What Does Crying Mean?

Crying the first three months

All babies cry, even healthy babies. Crying is a form of communication and babies cry for a reason. A newborn baby cries for between one hour to three hours per day.

How you hear the difference?

A baby relies on her parents to give them food, comfort, and warmth. From the beginning, it may be difficult to figure out what your baby is telling you.
All cries may sound more all less the same and it is difficult to decided whether your baby is;

  • Hungry.
  • Cold.
  • Tired.
  • Bored.

But after a while, you will be able to tell the difference and to anticipate your baby’s needs. A baby learns other ways of communicating and he will use eye contact and make other interesting noises to grab your attention.

I am hungry

A young baby is most likely to cry because he is hungry. But the first days after birth, babies feed little and breast milk usually comes around the third day.
A newborn babies stomach cannot hold much food.

  • If your baby is crying try to offer some food.
  • A baby may cry because their nappies are full.
  • Sometimes a baby does not like tight clothes or the nappy might be too tight. A quick check may solve the problem.

Never leave a crying a baby

  • Opinions may vary but recent research suggests that a distressed baby that is left alone to cry has high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Leaving a crying baby on a regular basis may cause serious damage – high levels of cortisol are dangerous.
  • Crying itself is a way of communicating, but leaving a crying baby without attention leads to distress and this is dangerous.

Leaving a crying baby for a couple of minutes is not harmful, and you can hear and see when your baby is working himself into a state.
Too hot, too cold, and too lonely

  • A newborn baby does not like the feel of air on their skin.
  • Babies are used to the warm womb and they like to be warm.
  • If you learn to change the nappy quickly your baby will calm down again.
  • Overdressing a baby also leads to protests.
  • It is not always easy to know how much to dress a baby, but their little hands and feet tends to feel slightly cold, so do not rely on them to guide you.
  • Some babies like to be held and cuddled, and they simply want you to hold them.
  • You cannot hold a baby too much during the first few months.

The five different sounds

Five different newborn cries have been identified by Priscilla Dunstan. Please note, that this classification has not undergone rigorous scientific testing.

  • Neh means, “I’m hungry.
  • Owh, means”I’m sleepy”.
  • Heh, “I’m experiencing discomfort.
  • Eairh, “I have lower gas”.
  • Eh, means, “I need to burp”.

With a little bit of practice you may be able to distinguish between the different types of messages. And it is important to listen to you babies crying from the beginning, before they get upset. It is difficult to understand hysterical crying.

Neh and Owh

The cry “Neh” is based on the sucking reflex. The baby puts the tongue to the top of their mouth, and this cry means food. A yawning reflex is tied for the “Owh” cry and this can be a long and pronounced cry. A baby also rubs their eyes and yawn when they are tired.

Hey, Eairh and Eh

The cry “Hey” has a strong “h” sound at the beginning. Change the diaper or the position of your baby and check whether they are too warm or cold.

The deep“Eairh” cry is produced when the baby pulling their legs towards their chest. This cry sounds more like a grunt and it may mean that your baby has a bowel movement, or intestinal gas. A light baby massage of slow circular movement on the tummy may calm the crying down.

The “Eh” sound can be heard when your baby needs to burp. Several different types of cries can sometimes be heard at the same time. Focus on the most dominant sound word.

Try this to comfort a crying baby.

  • All babies are different and you will gradually get to know what works for your baby.
  • Try to comfort your baby the best you can if you cannot identify any specific sound.
  • Listen for the first sound in each word that is usually the easiest to distinguish.
  • Newborn babies like to be wrapped and held. Some might like to rocked or sung to, others might like to be held tight so that they can hear the heartbeat.
  • Gentle soothing music might calm a baby and many like to be gently rocked. Your baby might need to burp.
  •  Hold him up in an upright position and repeat gentle patting on the back.
  • A soft toy may calm your baby.
  • A gentle rubbing on his back or tummy can help to calm him, and sucking on a dummy can help him settle down.
  • Fresh air may sooth a crying baby.

Please remember, some babies cry more than others. Excessive crying can be a sign of your baby feeling pain. Always seek advice is you are concerned and unable to calm him down, or if the crying seem unusual for some reason. Colic is a word that is used to describe excessive crying.

Photo: Baby Lying On Front by wiangya

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