Babies can be fussy, unpredictable, and difficult to please, leaving parents feeling frustrated and exhausted.
While every baby is unique and has their own preferences, there are certain things that many babies universally dislike.
Let’s look at the top 15 things that babies hate — including the major reasons your baby is crying or upset. Some of these are unavoidable, but we’ll explore a few tips on how to keep baby as happy as possible during normal day-to-day activities.
This is a big category that covers lots of little things babies dislike!
If your baby is crying and upset, it almost always has to do with one of these triggers.
1. Dirty Diapers
One of the most common things that babies hate is having a dirty diaper. Babies can get fussy and irritable when they feel wet or soiled.
It is important to change their diaper frequently to keep them comfortable and prevent diaper rash.
Some babies may even cry until their diaper is changed — and funny enough, they will probably cry DURING the change, too. But once all is clean, they’ll be much happier!
2. Teething Pain
Teething can be a painful process for babies as their teeth start to push through their gums. This can cause them to be fussy, drool excessively, and have trouble sleeping.
To help ease their discomfort, you can give them a teething toy or a cold washcloth to chew on. You can also use a teething gel or medication recommended by your pediatrician.
3. Hunger and Thirst
Babies need to eat frequently, and when they’re hungry or thirsty, they can become very fussy.
This is a big one! Crying babies, especially newborns, are usually hungry. When they’re first born, they need to eat every couple of hours.
After about 6 months or so, you can start to introduce solid foods into their diet.
4, Overheating or Being Too Cold
Babies can be sensitive to changes in temperature and can become uncomfortable if they are too hot or too cold — just like the rest of us!
The only difference is they can’t tell you they’re too hot or take off their own sweater. They’ll just cry relentlessly instead.
Dress them appropriately for the weather and to keep their sleeping environment at a comfortable temperature.
Use a fan or air conditioner in the summer and a heater in the winter to regulate the temperature. Make sure to check your baby’s temperature regularly to ensure they are not overheating or getting too cold.
5. Tummy Time
Tummy time is important for babies to develop their muscles and motor skills, but it can also be uncomfortable for them.
Some babies may not like being on their stomachs and may cry or fuss during tummy time.
That’s putting it lightly. A lot of babies HATE tummy time.
To make it more comfortable for them, you can use a soft mat or blanket and place toys or a mirror in front of them to keep them entertained. Gradually increase the amount of tummy time each day to help them get used to the position.
Babies, in addition to being sensitive to physical discomfort, are extremely sensitive to their surroundings.
To keep them happy, you’ve got to get the environment and atmosphere around them just right.
6. Loud Noises
Babies are highly sensitive to loud noises, and it can be a source of discomfort for them. It’s important to keep the environment as quiet as possible to avoid startling the baby.
Sudden loud noises like a door slamming or a dog barking can cause distress and even lead to crying.
If you need to make noise, try to do it when the baby is not sleeping or in another room.
7. Bright Lights
Harsh and bright lights can be overwhelming for a baby, especially when they are trying to sleep. It’s important to keep the environment dimly lit during nap times and bedtime.
Bright lights can also cause eye strain and headaches, which can lead to irritability and fussiness.
If you need to have bright lights on, try to keep them away from the baby’s eyes and use a soft light filter. In the car, it’s a good idea to get a sunshade to go next to baby’s window.
8. Unfamiliar Surroundings
Babies thrive on routine and familiarity, so being in an unfamiliar environment can be unsettling for them. This can cause anxiety, crying, and fussiness.
Going to the doctor, for example, is something almost all babies hate.
If you need to take the baby to a new place, try to keep their routine as close to normal as possible. Bring familiar toys and blankets to help them feel more comfortable and secure.
9. Being Startled
Babies have a natural startle reflex (called the Moro Reflex) that can be triggered by sudden movements or noises. This can cause them to cry and become upset.
It’s important to be gentle when handling the baby and avoid sudden movements. When picking up the baby, try to do it slowly and calmly to avoid startling them.
10. Being in a Carseat (especially when not moving)
Babies usually hate getting strapped into the carseat. It’s a combination of physical and environmental discomfort.
The seat itself is tight, they feel constricted, they may feel hot, and their surroundings out the window are unfamiliar.
However, the soothing hum and vibrations of the car can often calm them down and put them to sleep.
When the car stops? Watch out!
Babies can become agitated and fussy when they are in a car that’s not moving. The sudden stillness can be unsettling and they’ll miss the vibrations.
If you need to stop the car, try to keep the baby entertained with toys or a pacifier to help them stay calm.
Social Interactions with Others
11. Being Ignored
Babies should not be ignored, left alone to cry, or punished.
Babies are meant to be held and should feel welcome in a parent’s arms. Ignoring a baby can lead to feelings of abandonment and insecurity.
Cry it out can be useful as a sleep training technique when done properly, and upset babies can be sat somewhere quiet when crying but it’s usually recommended to try this after you’ve tried soothing, feeding, changing, and addressing possible sources of irritation.
12. Rough Handling
It should go without saying, but babies are fragile and should never be handled roughly or shaken.
But even just a too-firm grab may cause them to become upset, so make sure you always handle them gently!
If you feel yourself getting frustrated, place them down somewhere safe and walk away to take a few breaths.
13. Separation Anxiety
Babies may experience separation anxiety when they are away from their primary caregiver. Separation anxiety can cause distress and lead to crying and clinginess.
Over time, they will learn that just because you’re out of the room doesn’t mean you’re gone forever. But until then, they’ll struggle with being left alone. That means you have a strong bond, so bravo!
Babies can become overstimulated in new and unfamiliar environments. Too much noise, light, or activity can cause distress and lead to crying and fussiness.
It is important to provide a calm and quiet environment for the baby as often as possible.
As much as you want everyone you know to be able to snuggle your baby, your baby may not be on board!
Babies may be fearful of strangers and may cry or become upset when approached by someone they do not know. It is important to introduce new people slowly and to allow the baby to become comfortable with them over time.
It seems like there are a lot of ways to drive your baby crazy, but really, it’s pretty simple. Keep them cozy and warm (but not too hot!), well fed, and handle them gently!
You’ve got this!