Deciphering Baby’s Cry


Since birth till the time your child learns to talk, crying is the only way she expresses herself. To convey any need or discomfort the infant only knows one language and that is to cry out loud. However, at initial stages even the mother also finds it difficult to figure out the exact reason of her baby’s cry. But with the passage of time and the heartful connect with their child, gradually the parents start getting the non-verbal cues of crying to cater their child’s need.

Why is my baby crying?

A small baby, to be more precise an infant at his/ her early stage (0 to 1 year of age) cries for several reasons at different time of the day, and even after waking up from sleep. The probable reasons related to the baby’s cry are enumerated as follows:

  • After birth cry- Just after birth your baby’s cry signifies intake of oxygen to lungs for the first time. Before birth, babies’ intake oxygen through placenta via umbellical cord; but crying within few seconds of birth signifies your baby’s ‘kick-start’ for his/ her lungs. The first cry helps to get rid of the excess amniotic residue present in lungs, mouth and nasal passages. Further, this cry helps the doctor to evaluate baby’s adaptation ability to life outside uterus. This cry is very essential and is an universal phenomena; rather one needs to worry and consult for expert advice when this first cry is not present or delayed after birth. 
  • Hunger- The younger the baby, the more likely he/ she is to feel hungry often. Hunger is one of the most common cause at an early age that makes your baby cry.
  • Physical discomfort- This can be of diverse kind, but the most common cause of discomfort that occurs often during a day to your baby is the soiled diapers. Soiling of diapers and the wet feeling from it makes your baby irritated the most and he/ she cries to signal the need for its change.
  • Temperature change- Infants initially finds it difficult to regulate their body temperature in accordance with the environment or climate. So when he/ she feels cold or may be too hot he/ she cries to indicate discomfort.
  • Physical proximity- Newborn babies need a lot of physical closeness. As the baby was habituated with the warm and cozy environment of  mother’s womb, during later phase of birth also he/ she needs that skin-to-skin touch to feel and be assured about the presence of warm and secure physical contact, else sort to cry.
  • Need for rest and sleep- Newborns’ need a lot of resting and sleeping comfort. But at times the baby cannot just sleep by him/ herself. That is the time when he/ she cries, nags, whines, etc. to express the need of rest.
  • Colic and unwellness- Sometimes it is difficult to understand why your baby is crying. The cry can continue for some time ranging from continuous few minutes to even hours, and it seems not really easy to comfort the crying baby. This is called colic. It can happen due to various reasons, for example due to some stomach ailment, pain, fever, or some other unwell conditions. If this happens for quite sometime, or may be occurring quite often with your infant it is essential to consult an expert.

How to soothe my crying baby?

As it is already discussed in the previous part, the infant cries to draw your attention for addressing his/ her situational comfort and requirements. Therefore, to soothe your crying baby, the following techniques can be adopted:

  • Hold your baby close to make him/ her feel secure, warm and loved.
  • Inside the womb your baby has already experienced the motions of your body, hold your baby close to your heart so that he/ she feels assured of that familiar touch through hearing your heart beat.
  • Hold the baby in different positions and gently pat and massage his/ her back.
  • Gently rock your baby in arms or gently swing him/ her in the crib.
  • Take your baby outside in the open to make him/ her feel the fresh air.
  • Try out soothing sounds, talking gently, sing or hum to your baby.
  • Feed your baby often at regular intervals.
  • At time offer your baby with clean finger tips to suck on.
  • Keep a check on your baby diapers at regular interval to understand when it is to be changed. This also assures you that your baby is not getting any skin infection due to long usage of the diaper material.
  • Try to keep your baby physically comfortable enough by keeping him/ her warm at the same time help him/ her to get enough fresh air also, as per the weather condition.
  • Make sure your baby is getting enough sleep and rest as that is crucial part for his/ her brain and overall physical development during early infancy.

Apart from all the above mentioned points it is always helpful to continue with a routine check-up and consult your house physician on time-to-time basis during the entire stage of infancy (that actually ranges from 0 to 2 years of age) for ensuring healthy all round development of your baby.

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