Crying is indeed the communication of an infant, but what does it all mean?
Don’t despair, many parents can’t hear cry variations, like you couldn’t hear if the car was not running smoothly when you first started to drive. Over time you can become more experienced. Having said that, some of the most adorable babies show only very minor differentiation in crying because of ‘who they are’ and even the most experienced of clinicians do a bit of guess work.
Here’s a bit of a guide that might help you watch and grow with understanding as you and your baby get to know each other more.
- When a baby is tired, there is more an escalation to a cry rather than just a bit of a grizzle; so be on the lookout for ’tired signs’ as well. Have a think about how long the baby has been awake, could they possibly be tired?
- Pain is a very intense cry/scream; it often starts quite suddenly and is instantly intense, and often continues even if you are comforting the baby. Often the intensity gradually reduces, but the intense crying may just start again quite quickly.
- Hunger is more rhythmical and usually associated with that “bending into the body” looking for food behaviour. The baby sucking at everything that may be remotely near the mouth may be an indicator; however a baby in pain will show furious sucking behaviours as they try to comfort themselves. Yes confusing, so think about if the baby is feeding lots, gaining plenty of weight and having lots of big wet nappies and … the poos, well fed babies often have large runny, explosive poos. If you suspect your baby has had enough milk, offer a cuddle, a dummy and a lovely song or walk, and see if they settle.
- A sick baby tends to grizzle and it is very difficult to differentiate that from the ‘just cuddle me’ or ‘bored’ cry. If the baby is pale, eyes not bright, maybe not feeding well, or you just don’t know, always consult your health professional and they will be able to help you.
So as easy as it may sound to work out your babies cry’s to some, it is not to others. Do not despair, because when you finally work it out, you and your baby will have a very special means of communication together.