22 Answers

How do I know if he is crying for food, sleep or a cuddle?

Posted anonymously, 17th February 2020

Want more real mum questions sent to you?

You'll need to check this email to complete your signup.


Ask your question
  • New baby? The experts claim babies have different cries for different reasons and you will eventually work them out. Sometimes it just doesn’t work and you have to go through the process of elimination. Even then, bub may still cry. Sorry

  • Being a mum of two and i have been working with children for a long time.
    You really need to observe the child look at there causes hungry, soiled nappy, tired, etc each cry is different but trust your gut the most

  • A lot of observation and trial and error initially. There can be some visual signs for hunger ie rooting with the mouth, trying to suck on everything and trying to find the breast…otherwise process of elimination. Sometimes a newborn just needs a cuddle… they have just been expelled from a pretty warm, cosy, safe place into this harsh new world!

  • At first it is a case of elimination. Check if their nappy is dirty, check if they are too hot or cold, try giving a bottle and all else fails, they may be tired or simply need a cuddle. Once you get a bit more used to them, you will be able to tell the difference with certain cries. My daughter was always really difficult to read but I figured it out eventually by going through that list each time.

  • It’s a process of elimination, for me I never knew I just went through a list.

  • Usually you can tell by their cues and body language. Google “baby cues and body language” and that will give you an indication on what to look out for. Don’t be hard on yourself, it takes time to learn with each child as they are different.

  • u need to pay attention and observe

  • With time you will learn your new baby’s different cries. If your baby has just woken up it is likely feed time. it’s best to do a nappy change before feeding, especially as it helps to prevent nappy rash etc. If baby is pulling his / her legs up it is a sign of wind / tummy pain. Most babies need another nappy change before being put in bed again. If you have visitors and your baby doesn’t have normal sleep he /she may need an additional feed before going to bed. I learnt that from experience when minding a 3 month old baby. Plenty of cuddles are usually needed as newborns as they no longer hear your heartbeat, also when teething or not feeling well for some reason. It is not always wise to cuddle them until the go to sleep too often or that will be the only way you will get them to go to sleep. Instead of rubbing their eyes when they are tired , I know one baby who rubbed her ears when she got tired. Some babies hate being swaddled and grizzle and wriggle trying to get their arms free until they are absolutedly exhausted. I know of 3 babies who went to sleep with 10 minutes if their arms weren’t restricted . The first photos if have of them are with their arms loose. In fact one has her arms loose with her hands up level with her head. Naturally her elbows were bent as normal.

  • You will get used to their cries and figure out what they need. My SIL gave me a book Duncans Baby Language which has some good info. It’s very important to pay attention to early cues because if left too long, their cries will change.

  • I just use process of elimination, check the nappy, play with them, if they are still fussing try feeding, if that doesn’t work try a warm bath

  • There ia not simple solution and all kids are diffrent. Just give yourself and your baby time to teach and learn what all those little things mean.

  • I think this can take a little while – pay attention, and you’ll find you’re soon understanding. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell.

  • It’s all trial and error to start with. First I’d check their nappy, next I’d offer them a feed then I’d just cuddle them. Unfortunately you have to just try everything until you get to recognise the cry associated with what they are after. You will get good at this after a while. Just don’t worry if it takes a little time. As long as you are there for them that is the main thing

  • Unfortunately there is no straight answer for this and babies can’t tell us exactly what they want. However, if you baby has just had a feed it may be that they are suffering from wind pain. My two little ones both suffered with this and there is something you can get from the chemist for this called ‘Infant’s Friend’ it’s a herbal based remedy that helps ease wind pain and teething pain.
    You just need to watch for baby’s cues – if he/she is hungry he/she may start sucking a lot on hands or making sucking faces. Sometimes even if you baby has had a recent feed they may still feel hungry again as some babies do cluster feed. If your baby is needing comfort once you pick them up and start comforting them they should settle, if not, then it’s a good indication that they are needing something else.

  • You’ll get used to your babies cries. Try a feed, check their bum and if either don’t work then give them a cuddle. Someone’s if none of that works my bub likes a car trip or walk in the pram to calm get down. But you’ll figure out what works for the two if you, have faith in your instincts, you’ve got this!

Post you answer
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

What is your answer to that question?
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your answer and join MoM:

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating