Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! As a new mom, you are likely experiencing a range of emotions and learning to navigate the ups and downs of motherhood. One of the most challenging aspects of caring for a newborn is deciphering their cries. It can be difficult to know what your baby needs, but with a little knowledge and practice, you can become an expert at understanding your little one’s language.
Why do babies cry?
Crying is a natural and essential means of communication for babies. It is their way of expressing their needs, wants, and feelings. According to research, babies cry for many reasons, including hunger, tiredness, discomfort, pain, overstimulation, or simply a need for attention or affection.
Newborns have a limited ability to regulate their emotions and often cry more frequently than older babies. It is not uncommon for a newborn to cry for up to two hours a day. However, crying tends to peak at around six weeks of age and gradually decreases after that.
Recognizing different types of cries
The key to understanding your baby’s cries is to listen carefully and try to identify the different types of cries. According to studies, babies have a range of cries that can vary in pitch, duration, and intensity, depending on their needs. Here are some common types of cries to look out for:
1. Hunger Cry: This cry is usually short, low-pitched, and rhythmic. It may be accompanied by sucking or rooting movements.
2. Discomfort Cry: This cry is often high-pitched, loud, and continuous. It may be a result of a dirty diaper, tight clothing, or a need to burp.
3. Pain cry: This cry is usually sudden and intense and may be accompanied by facial expressions of distress or clenched fists.
4. Sleepy cry: This cry is typically quiet and monotone, with a rhythmic pattern. It may be a sign that your baby is tired and needs to rest.
5. Attention cry: This cry is usually intermittent and may be accompanied by eye contact or cooing. It may be a sign that your baby needs interaction or stimulation.
The Dunstan Baby Language
Another way of understanding your baby’s cries it by learning The Dunstan Baby Language. This theory was developed by Priscilla Dunstan, an Australian mother and trained musician who identified distinct “universal” sounds that infants make before they start using recognizable words. According to Dunstan, these sounds are associated with specific needs or states of discomfort that babies experience.
Each one of the five different types of cries has a specific meaning:
NEH: This sound indicates hunger and is produced as a result of the sucking reflex. It is a short, repetitive sound, similar to the word “neh.” The baby may stick their tongue out or make sucking motions.
EH: The “eh” sound is associated with the need to burp or a feeling of discomfort. It is characterized by a short, staccato cry, as if the baby is trying to push air out fo their chest.
OWH: This cry indicates sleepiness or fatigue and is the result of the yawning reflex. It is a long, drawn-out sound, similar to the word “owh.” The baby may yawn or rub their eyes while making this sound.
HEH: The “heh” cry suggests discomfort (wet diaper, too hot or too cold) or a need for a change in position. It is a loud, more forceful cry, often accompanied by squirming or fidgeting.
EAIRH: This cry is associated with abdominal pain and the need to release gas. It is a combination of the sounds “eh” and “airh” and is often accompanied by a strained facial expression or a tense body posture. It is the sound typically produced by colicky babies.
By being able to identify the exact reason why your baby is crying, you can act effectively upon their actual needs. This will definitely improve your sense of confidence as a new parent and will also promote a better attachment to your baby who will feel like their needs are being met.
Tips for soothing a crying baby
However, when your baby cries, it can be still stressful and overwhelming. Here are some strategies that may help soothe your little one:
1. Swaddling: Wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket can provide a sense of security and comfort.
2. Rocking: Gentle rocking movements can simulate the womb’s soothing sensations and help calm a crying baby.
3. Sucking: Sucking on a pacifier or breastfeeding can provide comfort and reduce crying.
4. White noise: Playing soft, rhythmic sounds like a vacuum cleaner or a heartbeat can help soothe a crying baby.
5. Skin-to-skin contact: Holding your baby close to your chest can provide warmth, comfort, and security.
An insight from mamahood
As a mother myself, I understand how overwhelming and stressful caring for a newborn can be. It is essential to seek support and guidance when you need it. If you are struggling to soothe your crying baby or have any concerns about your baby’s sleep, I am here to support and guide you through your motherhood journey. If you need assistance or have questions, feel free to contact me through live chat or private mail.