Interpreting your Baby's Cries


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How do I interpret my baby's crying?

Interpreting baby cries isn't always an easy feat. Whether it’s noon or midnight, your newborn infant will cry. Babies from newborn to six weeks can cry as much as one to five hours every day.

It can be difficult to tell what causes Baby to cry, but fortunately, there are ways of figuring it out. By using some tips and tricks, you may be able to comfort your child by curing what ails them.

You may have heard that tending to your newborn immediately after they start crying every time can spoil them. Most child experts and researchers note that there is no validity to this theory.

It is important to understand that this is your baby’s way of communicating with you. If you ignore your baby, you may do more damage than help. If you respond immediately, comfort, and help your baby, this will establish a sense of security in your lucky little one at an early age.

interpreting babies cries interpret crying baby signing sign language

For many parents, one popular method to distinguish your baby’s cries is through guess-and-check. If they’re crying, try to feed them. If they refuse the food, their diaper may need changing. If these factors don't apply - perhaps your child is bored. Try stimulating Baby's mind by playing with him or her!

Here are some general guide-lines to distinguish your baby’s cries and emotions:

It is easiest to diagnose the emotion of your baby by identifying what kind of cry he or she is producing. After 3 months, your baby will start to learn more about their environment. The amount of crying will most likely reduce by this age. Plus, you as a parent will be more accustomed to their wants and needs.

  • Hunger

  • Whimpering that develops to loud and long cries; can sound repetitive and unvarying. Try feeding your baby. If they are hungry, they will cease crying and gladly accept the food.
  • Upset or Surprise

  • This crying comes apparently out of nowhere and is long and loud. Your child may be bored, lonely, or startled by a loud noise or busy environment. As they grow older, they may use this cry to express they are frustrated or uncomfortable in a situation.
  • Pain or Discomfort

  • High wailing while holding their breath in gasps, usually followed with sudden and hard cries. There are many reasons why your baby may be in pain or discomfort. Some of the most common are a soiled diaper, room temperature, teething, cold or flu-like symptoms, diaper rash, constipation, immunization effects, gas, or colic (see below).

    If for any reason, you feel that your baby’s crying is excessive or it sounds urgent, DO NOT HESITATE to contact a health professional. Ear infections are common in babies, but uncommon and serious problems like meningitis or dehydration may still occur.

  • Colic

  • A crying that sounds similar to the pain cry, however, it seems to occur around the same time every day for prolonged periods of time (usually three or more hours).

    This cry is higher in pitch and can cause redness in the face, clenching of the fists, and drawing of the legs up toward the abdomen. There is no known cause for colic, but it doesn’t hurt your baby. There are different approaches to calm a crying baby which will be addressed below.

    More on Colic Babies

    About 20% of all babies are born colic. Symptoms are generally shown from two weeks old to three months old. Colic is generally defined as having a pain in the abdomen or bowels, but most of the time in babies, they have no gastrointestinal problems. Doctors and researchers don’t know why some babies are colicky, but it does not cause any damage to the baby’s digestive tract.

    It is thought that colic may contribute to the emotional state of the baby, making it so when they start crying, they just can’t stop.

    Normally, colicky babies start crying near evening and cry for at least three hours a day, three days a week, and three weeks a month.

    If you think your baby may be colicky, you'll want to check to see if there are other symptoms that may be causing discomfort (i.e. temperature, rash, hunger). If colic is suspected, please be sure to contact your physician.


Over Stimulation

A similar cry to the upset/surprised cry. Your baby may be releasing tension, conveying they are feeling stress or anxious, or that they are overtired. Try taking your baby to a quiet room or peaceful location and see if they calm down.

The Calm Down: Tips to Keep Your Cool and Restore Your Baby’s

interpreting babies cries interpret cry baby sign language picture

Most everybody knows it’s hard work to have and raise a child. The first years, especially for new parents, may prove to be the most challenging.

Yes, you already know your baby will cry and you will from time to time become frustrated. You can prepare yourself with books and advice, but nothing will truly prepare you for the moment you could lose your cool and do something you may regret.

If you have a more active baby, you can probably expect more crying. Conversely, if your baby is more of a mellow type, he or she might not cry as much. Just remember that all babies are different! Don’t be surprised if your baby is active, but not a big crier! Interpreting your baby's cries will get easier, especially when you know what to look and listen for!

For extra tips and support on calming your crying baby, please click here

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