Deciphering Baby’s Crying Sounds

If you are looking to unearth the secret code behind different baby crying sounds, then this post should come in handy!

1 – Sobbing

There are numerous mothers out there who are always amazed and startled whenever they come across other mommies telling them they are able to tell what their babies want simply by listening to the sounds of their cries. They feel that their baby’s cries sound the same to them every time.

In researches conducted by experts regarding baby crying sounds, it was found out that even pediatric nurses were not able to determine the reason for a baby’s cry from the way it sounded. Harvey Karp, MD, a pediatrician in Los Angeles and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block says that it is nothing but a fallacy that one can find out what a baby wants simply by listening to baby crying sounds. He believes that babies can be resembled to smoke alarms. You cannot really tell if a small toast has been burnt or the entire building is on fire.

2 – Tears are not an aberration

You will be surprised to learn that a growing number of experts view crying as a state of being for a newborn baby such as sleeping or quiet alert. Marc Weissbluth, MD, a famous pediatrician in Chicago and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, opines that crying is something that comes normal to babies. He has even come up with a nursery rhyme that elaborates this infant behavior: “Babies cry like birds fly: It’s part of being the creature we are!”

As a new parent who is all confused and looking out for answers, you should be on the lookout for different pointers in the contextual scenario to figure out if there is a reason behind the baby crying sounds. Sometimes, you will be able to tell the reason with ease. On other occasions, you will get frustrated and might even start crying yourself. If your infant ate a couple of hours ago, it is highly probable that he or she is feeling hungry. And if they have been awake for more than an hour and a half, there is a high likelihood that he is feeling tired and yearning to get some sleep.

3 – Cautions

Experts are of the view that there are some crying scenarios which are absolutely unappeasable. According to Ron Barr, PhD, a crying expert and professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia, even if a parent has done everything to calm a baby down, it should not be assumed that all that crying can be stopped. He further goes onto state that there is some crying that cannot be soothe no matter what. However, do not worry since your baby is fine and you are doing a good job as a parent. Keep in mind that while there will be plenty of advice and suggestions available out there on the internet as well as in your surroundings on how to soothe your crying baby, each and every baby is a complete person and unique in his nature and habits. Try out new things to figure out what really works in your case and the reason behind different baby crying sounds.

4 – Is hunger the reason?

When a baby is hungry, the baby crying sounds will be like quite desperate and unyielding and high pitched to boot.

Some of the other cues might include the time duration between meals. For instance, the baby was fed an hour and a half ago or had a bottle a couple of hours earlier. In such a case, an infant generally wiggles and gets rather lunatic.

When you are not sure why your baby is crying, assume that he is hungry and offer him your own milk or the bottle. However, Deana Anderson-Tennant, a postpartum doula in Portland, Oregon and a specialist in families with multiples believes that if the baby is fed with a bottle, he might not be ready for more formula milk. If the infant has not had at least a couple of hours to digest the formula milk, giving him more may cause him to be fussy and uncomfortable.

For babies who are breastfed, if their mother is holding them but not feeding them, can turn out to be the reason for crying. Your infant can smell your milk. In such a case, ask your partner to make a move and hold the baby for a while as you take some much needed rest!

5 – Is tiredness the reason?

In such a case, the baby crying sounds are like heavy breathing and helpless. This sort of cry can be intermittent and can be pacified easily in contrast to the others.

Some of the pointers include the baby’s closed eyes but you find out that he is restless or his eyes may be open, glassy, reddened and puffed up. Sometimes, babies tend to rub their eyes when they are tired.

Swaddle your baby to ensure that he sleeps well at night. Deana Anderson-Tennant generally works nights for families with multiples, says that almost ninety percent of the infants are pacified by swaddling. She suggests waffle-weave blankets to all her clients. Stacy Whitman, a writer in Haily, Idaho with a 9 months old son also corroborates with this observation by Deana Anderson-Tennant. She says that swaddling typically works out more often than not for her baby. She further adds that you should swaddle the baby nice and tight. Just put the pacifier into the baby’s mouth so that he does not struggle against the swaddle.

Deana Anderson-Tennant also argues that if you are sure that your baby is tired and yet he seems restless while you are holding him, simply put him down. She further says that an extra tired baby typically wants to be put down and allowed to wander into the dreamland.

6 – Boredom or overstimulation

In such a case, the baby crying sounds are not as high pitched as some of the other cries and are generally a staccato. A bored infant may start laughing while an overstimulated one can begin to squeak.

An overstimulated infant might turn his head away from you or other sources of stimulation or he may bat at an object furiously.

Marc Weissbluth suggests that parents of a bored baby should delay their response towards him for a few minutes or so. He says that it is not appropriate to spoil your infant in the first few weeks of his life by giving him the unneeded attention. So that does not mean that you should respond to each and every sound your baby makes. He believes that the delay gives an opportunity to the infant to become engaged with some other thing such as the pattern on his crib bumpers or his hands in front of his face. This would exterminate the need for attention. Keep in mind that this behavior is not tantamount to being ruthless towards your baby. As a matter of fact, it is part of training your baby to get pacified all by himself.

White noise can be a pretty cool solution to soothe an overstimulated infant. You can try out the vacuum cleaner, a noise machine or a whirring fan. There are mommies out there who run warm water over the hands and feet of their babies to calm them down.

7 – Annoyance or discomfort

Baby crying sounds in such a situation are generally forced and whiny and are patterned with short repetitions such as Uh-Uh, Uh-Uh! Babies tend to bat their hands or crumple up their faces while displaying annoyance or discomfort.

You have to search out for the reasons. Infants tend to start weeping while their parents are on a stroll. The hat sometimes covers their eyes up and once you remove it, the crying stops. Parents have found out that singing comes to their rescue in a number of situations that would seem rather impossible to tackle with. Once you discover the song that has the ability to appease an annoyed baby, stick to it and you will reap the rich dividends.

Another rather common reason of babies crying out loud is when they feel cold even indoors. The ideal solution in this regard is to dress your infant up in layers. If his head or face does not feel warm, you can put a hat on them. Wet or poopy diaper does not cause crying unless your baby is suffering from extreme diaper rashes.

8 – Pain

Babies tend to make baby crying sounds that resemble piercing and grating. When a baby is suffering from gas, he tends to bring his knees to his chest or makes grunting sounds.

A binky can be helpful in such scenarios since the sucking reflex helps calms a baby down. Experts are strong believers in binkies proving to be instrumental in assisting infants pass gas through their system however, bottle fed infants take a fancy to them. If you are going to have your baby vaccinated or have his heel pricked, then breastfeeding him prior to the administration of vaccination or giving him the binky can be really helpful.

If you are worried that your baby’s crying represents something serious, then the best option is to go with your instincts. Nobody other than your own self knows your kid better.

9 – Colic

Colic is a condition in which an infant continues to cry for more than three hours or so, for three or more nights of the week, during the first three months after birth. One in every five babies tends to suffer from colic and their families suffer with them. Expert pediatricians believe that colic can really disturb parents who do not have the experience of dealing with such infants.

Gas, as is envisaged by a number of parents, is not the reason for colic. Rather its main cause is not known as yet. Dr. Karp, a pediatrician based in Los Angeles, describes an effective calming approach in his book titled The Happiest Baby on the Block which is referred to as 5 S’s:

  • Swaddle: Cross your infant’s arms over his chest, inside the wrap. Snug him tight as it gives the baby a sense of security.
  • Side or stomach: A number of babies tend to feel discomfort while lying down on their backs. So hold your baby on his side or tummy down.
  • Shushing: Shushing gives the baby an impression as if he were in the womb. Dr. Karp recommends to shush powerfully in your infant’s ears. As powerfully as he is crying.
  • Swinging: With the baby swaddled, swing him either in your arms or in a functional swing.
  • Sucking: Once the baby has been appeased, offer him your breast or binky to suck.

This approach is being endorsed by a number of hospitals and can also be found on a DVD.

10 – Parent’s tears

As every parent will be familiar, a baby’s crying sounds tend to give rise to a physical reaction in them. For instance, the blood pressure or the pulse rate is increased in some. If your baby remains fussy for a longer interval of time, it can cause you to lose your own temper.

When you are not able to appease your infant, place her in a safe location such as his crib and get out of the room. Ron Barr, PhD, a professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia has been instrumental in developing techniques to decrease the incidence of shaken baby syndrome. He believes that even when you remove yourself from the situation and get back after some time, you are still doing a great job as a parent.

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