when a baby cries but there is no sound

When a baby cries but there is no sound: How to resolve it

There is no happiness that can match a mother’s when she hears her baby cry out for the first time. It’s like music to her ears. It lets her know that her little one has arrived safely in this world. Crying is the only way through which babies can communicate during the first year of their lives. Different babies have different ways in which they cry. Most of these ways are normal while few can become a cause for concern, especially when a baby cries but there is no sound. This can make anyone very anxious. There are different reasons for this crying with no sound. Some of them are discussed below.

1)           Breath-holding spells: Crying excessively can sometimes lead to breath-holding spells in babies and children. It happens when babies stop breathing for up to 1 minute and may pass out. This usually happens when a baby is crying excessively because they’re frightened, angry, upset, or have sudden pain or shock. Most of the time these spells are harmless but they can be scary for new parents, especially when it happens for the first time.  During a breath-holding spell, your child might: cry and then be quiet while holding their breath, open their mouth as if they will cry but no sound comes out, turn blue or grey, be stiff or their body may jerk, or faint for a minute or two. So, what should you do during these spells? Here’s a list of Dos and don’ts to help you out when a baby cries but there is no sound.


  • You should remain calm as it is normal and there is no need to panic. It will pass in less than one minute.
  • Lay down the baby on their side and don’t pick them up.
  • Don’t leave them alone until the spell has passed.
  • Make sure they don’t hurt themselves while flailing. Don’t let their arms, head, or legs hit anything which can cause them pain.
  • Reassure them it is okay and they are okay. Make sure they get plenty of rest afterward.
  • To decrease the chance of more spells, make sure that your baby gets plenty of rest, and try to help your child feel secure. Be sure to tell your baby’s doctor if they have spells more often or if they seem to be getting worse or different than before.


  • Do not shake your baby, especially if it’s a newborn–it can cause the shaken baby syndrome. Also, don’t splash water on them.
  • Put nothing in their mouth and this includes your own finger.
  • Do not perform CPR on them or give them mouth to mouth.
  • Do not tell them to stop doing it. They are not doing it on purpose.

2)           Some babies cry silently when they’re feeling pain in their gums because of teething. Teething is one of the challenging phases during the baby’s first year. It can be a stressful period for both parents and the baby. Drooling, crankiness and tears can make teething an ordeal for babies and parents alike. At such times, the baby can be crying with no sound. Luckily, there are some natural remedies you can try to ease your baby’s teething pain.

  • Use a frozen washcloth on the baby’s gums. Wet one clean washcloth and then put it in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. When it has become cold and stiff, apply it to your baby’s gums to soothe them.
  • Another way to soothe your baby’s aching gums is by offering them a fruit pacifier. The constant chewing and sucking will help them ease the irritation in their gums because of teething.
  • Place a clean finger inside your baby’s mouth and use it to gently massage your baby’s aching gums. If you don’t want any baby drool on your hand, then use a wooden spoon or wooden teething ring to apply a little pressure to those little gums.
  • If you are breastfeeding, nursing is often a reliable way to give your baby some comfort, and teething time is no exception.
  • If your baby is especially cranky, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin, others) might help

3)           Often babies who are born prematurely cry without making any noise. This is because their lungs aren’t mature enough to produce a loud noise. There is no need to worry about it though. As your preemie grows older and their lungs mature, they will be able to produce noise while crying.

4)           Sometimes when a baby cries but there is no sound it can be a sign of a serious problem like damaged or paralyzed vocal cords. Vocal cords aren’t just for speaking. They are a part of a complex system that affects different functions, which also includes crying. Vocal cords affect some of our functions like swallowing, speaking, and breathing. They close to let us swallow, narrow to let us speak and open to let us breathe. Sometimes only one cord is affected, while other times both vocal cords may be affected. Although very rare, it is a very serious condition. So, if you suspect that this may be the reason behind no sound while crying, then you must see your pediatrician as soon as possible.

Babies make lots of different noises from giggles to grunts to baby babble. Most of the time, they’re happily absorbed in their new world. However, when they need something they have to let you know as they can’t say it directly yet. The best way to do that is through crying, as it gets your attention every time! New parents can find it challenging to understand what each crying sound or lack of it might mean. They often wonder if their baby’s cry is normal or not. This makes them ponder whether their baby is okay or if they are suffering from some undiagnosed problems?

Most of the time, when a baby cries but there is no sound crying, it can be temporary, and it usually resolves on its own. However, if the lack of sound has made you very anxious, then you should consult your pediatrician to ease your worries.

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