How to Make a Baby Cry in 9 Easy Steps

So maybe you don’t actually want to figure out HOW to make a baby cry. But I assure you, whether you want to or not, it’s going to happen- a lot. And as exhausted new moms, you can laugh or cry about it. Our babies chose to cry, but us? We choose to laugh. 

Okay, okay hear- me out. I’m not a total MONSTER. I don’t actually WANT babies to cry. But let’s face it, ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to make a baby cry. Actually, the mere fact of trying to get a baby to STOP crying will probably show you a million more ways to make them cry in the first place.

I think we have this idea as mothers- especially new mothers- that babies aren’t supposed to cry much. We’ve been trained to think that crying means something is wrong, and that it is our job to figure out and fix said thing, in order to get a baby to stop crying. 

But if you’ve spent any amount of time with a newborn, you know there are other factors at play. Sometimes, despite our best of intentions and most tender loving care, we figure out how to make a baby cry- the hard way.

So for your reading pleasure, here are 9 easy ways to make a baby cry. 

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Step One: Have a Baby

Y’all, babies just cry sometimes. Figuring out how to make someone super comfortable is almost impossible when that someone has literally no way to communicate.  They cry ALL the time, and sometimes for no reason.

newborn baby crying

They are, quite literally, born crying, and often continue that way for a good few months.

Step Two: Try to Feed the Baby

We hear a lot about how toddlers can be picky eaters, but babies may just have them beat.  Don’t believe me? Try offering a bottle to a breastfed baby. (Or, probably, a breast to a baby who prefers bottles). Try transitioning them to formula, or giving them pumped milk that’s been kept in the fridge for a day or two.

baby drinking a bottle, looking mad

Maybe their milk is too hot. Maybe it’s too cold. Maybe they really would prefer to have their bottle given to them while they lay down on the floor with their head propped on a pillow while you sing them Twinkle Twinkle Star (as was the case with a VERY particular little lady I once had in my care).

Whatever their unique preferences are, we guarantee they’ve got them. And they will cry until you figure them out.

Step Three: Try to Help the Baby Sleep

I don’t know about you, but two of my favorite hobbies are eating and sleeping. Babies? Well, they’re pretty much the opposite. 

baby sleeping, flipping off camera

The quickest way to make a baby cry is to try to get it to sleep in some way that it doesn’t want to. Whether they’re overtired or not sleepy yet, want to be rocked to sleep or want to be alone, want a swaddle or DO NOT want a swaddle-babies throw down some pretty strict rules about their sleeping situation.

And if your baby wants to cosleep and you’re not down for that? God help you.

Step Four: Change the Baby’s Diaper

Heaven help the person that tried to change Lila’s diaper. The attempt was met with screams, and thrashing, and approximately the same amount of physical effort that it would take to get a diaper onto an angry baby possum.

baby in a diaper

If she had her way, she would NEVER have had her diaper changed. Which, as you may have guessed, is not legally allowable. Lots of crying ensued, at the rate of about eight to ten times a day.

Step Five: Give the Baby a Bath

All those failed attempts at giving a bottle or getting the baby to latch add up to some pretty serious milk-in-neck situations. At some point, you’re going to need to give that little one a bath.

Just make sure the water isn’t too hot or too cold, that it’s exactly the right amount of water, and that you don’t try to actually, you know, WASH THEM. 

pouty baby in a bath towel

Also, if water gets on their face, they will cry. In their ear? More crying. In their EYES? They’ll never.stop.crying.

Step Six: Tummy Time

Unless you have one of those weirdly perfect babies that love tummy time and lift their head at three weeks old, this doctor-recommended, developmentally appropriate practice is the easiest way to figure out how to make a baby cry.

baby doing tummy time

And they’re supposed to do this tortuous thing for a full twenty minutes, so…yeah. That’s twenty minutes of crying for you, right there. 

Step Seven: Use a Baby Carrier (Or Don’t)

Lila could hardly bear the mere suggestion of a baby carrier. She felt restricted, and trapped, and she would want OUT. If I put her in a baby carrier, she’d immediately start to cry.

grumpy baby in an ergo

Her brother Abram, however, was the exact opposite. He spent roughly the first six months of his life in an Ergo, and would cry any time I took him out of it. At age two and a half, he still spends a fair amount of time crying about wanting to go in the baby carrier.

Step Eight: Put Them In a Carseat

Look, if I’m putting a baby in a carseat, they are going in there the RIGHT WAY. That means they are rear facing, the carseat has been installed at somewhat of an angle, and their straps are going to be TIGHT.

Turns out, babies don’t always like tight. Who’d have thought?

baby crying in a car seat

So there’s bound to be a little carseat drama. It’ll either resolve complete once the car starts moving, or, if you’re lucky, they’ll amp their decibels WAY up in protest.

Step Nine: Give them the Wrong Amount of Attention

If you find yourself in possession of a high needs baby, you’ll know how crucial this aspect is. Give them exactly as much attention as they want- no more, no less.

baby crying

The only problem being that sometimes they want to spend an entire day bouncing on your knee while you sing nursery rhymes, and entire other days wanting to be placed gently in a baby swing and left there for the next 4-6 hours.

Babies change their minds CONSTANTLY, and the only way to figure out what they want is to learn the hard way (which, unfortunately, involves lots of tears- both for their caregivers and for the babies themselves!).


We know, we know, you’re not REALLY trying to figure out how to make a baby cry. Odds are, you’re just trying to figure out how you made it cry in the first place so that you can get it to STOP. Babies are exhausting, and adorable, and oh-so-full of wails. The best thing that you can do is to ride the wave. They have to stop crying eventually…right?

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4 thoughts on “How to Make a Baby Cry in 9 Easy Steps”

  1. The photos that go along with this post made me giggle. I survived a baby who would cry at many of those things. Great post!

  2. Haha the pictures that went along with this post are amazing! Sitting down was definitely a good way to get my middle child to cry – unless it was on the exercise ball and then I better be bouncing! Ahh memories 🙂

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