top of page

Managing Biting, Hitting, Pulling and Crying in Babies

In this article, I am sharing situations where the baby bites, hits, pulls, or cries and suggestions on how to manage them.

Biting, hitting and pulling

Babies (6 to 12 months)

Biting, hitting and pulling help the baby to understand the concept of “cause and effect”.

For example, the baby bites the parent and then watches to see what the parent will do.

If the parent

- laughs or makes it into a game, the baby might try it again to see whether he will get the same reaction.

- gets angry, the baby might be fascinated by the extreme reactions which might also make the baby want to try it again.


If the parent doesn’t like what the baby is doing, the parent can say “No”.

Remove the baby’s hand and the parent turn away or put the baby down.

This takes away attention from the behaviour.

If the baby hits, bites or pulls hair again, respond in the same way.

The baby will repeat behaviour that gets a lot of attention.

When the baby shows positive behaviour such as cuddling or gentle touch, gives the baby lots of attention and praises the baby.

If the parent sees the baby biting, hitting or pulling another person or baby, stay calm and get in quickly with an apology to the baby and the other parent.

Says to the baby, “No! Biting, hitting or pulling hurts” and removes the baby from the situation.


Babies (0-12 months)

Crying is the baby's way of communicating needs such as food, warmth, love, security and comfort and getting a response from the parent.

At first, it can be tricky and frustrating to interpret the baby's cries.

So, in this second part of the article, I am sharing reasons why the baby cries and suggestions what the parent can do in response.

The baby is hungry.

The baby tends to get hungry fast because the baby’s stomach is small.


- Suck the fists.

- Turn towards the mother’s breast in response to a stroke on the cheek or lips which are known as a rooting reflex when the mother picks the baby up.


- Feed the baby when the parent notices the signs of hunger.

The baby’s tummy hurts.

Colic is uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby. It often occurs when the baby is two or three weeks old or the baby is premature.

It also tends to happen more often in the evenings and at night.

The baby is considered colicky if the baby is younger than five months and if the baby cries for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for at least three weeks.


- Cry louder and higher than normal.

- Clench fists, arched backs, tight tummies, knees pulled up to their chests.


- Burp the baby after feeding.

- Rub the baby's back and massage the stomach gently.

- Check with a doctor about prescribed colic remedies.

Click here to read about “Baby Sleep Tips”.

The baby’s diaper needs changing.

The baby normally will protest when with wet or soiled diapers, especially if the skin feels irritated.


- The baby's diaper is heavy and/or smelly.


- Change the baby’s diaper immediately.

The baby is not feeling well.

If the baby's crying tone is different from normal, it could be a sign of being unwell or a teething problem.


- Runny nose, cough, fever, lethargy, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.


- Bring the baby to see a doctor immediately.

If the baby is crying persistently, shows any signs of illness and is running a temperature above 37.5°C.

The baby is too hot or cold.

- Check the baby’s temperature with a thermometer.

- Check if the baby is too hot or cold by feeling the tummy or neck.


- The baby looks uncomfortable and maybe crying.


- If the baby is too cold, increase the room temperature and add clothing.

- If the baby is too hot, remove some clothing and/or change to lighter clothing and/or decrease the room's temperature.

The baby is tired and needs a rest.

The baby may find it hard to get to sleep especially if overtired.

The baby receives lots of attention especially from doting visitors and may over-stimulate the baby, making it harder for the baby to sleep.


- Whine and Cry.

- Stare blankly into space and be quieter than normal.


- Aware of the baby's sleep cues.

- Give the baby a warm bath.

- Try carrying the baby to a quiet room before bed to calm down and unwind.

The baby wants to be carried.

The baby needs lots of cuddling, physical contact and reassurance so crying might be a way to get attention.


- Cry when not with the mother.


- Carry the baby.

Does your baby “keep waking up in the night”? Here are tips for you to try it out.

I hope all the suggestions will help you to manage situations where the baby’s biting, hitting, pulling or crying better.

What matters most to parents? Our most-read articles:

Genesis Tampines Childcare 1989 is one of the best preschool and childcare in Tampines. Our Preschool Tampines have over 30 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. At our Tampines Childcare, we advocate that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished.

As a leading early childhood centre in Singapore since 1989, we are committed to nurturing our early learners holistically through various learning areas and positive learning dispositions. We place a strong emphasis on the way our teachers facilitate and interact with the children.

Our Childcare Tampines believe that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished. Hence, our holistic curriculum aims to create meaningful learning experiences for each and every one of them!

Our Playgroup Tampines provides parents with the confidence that their children are in the good hands of our trained and caring teachers.

Our professional team of preschool teachers has a good understanding of child development and learning principles. We apply them efficiently and set the stage to create a meaningful learning experience that supports your child's discovery.

We consistently create a positive and cozy environment that will give your child a sense of security which builds their self-confidence to explore the world around them.

If you are looking for a good Tampines infant care or Tampines preschool or Tampines childcare near Tampines Central, do consider Nurture Infant House or Genesis Childcare 1989.

Located alongside our childcare in Tampines is our Nurture Infant House. If you are looking for Tampines infant care or infant care in Tampines, do visit Nurture Infant House. It is for infants aged 2 months to 18 months old. You can learn more about our infant care Tampines here.

Lastly, would you like to visit our Genesis Childcare 1989 to find out more about our environment and setup as well as understand our operations by talking to our teachers and supervisor?

Book a school tour now! Click here to read our Google reviews too!

Genesis Childcare 1989 (Playgroup to Kindergarten 2)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 S(520433)

Nurture Infant House (2 to 18 months Infants)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 S(520433)

Opening hours: Monday to Friday (7am to 7pm) & Saturday (7am to 2pm)

Public Bus services: 8 / 21 / 28 / 29 / 293


bottom of page