It’s a hard sound to listen to, the sound of a baby crying. Not only because it can be absolutely unbelievable such a small body can make so much noise, but also because I feel that the baby is frustrated and trying to communicate with a whole bunch of big people who don’t speak their language. Some may think all the cries sound the same, but that’s just not true.
- Rhythmic and repetitive
This is a good sign that the baby is hungry. They will usually combine this cry with other movements than indicate hunger, like trying to find the breast or bottle; they also might stick their fingers or other objects in their mouths.
- Intense screaming in early evening
These cries usually indicate that baby is colicky. Colic is usually associated with gas, and can occur after feeding. It’s usually persistent, and the baby may try to flip onto his or her stomach and fidget, in an effort to alleviate the pain. If this is a constant issue, checking out a website like tummycalm.com can offer ways to relieve the baby’s pain.
- Fussy, high-pitched, and whiny
This probably indicates baby is stressed out to the max. Remember, babies process sensory input differently than adults, and they have no way to rationalize what’s going on around them. They may also turn away from whatever is stimulating them while they’re crying.
- Sudden cries that aren’t normal
When adults stub their toe, they usually let out a grunt, mixed with some sort of obscenity. These cries are the baby version. When babies are in pain, they yell just like a regular person. They might also show sensitivity to the area and keep it close to their body.
- Soft whimpers
A lot of people don’t grow out of this – the “I don’t feel good” whimper. I know I haven’t. When I’m not feeling my best, I curl up in the bed and occasionally whimper. Babies do the same thing – they just aren’t their best and they try to let their parents know it.
- Starts slowly and builds up
This usually indicates that the little one is tired. Think of it like a yawn – the mouth starts to open just a little, and then, it is open wide and the lungs are filling with air, trying to get oxygen to the brain. The baby probably just needs a nap, and might also alert his or her parents by eye-rubbing and, well, yawning.
- Sudden, loud screams while baby is sleeping
This kind of cry, while rare, could indicate nightmares or night terrors. Even though baby’s eyes might be open when the parents run in, but the baby might not recognize them. It usually happens within an hour of the baby falling asleep, and it can last for 10 minutes to 45 minutes.
- Adult tears
As much as parents respond to their baby’s crying, babies respond to their parents emotions as well. When parents are stressed out, lose their temper, or begin crying themselves, it can trigger a negative response in the baby that can prolong the crying. Try to be patient, and if the baby’s crying is too much, take a second and regroup.
- Learn pre-cry signals
While it may seem like babies go from zero to screaming in no time at all, the wee ones usually give some signs that they’re gearing up to have a meltdown. It can be anything from anxious facial expressions to being overly fidgety, but parents should make a conscious effort to watch these behaviors and hopefully prevent a full-blown crying episode.
- And if all else fails…
There’s an app for that. I’m not kidding. A quick search for “cry translator” pulls up several apps (some free, some paid) that claim to be able to help the parents understand the different types of cries that babies have. Not sure how accurate it is, but it’s sure worth a shot.