Do babies cry to manipulate us?


Babies are not manipulating, they are communicating that they need to be looked after.

The detailed answer:

You may hear some people say that babies cry for no reason, or to manipulate you into doing what they want.

This is probably one of the most common misconceptions surrounding babies, whether sleep related or not. In short, babies do not possess the cognitive skills to understand that if X happens, Y will follow, so the idea that they are crying in order to somehow manipulate you is a complete fallacy.

However, babies are trying to communicate when they cry. It is their only way of communicating with you, so they are trying to tell you that they need something. It can be frustrating to try and figure out what it is they are trying to say and sometimes we just need to accept that we can’t figure it out, but the cry still means something and still needs responding to, even if nothing seems to help. Studies have shown that babies produce less cortisol (the stress hormone) when they are crying in someone’s arms than when they are crying but not being held.


Read more here:

My Baby Cries Too: Evolutionary Parenting

Educating the Experts: Crying: Evolutionary Parenting