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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 Harmer

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

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

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Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

In today’s chaotic world, having family time isn’t always easy. It can get pretty hard to coordinate schedules, especially if the family is large. Life demands that we work, attend school, nurture friendships, hobbies, etc. All of those things are extremely time-consuming and important—but so is spending time with your family.

Why is family time so important? Because we all need love and support, and a good, strong family can provide that regularly. For children, spending time with their family helps shape them into good, responsible adults, improve their mental health, and develop strong core values.

There are many positive effects of spending time with your family. My family and I, for instance (and this includes grandchildren as well), meet every Tuesday night for dinner and games. My older son and I take turns cooking. This gives all of us a chance to try some new recipes. After dinner, we play games. And without fail, they inspire competitiveness and laughter. As family night has evolved, the grandkids have invited their friends over as well, creating the need for more chairs but also expanding our circle of fun.

Aside from the obvious fun and games, there are other reasons why spending time with your family is paramount. In this article, I will provide you with multiple reasons why spending time with your family regularly is a win-win. And then, I will lay out some ways on how to do it.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important

Here are six reasons why it’s important to spend time with your family.

1. Provides the Opportunity to Bond

When you spend time together as a family—talking about your day, your highs, your lows—it fosters communication. As parents, it gives you the chance to listen to your children, to hear them out, to learn about what’s going on in their world. It also provides you with the opportunity to use life situations as teaching moments.

Before our Tuesday night dinner/game nights, my family used to see each other pretty regularly but not consistently, especially the grandkids. Our family night changed all that. Now, it’s guaranteed that the grandchildren, along with some of their friends, will be there. Not only do I get to find out what’s been happening in their lives, but they also get to know us better. It’s creating memories they can treasure forever, as well as modeling the Get-Together tradition for when they eventually have families of their own.

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“Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families.”[1]

2. Teaches the Value of Family

Taking the time to be with your family lets your children know they are valued—that spending time together is a priority. I know that in today’s world, both parents are busy as both usually working. What better way to let your children know they are loved than by carving out time each week to spend with them?

According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., “words like honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage are core to centuries of religious, philosophical, and family beliefs. Use them and others to express and reinforce your family values. Teach children the behaviors that flow from these principles. Use quotes to ignite meaningful dinner conversations and encourage kids to talk about these values.”[2]

3. Enhances Mental Well-Being

Spending that quality time together gives your children a safe platform in which to express themselves, ask questions about things that are bothering them, or talk about their day and things they’ve learned. I know that my 9-year old granddaughter can’t wait until it’s her turn to talk about her day. She usually goes on and on and has to be stopped to give everyone else a chance to talk about their goings-on.

“Research shows the quality of family relationships is more important than their size or composition. Whoever the family is made up of, they can build strong, positive relationships that promote wellbeing and support children and young people’s mental health.”[3]

For children, having the opportunity to seek advice from parents they trust—as well as being able to have a sounding board and help with problem-solving—is priceless. In addition, being able to voice their opinions and be heard—and to feel like what they have to say matters—is an esteem-builder. All of these can have a very impactful positive effect on their well-being.

4. Helps the Child Feel Loved

How do you think a child feels knowing their parents want to spend time with them—talking, sharing experiences, playing games, listening to them? It will make them feel as though they are important, and a child that feels important is happier and more apt to thrive. Setting aside chores or work to spend time with your children demonstrates that they’re essential—that they matter. What a gift to give your child!

“If a child has your undivided attention, it signals that they are loved and important to you. This can be further nurtured by experiencing joyful activities together, as it demonstrates that you want to spend time with your children over and above all of the daily demands.”[4]

5. Creates a Safe Environment

If you regularly spend time with your children, you are also creating an atmosphere of trust. The more trust they have, the more likely they are to share with you what’s going on in their world. As they get older, you’re going to want to know. Negative influences can show up at any time, but if you’ve always been there for your child, they are more apt to come to you and ask for your advice.

Spending time together generates familiarity and feelings of being supported. When a child feels safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to open up. This is one way to get to know your child and know what’s on their minds. Are they okay? Do they need your guidance? If so, how?

6. Reduces Stress

This is significant. We all suffer from stress at one point or another in our lives. Spending time with family helps alleviate that stress. It’s an opportunity to talk things out, get feedback, and maybe brainstorm for a solution to the problem that is causing the stress.

According to Brandy Drzymkowski, “During the holidays, your closest five people probably shifts to family and friends. You may even get to see loved ones who live far away. Good news! This can actually help lower your stress levels. Studies show ‘face-to-face interaction…counteracts the body’s defensive ‘fight-or-flight’ response.’ In other words, quality time spent with loved ones is nature’s stress reliever.”[5]

So, now that you know some of the benefits, what are some ideas for making family time happen?

How to Make Family Time Happen

Here are four things you can do to make family time happen and spend more time with them.

1. Family Dinners

This, as I said above, is a wonderful way to spend time together. While you’re having dinner, you have the chance to discuss things that are going on in your lives—the ups, the downs, and everywhere in between. It’s like having a buffer against life’s challenges.

Aside from that, eating dinner together has many additional benefits. Studies have shown that for kids who eat regularly with their families, there is less risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression.[6]

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“Our belief in the ‘magic’ of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals.” It further states, “We recommend combining food, fun and conversation at mealtimes because those three ingredients are the recipe for a warm, positive family dinner—the type of environment that makes these scientifically proven benefits possible.”[7]

According to Parenting NI, “children and adolescents who spend more time with their parents are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. According to studies done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse via Arizona State University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.”[8]

As you can see, there are multiple benefits to spending time with each other routinely. You can’t go wrong with this family activity.

2.  Regular Movie Nights

This is another fun event, although, from personal experience, I have to caution that choosing a movie that everyone wants to see is not easy. So, give yourselves plenty of time so you don’t spend two hours searching for a movie, and then end up watching no movie at all because the night is practically over. Try and choose a movie before the day, if possible.

Afterward, open it up for discussion. Ask questions pertinent to the movie. What do you think of ABC? Should they have done that? Would you have done something differently? There are so many questions you can ask to spark a conversation and keep the night going.

3. Game Night

This is another occasion for great fun. If you have a competitive spirit, it makes it even more fun. There are numerous games out there—Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Charades, to name a few—that can create fun havoc. All I can say is, on game nights, don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay if you lose the game. The fun is in being together, laughing, debating, and having a good time.

In addition, “Playing board games is great for children for many reasons besides the obvious; it’s fun to play games! Age appropriate games can help children to think strategically, solve problems creatively, work on pattern recognition and build simple math skills. They also help children develop social skills such as following rules, taking turns, and graceful winning or losing. Additionally, a family game night provides an opportunity for children to bond with siblings, parents and family members as well as peers. It can promote tradition building and establish a fun routine.”[9]

So, go find your family a game and start having fun!

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4. Sharing a Hobby

If you and one of your kids like to do the same things, do it more often. For example, my oldest son and his teenage son go on long bike rides together on the weekends. Not only do they get to exercise, but they also get to talk and look at beautiful sceneries. They’ve also incorporated cooking into their routine. They plan the meal, shop, and prepare—activities that bring them closer together.

Sharing a hobby is a great way to bring family members together. It bonds people in amazing ways. According to Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, “One of the easiest and most important ways to build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them doing something not only that they enjoy but something that you also enjoy. There is a special magic that happens between a parent and a child when they share a mutually beloved activity. It sends the message to the child that their parents are having fun, true, honest, real fun, with them.”[10]

Final Thoughts

Spending time with the family is an investment. It is an investment in the happiness, well-being, and security of that system. It can also serve as a way to break out of the daily rut and the constant worldly demands, while at the same time, building a strong family unit.

Even though it isn’t always easy to find the time, finding the time is key to staying close and to providing and receiving love and support. There is no greater gift than the gift of time. That’s what we all seem to be missing nowadays. So, in giving that gift consistently, everyone feels loved and appreciated.

The family that takes the time to interact regularly is typically happy. They know they are part of a tribe, and that’s essential in today’s chaotic world. To know that there are people whom you can count on—people who will have your back in times of need—is invaluable.

Now, go and plan something plan with your family, if you haven’t already.

Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Pittsburgh Parent: Spending Time Together—Benefits of Family Time
[2] Roots of Action: Integrity: How Families Teach and Live Their Values
[3] Beyond Blue: Healthy Families
[4] Esperance Anglican Community School: The importance of family time
[5] Brandy Drzymkowski: Spending Time With Loved Ones Reduces Stress
[6] Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard EdCast: The Benefit of Family Mealtime
[7] The Family Dinner Project: BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS
[8] Parenting NI: The Importance of Spending Time Together
[9] WNY Children: Family Game Night- The Benefits of Game Play
[10] Child Therapy Boston: The Benefits of Sharing a Hobby With Your Child

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