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How to Tell If Your Baby Is Still Hungry Or Just Overtired

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Updated April 22, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

One of the most frustrating parts of having a baby (despite those melt-your-heart, sweet-as-pie little coos) is the fact that they can't tell you what's bothering them. Crying is the name of the game, and making sense of those cries is the toughest feat of all in those first few weeks. Is the baby hungry? Is he in pain? Is she overstimulated? Is he overtired? As simple as it may sound, there is one foolproof trick...

Take the baby for a walk around the block!

We tout fresh air for good reason--from cold, biting temps to picture-perfect warmth to lethargy-inducing humidity--in most cases, it can help us to determine what's making our cranky babies tick. Whether you live in the suburbs or in a city, putting your baby in the stroller and going out may be the key to a good nap (or nighttime sleep!) If the baby screams her way around the block, she's most probably still hungry. If she knocks out the minute you walk out the door, she was ready for some dreams.

Many moms find that the baby is feeding for hours on end during cluster feeding time or during a growth spurt, which is very normal. If you find that you're starting to go stir-crazy, this is a perfect time to attempt the walk-around-the-block trick. Both of you may simply need a change of pace.

If you're concerned that your baby is not able to settle down because he is in pain, contact your pediatrician immediately.

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