants to convey. So, ever wondered what to make of a child crying?. Join the first-of-its-kind discussion on this subject (Saturday morning 10 am to 12 noon) with Dr Rajath Athreya, MBBS, MD(Paed), MRCPCH(UK), CCT(UK), Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician from Rainbow Hospitals Bangalore, It is your exclusive opportunity to: Ask Questions, Give Suggestions, Share Options ... more

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  • Dec 7, 2017


J.Ashok kumar Dec 8, 2017

I am a father to a six-year-old boy. He is normally an introvert and I have challenges getting him to mingle with others. One night, I had a scary experience. We were all sleeping deep and at around 2 am, he screamed in his sleep and started crying non-stop. Our immediate thought was it was a bad dream, but he didn't settle down even after gaining proper consciousness. He stopped crying after a good one hour and it also required the intervention of neighbours. We did ask him if he had a bad dream and he was non-committal. He did settle down eventually, but was dull for a couple of days. How can we know the reason for his sudden crying?

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017

@J.Ashok kumar

Dear Mr Ashok Kumar,
Was this the first time and has it repeated since?
I can imagine how scary it was for all of you and puzzling at the same time. What you describe seems to be what we call 'Night Terrors'. Although it has terror in its name and as you have seen quite a hair raising experience, reassuringly it is neither dangerous nor is going to stay with him for long.
There are four stages of Sleep: and after a period of light sleep (when you can still say light is on and can be woken up by slight noises) we slip in to deep sleep. Night terror is a phenomenon when we are switching out of Non REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stage to REM stage (where usually we have night mares, dreams we can recollect, thrash around, grind our teeth etc)
During an episode of Night Terror a child suddenly can sit up terrified, thrash around and nothing you do seem to work and is not able to explain himself. They can scream or remain silent. It lasts a while. They then go back to sleep and do not remember much of it.
This is commonly seen in children 2-7 years, may repeat a few times and ultimately kids grow out of it.
Him remaining a bit dull the following few days seems to me was either a coincidence or may be you were watching him very closely.

If these things repeat very often, or you feel what I have explained above doesn't fit into what you experienced, see a pediatrician to make sure all is well!

J.Ashok kumar Dec 9, 2017

@J.Ashok kumar

Doctor, Thank you so much, it's a good explanation and great to know from you.

Celine Dec 9, 2017

My daughter is going to be 4yrs this month end. she expresses herself sometimes in words like "Iam very angry' 'you hurt me' but what my concern is she cries very less, doesn't express herself by crying and sometimes when she is angry instead of expressing herself she runs away and makes grunting/snorting noices.How do I decode when she is really hurt or angry

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017


Dear Celine,
Looks like your four year old is very articulate and has found ways of telling you when she is upset either in as many words or by making some noises. Younger children often cry a lot as they can not express their frustration in any other way. Anger, sadness, joy and disappointment and many other emotions and feelings are all natural for kids. Encourage her to discuss more about why she is upset? What would make it better?
Ask her would you rather tell mamma why you are angry or upset rather than running away? Having said that when we are angry we all need some way to let our steam off. If it is not disruptive let her do what she is doing.
Hope she has a fun fourth birthday ahead! Best wishes.

Deepika S Dec 8, 2017

Good morning doctor. Thanks for your special interest to address a very different topic. I have a three-year-old son, who cries for the smallest fall. I sometimes wonder if I should protect him from those falls or allow him to fall so he becomes stronger with each fall. As a parent, it is never an easy feeling to watch the little one cry. I get very emotional and always rush to hug him. My husband, on the other hand, says that by not letting him cry, we are not making him a strong individual. I am so helpless at times and wonder if I am doing the right thing. I need help.

Mathari Dec 8, 2017

@Deepika S

your situation is not very uncommon. I too have seen a similar case in my neighbourhood. One of my neighbours has a five-year-old boy, who cries for almost everything. The other day, he was playing with my four-year-old son and while playing, fell down. He was wearing long trousers and so there was no injury as it was only a mild fall. Yet, the boy was crying uncontrollably. All of us, including his parents rushed in and tried to soothe him. but it didn't work. These incidents make me wonder if we are too obsessed as parents and do not want our children to cry it out. One day, my mother-in-law visited us and was surprised to see the boy crying so much. She asked me, "Is that boy always seeking attention?" I said "I don't know." Just wondering if children more for seeking attention than the real pain. I want to know if crying it out is the first step to fighting it out.

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017

@Deepika S

Dear Deepika,
Is the fall a concern or the tears that follow? Parenting is all about thinking what you are doing is not right sometimes isn't it? Small falls and minor injuries are part of growing up. If your instinct is to give him a hug and wipe his tears do that! Where I would agree with your husband is to make him realise it is ok to hurt a bit and that there is nothing to worry. Don't panic! It feeds into the anxiety of the child and some kids even learn 'use it' to get more attention.

Why don't you try this the next time it happens - ''say oh oh! there you go again! Did that hurt? It will all be better in a minute just like last time! Do you want a hug from mamma? See tears all gone Daddy we are going to tell daddy what a brave boy you have been!''

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017

@Deepika S

Although I tend to agree that kids may use some situations to seek attention. At this tender age, we grown ups need to make sure they get positive attention when they are not asking for it! And when they seem to make a big deal of things, give enough attention to make sure they are ok after a fall and then be very matter of fact about you will be fine! What you describe about people rushing in may sometimes overwhelm a child and unbeknownst to him he may continue his crescendo for a bit.
And yes! let them cry it out. Won't be long before they themselves realise it is neither going to work nor it is cool!!

Team ParentCircle Dec 9, 2017

Dear Parents, Dr Rajath will be answering your questions till 11:45 AM. Please have all your questions posted before 11:45 AM. Thank you !!

Navyz Dec 9, 2017

Hello doctor, My son is 2 years old. He often has complained of leg pains (almost from age of 1 year). Earlier we assumed it was because he use to run around the house and never sit and play.
At some point the pains seemed to subside , but recently (last 2 months) he started crying pointing at his legs and even communicating the same in his language.
Are leg pains very common for kids around age (1-2yrs), or is it something that we need to worry about ?

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017


Thank you. We see this very often in young children. Usually when they are a little bit older. What you are describing may be what is referred to as growing pains. End of the day, both legs especially the calves hurt, kids may find comfort in massage etc.
This is usually because they run around so much in the day time. If only we did half of what they do, our legs would cramp up even more.
I would want to be reassuring but, make sure your pediatrician sees him once to ensure he is healthy, he may need iron or vitamin D supplements and your doctor will be best suited for that.

Nilima Dec 9, 2017

Good morning.... My little one is 1 year 11 months old. I give him food before going to bed still he keeps waking up in the middle of the night for taking feed.. What to do?

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017


He is waking up for the comfort of feeding! not because he is hungry. It is hard not to think he is not hungry if he keeps waking up, but believe me he does not need feeding. You feed him and thats the incentive for him to keep waking up. Try to stop, offer him some water instead and just get him to go back to sleep.
There isn't anything terribly wrong in taking one or two feeds in the night. But remember, he does not need it and do it only if you do not find it too disruptive. But better to wean him off this habit.

Meera Mathews Marrate Dec 9, 2017

Hello Doctor, my 1 year daughter always cries before and after food. Sometime I think its just fuss but I wonder if there is any other under lying reason.

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017

@Meera Mathews Marrate

Dear Meera,
I think your intuition as a mother that it must be just fuss is probably right. Do you force feed her? Are meal times a bit of a struggle? 1 year olds start developing a personality and they want to be in control! See if you can work with her temperament. Make meal times fun, let her eat (rather have messy play) with a plate of some food infront of her when you eat. If she wants to go without a meal on an off chance let her be! She will look forward to some food if she goes hungry.
After food if she is crying consistently there can be a few issues (although no major health concern to worry about) get her checked out once. One thing to watch for is to see if she has hard stools. If she is passing pellet like stools.

In summary:
No major underlying issues, but keep a watch
Make meal times fun
Do not force feed
and see how it goes.
Good luck!

Priya Dec 8, 2017

Hello doctor and thanks for this great opportunity to interact. I do not have a problem per se, but I have a question. How can I ever know if my infant who cannot communicate other than in action, that he is crying due to a headache or ear ache or tummy ache?

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017


You are welcome Priya!
Glad to know your little infant isn't giving you cause for concern. But, clever parenting, you want to be prepared when that happens - to worry or not to?
As I have said above, a sudden change in pattern and difficulty in consoling is a clue. Also, something that wakes a child up must be rather painful. So if he wakes up repeatedly crying then something may be amiss.
Ear ache - often they pull at their ears or may not like a particular ear being touched.
Headache - that is not usually a problem for the infant, but for his parents!
Tummy aches - are usually presumed whenever an infant cries as they may pass wind. I will list out some red flags in summary

1. Sudden change in behaviour
2. Difficult to console
3. Drawing up legs, face flushed and seemingly in lot of pain
4.Passing jelly (jam) like stools
5. other things going on as well - like high fever, vomiting, not passing urine, not passing stools for days or passing pellet like stools
6. High pitch (shrill) cry
are some of those things to look out for and get a baby seen by a doctor asap

Priya Dec 9, 2017


Thank you doctor

Rajesh Vishwanathan Dec 9, 2017

Dear Readers, Keep the questions/suggestions.opinions coming. Dr Athreya is keeping us super entertained this super Saturday morning with his responses.

Vijay Ram Dec 8, 2017

Hi doctor. Thanks for this session. I want to know how to make out the difference between trivial crying and a serious one. Many times, children cry just to throw a tantrum, but there are also times when there is an actual need that needs to be addressed.

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017

@Vijay Ram

Good Morning! A very good question to start with. In pre verbal children, say in the first year of life and a bit beyond, it is often difficult to say if crying is because of pain. However, if the crying is abrupt, out of the blue and the child cannot be consoled easily it may be a cause of concern.
Tantrum is easier to spot! What do you do when you are asked to do something you don't like or as is the case in toddlers - when you ask then NOT to do something they like or STOP! They throw a tantrum and they are usually not subtle about it.
Crying in very young babies is a different kettle of fish. I will take that up in discussions to follow.

DR Rajath Athreya Dec 9, 2017

Good morning! I see a few questions from parents already. The concerns span from ill health to behavioral issues. We will start the online discussion at 10 am.