What your baby’s cries mean


We used to think that the only way babies communicate is through crying. But there’s been so much research into how little people relate to other humans that we’ve had to reconsider this.

Babies are designed to have their needs met. This is purely about survival until they get to the age where they’re able to look after themselves. It’s no accident of nature that a baby’s cry is difficult to ignore.

It is true to say that some babies have a particularly intense cry which makes all of us sit up and take notice.

Every baby has their own unique cry. There are those who don’t cry too much at all and others, well, they just seem to make up for them. Some people feel that boys cry in a different way to girls. They claim to be able to tell what gender a baby is just by listening to their cry.

But I can listen to that cry!

As parents, we are all primed to be more sensitive to our own baby’s crying. Of course we notice when another baby is upset, but it doesn’t create the same urgent need to respond as when our own little one is crying. Blame Mother Nature for this – and love, of course.

Many babies don’t seem to have a volume switch on their cries. They only have one cry and it’s consistently loud and distressing. This makes it very difficult to interpret what could be wrong with them.

Parents sometimes need to use all their detective powers to work out why their baby is upset.

I don’t need your help!

Dealing with the public can be a real challenge when out and about with a crying baby. You’ll get all sorts of opinions on what could be wrong and suggestions on what you should do about it.

In the early days when your confidence may be low, and you’re still working out what helps your baby to calm, then this is just an added stress.

Walk away if you can, stay calm and focus on your own emotions. Babies do pick up on their parent’s feelings. Remember, this time will pass.

Try to accept reasonable offers of help and support. The majority of people genuinely want to help, but sometimes they have difficulty getting this across in an appropriate way.  

next – A hunger cry

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