Different Baby Cries And What They Mean

Is your newborn’s constant crying leaving you distraught? Here are some tips to discover the causes and calm him down.

By Ananya Subramanian

Different Baby Cries And What They Mean

“Babies cry like birds fly: It's part of being the creature we are." This is a nursery rhyme Marc Weissbluth, MD, a renowned paediatrician in Chicago and author of ‘Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child’ uses to explain why infants cry. It might just be a part of her normal behaviour, or there could be reasons such as feeling hungry or sick. Different types of cries are associated with different causes. If you learn to identify your baby’s cry, you can easily deal with the problem and pacify her. The following list will help you decode your baby’s cries:

1. Real pain

 Cry induced by pain is violent, high-pitched and loud. Your baby might close his eyes or his face could look flushed. Connect these signs immediately to pain and try to find the cause. Check for high temperature, blood stains, swelling or rashes. No matter what, don’t ignore this kind of cry.

2. Hunger

Listen carefully for the ‘neh’ or ‘nah’ sound when your baby is crying. If her cry starts with an ‘n’ sound, it means she is hungry. So, now that you know how she would cry when she is hungry, you can easily pacify her the next time you hear the ‘n’ sound.

3. Discomfort

When your baby is uncomfortable, his cry will be whiny and breathy. It will also be repetitive and continue till you find and fix the source of his discomfort. Maybe he needs a diaper change or is lying in an uncomfortable position. Identify what is making him uncomfortable and set things right.

5. Fear

 Cries of fear start with a confused whimper and become a high-pitched wail. Being picked up by someone unfamiliar is the usual reason for an infant feeling scared. Some babies are more easily startled than others, but all of them can be easily consoled by rocking them gently.

6. Tiredness

 A sharp wail with an agape mouth and eye-rubbing are dead give-aways that your little one is tired or sleepy. This type of cry is most likely to be heard during the afternoons or nights. The best thing to do is to let her settle down in the crib and fall asleep. You can also try swaddling, singing lullabies or rhythmic movements.

7. Indigestion

 If your baby wants to burp or pass gas, he will give a low and deep cry. Due to abdominal contraction, it will sound like ‘Ehhh...’. As long as the gas remains trapped, he won’t stop crying. Try massaging his abdomen and making him do pedalling movements to relieve him.

8. Nightmares

If your baby wakes up at night with loud shrieks and cries inconsolably, it means that she is having night terrors. Though her cry can, sometimes, scare you, it is imperative that you remain calm to soothe her back to sleep.

9. Fussiness

Your baby can get fussy for many reasons such as boredom or over-stimulation. Fussiness could be the most common reason for crying and hence the hardest to pinpoint the reason for. He will begin with mild, intermittent cries that will increase to a bout of wild crying. However, you can easily stop him from crying by distracting him.

Your little one’s crying episodes would no longer seem so mysterious now, do they? Armed with these tips, you can get to the root of the problem and get your baby to stop crying and start smiling!