When you are pregnant and expecting to be a mother soon, you are likely to anticipate many things. You will be looking forward to seeing your baby’s first smile, feeding them, bathing them, even the dress ups!. Crying is, however rarely part of the things that most mothers anticipate from their children. Well, a little whimper from a newborn is sure to excite many mums. 

Nevertheless, crying is a common thing that all children are expected to have. Understanding why they do might help you understand them better and respond effectively. Read on to see more about baby crying and how to handle it. 

Why Do Babies Cry?

The simplest answer would be because they cannot talk. Like everyone else, your baby also has needs and emotions which they would like to express, and since they cannot talk, crying is their only way to let you know. Some of the messages that your baby may be trying to send when they cry are such as: 

  • HungerBabies and especially newborn babies need to breastfeed after every two or three hours. For this reason, they will tend to cry whenever they realize that they are hungry. To avoid this, look for early indicators of hunger such as sucking on the fist or smacking lip to tell that your baby is hungry before they start crying. 
  •  DiscomfortYour baby will express any form of discomfort by crying. For instance, your baby will cry when they need a diaper change, if the room is too hot or cold, and even when a finger is tangled uncomfortably in a swaddle. Therefore, look for such signs of discomfort and rectify them to stop the crying.  
  • Routine crying In case there is a change with the baby’s daily routine, they are likely to start crying. For instance, in case their feeding or sleep time has been disrupted, this may confuse them, making them unhappy. When they do this, try cuddling, swaddling and walking around with them to soothe them. 
  1. Pain and illness – Although many are the times when your baby will cry for minor reasons, there are other times when it gets serious and they will cry due to pain or an illness. Your baby’s cry when they are sick and in pain will be weak and in a moaning way. It will also be sudden and shrill. The cry will also have pauses during which they will appear not to be breathing. When you realize this, check the baby’s temperature and undress him/her and do a full examination. Additionally, contact a pediatrician immediately. 
  1. Shaking the baby – More often than not, most mums assume that shaking the baby could help stop the crying. However, this can cause more harm and should, therefore, be avoided. In case your baby cries for too long, contact a doctor to examine whether everything is okay. 

Monitor your babies cry and you’ll notice a distinction with each one. When you familiarise yourself with them, you’ll be able to understand what each sound means, making your communication less frustrating until they can speak.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: mother, raisingchildren, helpguide, caringforkids

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