Understanding Your Baby’s Cries

Understanding Your Baby’s Cries

Life as a new parent can feel pretty hectic. Even if you’re spending most of your time at home, you’ll be busy changing nappies, feeding, soothing, bonding with your new baby, and receiving visitors. This can be a stressful period, as you adjust to life as a parent, while getting to know your newborn. Your newborn, who is also getting to know you, has limited means of communication, and so you are bound to experience some crying once your baby arrives.

Listening to your newborn baby cry can be torturous, and you will be keen to soothe your baby as soon as possible. Here are some of the reasons babies cry, and what you can do to help:

  1. Hunger – this is the most common cause of crying in newborns. Babies have small stomachs and need to eat little and often as a result. If you are breastfeeding, you may notice that you begin to leak a little milk when you hear your baby’s cries –  a great sign that your hormones are working right. If hunger is the cause of the crying, your baby should feel soothed once offered a breast or bottle.
  2. Cuddles – sometimes, babies just want to be held. After nine long months in your uterus, they can get lonely being so far away from you. There’s nothing wrong with soothing your crying baby with a cuddle. If you want your hands free to get on with other things, you may find a sling useful to carry your baby close to you.
  3. Discomfort – this could be down to a dirty nappy, a tag rubbing inside clothing, being too hot, or lying in a funny position, amongst other things. The cry may be whiney and sound like “heh” when your baby is experiencing discomfort. Check for obvious signs of discomfort if you think this could be the problem.
  4. Overstimulated – loud noises, new sights, lots of people – it’s no wonder babies get overstimulated. Your baby may occasionally cry because he feels overstimulated. Take him to a quiet room for a cuddle, or put him in a sling so he can turn away from the world and feel safe against your chest.
  5. Gas – some babies experience gas after feeds, and may need a little help getting rid of the trapped air. Whimpers may indicate that your baby needs help to burp, whereas grunting may suggest the trapped gas is abdominal. There are a number of baby massage techniques that can help to relieve trapped gas.
  6. Pain – this is one of those times you will be amazed at your mothering instinct. Sometimes, the cry seems more desperate, and you’ll know something is wrong. Check for a fever, rash and other obvious symptoms, and call a healthcare provider for advice.

Don’t worry if you can’t tell what your baby is trying to tell you. It will take you a while to begin understanding your baby’s cries. Work through the list above until you find something that soothes your baby, and don’t be afraid to call for help if you think something is wrong.

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.