Almost every culture around the world agrees – when a baby cries, it’s his or her way of communicating with you that they need your attention or care.
During the first three months is when you will hear your baby cry the most. While it’s impossible to predict how long your child specifically will cry, it’s important for you to realize that just because your baby has been crying for an hour doesn’t mean he or she is sick. Babies are wonderful at creating tears, and making some of the worst ‘howling’ sounds you’ll ever hear.
Many new mothers think they have to be very quiet while their new baby sleeps. They will turn off the radio or television, make sure they don’t vacuum or do any other chore that might make noise, or do anything at all that may wake the baby. The truth of the matter is, your baby needs to get accustomed to hearing noises and be able to sleep while other things around him are happening. Keep doing what needs to be done; your baby will learn to block out the noises when it’s time to sleep.
When your baby cries, you can use the following list as a process of elimination to why your precious bundle of joy is communicating with you by crying:
Hunger: This is the most usual reason you will find your baby crying. He’s trying to get your attention so you know his little tummy is empty and needs some nourishment. This will happen more often in the early months. You may very well be able to distinguish this cry from any others in a very short time after bringing your new baby home. Once you begin to feed your little one, you’ll see just how quickly the crying will stop.
Discomfort ~ Diaper Changing: If your baby is wet, or has a dirty diaper he will probably cry because it is uncomfortable for him. This is usually a very simple thing to verify, and quick to make better as well. Once your little one is dry and clean again, he or she will probably have already stopped crying.
Fatigue: If your baby hasn’t yet developed a regular sleeping pattern, he may start to cry simply because he is tired. You may decide to hold and rock him to sleep, or put him in his crib so he can get the rest he needs.
Discomfort ~ Pain or Illness: When your baby is sick, or is in some sort of pain you will notice they will cry, and quite differently than usual. If they are in pain (for example, an ear ache), you will probably hear screams like you have never heard anywhere else. The same thing will happen if your baby is just not feeling well, except you’ll be able to tell the difference in this cry too. This is especially true if your baby has congested sinuses or trouble breathing comfortably. It’s a good idea to consider a trip to your pediatrician in this case.
Stimulation: There will come a time when sleeping and eating won’t be enough for your baby. It becomes time for some contact, playing and stimulation between the two of you. Pick the baby up and spend some time with “ooo” and “ahhhhs” to her, and she will be much more happy. Or lie down on the floor with your baby, and start playing with rattles, floor toys or just talking to him. The stimulation will not only help ease your baby’s boredom, but will help prepare him for future milestones such as making sounds on his own, and reaching for things.
While the sound of your baby crying can feel like it’s breaking your heart (especially for first-time mothers), by checking these situations before heading to the nearest emergency room, you could save yourself a lot of time and worry.