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Cry Decoder: Why Exactly Is Your Baby Crying?

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Cry Decoder: Why Exactly Is Your Baby Crying?

Why is your baby crying? This has to be the most frequently asked question amongst new parents. Although I’ve never had to take full-time care of an infant, as the eldest of three I am all too aware of how confusing a babies’ cries can be. It’d be incredible if they could simply tell you what’s wrong or hold up a cue card, but unfortunately that isn’t possible, as far as I’m aware. Thankfully, there is another way you can decipher what exactly your crying baby is trying to tell you: Baby Center’s Cry Decoder.

All you have to do is fill in the Cry Decoder test to gain a little extra perspective on what your baby could be crying over, and to give you an extra helping hand, we’ve collected everything you need to know in one handy guide:

Your Baby Is Hungry

Baby’s Cry is: Repetitive, loud and bordering on frantic.

“Your baby’s hunger cries are repetitive and don’t let up until he gets what he wants – the breast or a bottle. Then they’ll stop completely,” Seattle pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson tells Baby Center. “Parents get to know what this cry sounds like pretty quick.”

Occasionally, a crying baby can become so overwhelmed that when they attempt to nurse or take a bottle they take in air, which can lead to additional crying. Over time, you will be able to recognise your baby’s ‘hungry’ cry early on so they don’t get too irritable.

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Other Clues Your Baby Is Hungry:

  • Smacking lips
  • Rooting
  • Putting their hands up to their mouth

Your Baby Needs To Be Burped

Baby’s Cry: Piercing, intense screams after eating.

This one’s a little easier to decode. After eating, your baby may suffer from tummy pains, which will probably cause them – and you – some fuss. To burp your baby, simply give them small, repeated pats on the back but remember to place a cloth on your shoulder in case there’s spit-up.

If your baby is particularly difficult to burp or has frequent episodes, you may want to try some over-the-counter anti-gas drops. “There isn’t much data to support their use, but there’s no harm in using them as directed,” says Swanson. However, we recommend you check with your doctor beforehand.

Other Clues Your Baby Needs To Be Burped:

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  • Bringing their knees up to their chest

Your Baby Is Overstimulated

Baby’s Cry: Inconsistent, may include laughter.

Everything is a little overwhelming when we first come into the world. Noises, lights, and new people: they’re all enjoyable for a little while, but after a prolonged amount of time your baby may become overstimulated. Alternating between laughter and crying may be your babies’ way of telling you they’re having difficulty processing all these new things, and they’ve had enough for now.

Most babies enjoy being swaddled, however if your babies too old or isn’t keen on the idea taking them to a calm place will allow them to calm down.

Other Clues Your Baby Is Overstimulated:

  • Turning their head away from interesting sights and sounds

Your Baby Is Tired And Needs To Go Back To Sleep

Baby’s Cry: Soft, inconsistent.

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“Some babies have sleepy days,” says Swanson. “They may be growing or just extra tired.” Due to the fact you can’t really prepare for a sleepy cry, many parents don’t expect it. Regardless of when your baby last slept, if their cry is soft and inconsistent they may be in need of a rest.

Other Clues Your Baby Is Tired And Needs To Go Back To Sleep:

  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Crying whilst their eyes close
  • Yawning

Your Baby Doesn’t Feel Well

Baby’s Cry: Different from regular crying, unusual.

Your babies’ cry will probably be very different to their regular cry when they’re ill, so if they don’t sound right or they’re inconsolable it may be time to visit the doctor.

Other Clues Your Baby Doesn’t Feel Well:

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  • Has a fever
  • Isn’t hungry
  • Difficult To Wake
  • Isn’t using the usual amount of diapers
  • Isn’t behaving as he normally would

Your Baby Has Colic

Baby’s Cry: Strong and steady, reoccurs every day and continues for hours.

Colic refers to excessive crying in healthy babies. If your baby is younger than five months old and can cry for extended periods of time, usually around the same time of day, chances are they’re colicky. It isn’t a disease and won’t harm your baby, but it’s difficult. Colic can cause your babies’ stomach to appear enlarged and they extend or pull up their legs to pass gas whilst they cry.

“These cries can be intense for babies as well as parents,” says Swanson. “Remember that when you get tired or frustrated from your baby’s cries, it’s perfectly okay to put your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes to get a break.”

Fortunately, colic isn’t permanent and tends to last around six weeks before improving.

Featured photo credit: Baby Boy Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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