May 6, 2024

Decoding your baby's cries 

Babies tend to have different cries to express different needs or emotions. Here are the most common reasons newborns cry, what each type tends to sound like and how to soothe your little one.

🤱1. I'm hungry

Listen for: A low-pitched, rhythmic, repetitive cry, combined with other signals such as rooting for the breast, a sucking motion with her tongue, lip-smacking, or putting her fingers into her mouth.

The solution: Respond to hunger cues quickly so that baby doesn't get too worked up. If she's upset and begins gulping air with her milk, she may trap gas or spit up, which will probably result in more crying.

🤱2. I'm tired or uncomfortable

Listen for: A whiny, nasal, continuous cry that builds in intensity is usually baby's signal that she's had enough - usually accompanied by yawns, eye-rubs or ear-tugs) or is otherwise uncomfortable.

The solution: Check for a dirty diaper, and help your baby get as much sleep as she needs (remember that newborns often sleep more than 16 hours a day).

🤱3. I've got colic

Listen for: Intense wails or screams, accompanied by fidgeting movements. Colic often occurs in the late afternoon or evening, and the episodes can last for hours. It typically peaks around 6 weeks after birth and goes away by the time baby is 3 to 4 months old.

The solution: Try comforting positions (laying her on her tummy on your forearm or across your knees, supporting her head and rubbing her back). You can also try putting her down on her back and gently pushing her knees up to her stomach for 10 seconds, then releasing and repeating, in hopes of getting the gas (which is thought by some to be a possible cause of colic) out of her.

As your baby becomes a more effective communicator and as you become more proficient at understanding her, she will be more easily comforted when she does cry. You'll also learn to identify what her cries mean more quickly. So hang in there!

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