The days of having a newborn go by in a blur. We are exhausted from the long nights of feeding and trying to soothe our little one’s cries. This article will help you know what the meaning of baby crying sounds are.
We are so uncomfortable during the last few weeks of pregnancy (or more for some of us). We are beyond exhausted from labor and delivery with some moms going through many hours or even days of early or false labor.
Then our baby finally arrives, and we are so in love (and almost forget our pregnancy and delivery pains)! There is an overwhelming feeling of love and relief as we hold our little one in our arms!
Now you have a newborn! There are so many amazing and beautiful things about a baby in the first few hours of life. His head smells good (although I find this a little bit weird!), and his skin is amazingly soft! There is so much to love about a newborn baby!
Crying is a Form of Communication:
As the hours and days go on in the newborn’s life, he does a lot of eating and sleeping (and pooping!). But along with that, the newborn begins to find his voice and the crying increases. Moms can become frustrated with the little cries of their newborn because they cannot explain why he is upset.
We teach our toddlers to “use their words,” but that isn’t really a possibility until the child is around two years old. Even older infants to one year olds can communicate with non-verbals and sign language, but newborns can’t speak.
But don’t be fooled, your newborn can communicate! It just takes some time to learn YOUR newborn’s language.
The 3 Main Reasons Babies Cry + How you Can Help:
As a quick caveat, the information in this article is from my personal experience. I am not a trained medical professional, just a stay at home momma! The following ideas are things that I have used for my two children who were pretty normal newborns.
Please communicate with your doctor about the health and behavior of your newborn. It is possible that if my suggestions do not work, your child may have some other health issues such as colic, acid reflux, allergies, or another medical issue.
When was they last time he ate?
Newborn babies spend a lot of time eating! Especially in the first few weeks and up to a couple months, newborn feeding sessions can take up to 45 minutes, and they might eat up to 12 times per day. This is the equivalent of nine hours per day! It is a full time job, and moms don’t get the weekends off!
Don’t worry – the amount of time a baby feeds will decrease significantly after a month or two, but during the newborn stage if the baby is crying and it has been an hour or more since he ate, most likely he is hungry and will be soothed by the breast or bottle.
Did you burp him?
And don’t forget about gently burping your newborn after feeding.
Is he getting enough to eat?
You will hear a lot of the quote “breast is best” if you are researching the way you plan to feed your baby. While I think breastfeeding has many benefits and is a great way to connect with your baby, please don’t feel pressured into breastfeeding, if it isn’t for you.
You can also do both breastfeeding and formula. I had not heard of many moms doing both, but it was the best option for me. My son was breastfed and I tried a lot of things to increase my supply, but I was still unable to produce enough milk, so I supplemented with bottles of formula a couple times per day. I came to this decision when my son would continue to cry immediately after a nursing session.
How did I discover my baby was still hungry?
I went through all the other things that could be causing him to cry but to no avail. Thats when I tried giving him a small bottle of formula, and he gulped it right down. It was obvious that he was satisfied. It is so much better to have a content baby than try to fit in with whatever crowd you may be trying to join.
No matter how you feed your baby, just make sure he is receiving enough milk. Talk with your doctor about how much your baby needs.
Another important thing to check is if the baby is feeling uncomfortable.
- First, look at his diaper. If it is soiled or wet, change it as soon as possible. Consider applying diaper rash cream if necessary. Remember that newborn poop isn’t nearly as smelly, so don’t rely on your own nose to tell you if he has a dirty diaper.
Clothing or Blankets:
- Next, see if the newborn has any issues with his clothing or blankets. Is he too hot or too cold? Sometimes we forget that babies usually need to be kept warmer than us, so you can try adding more layers of clothing or a blanket. But other times, we overcompensate and the baby ends up uncomfortably warm, so you can try removing the blanket or layer of clothes.
- Another way to make a newborn more comfortable is by swaddling. This can be done with a regular receiving blanket.
- When you are still in the hospital with your baby, have a nurse teach you how to use to wrap up your baby nice and tight. If this tight swaddle is difficult for you to replicate (it is for me!), try an adjustable swaddling blanket. They are made of the same material as a receiving blanket but have velcro that can make the swaddle fit any size baby.
- Babies love the feeling of being warm and cozy because it reminds them of being in the womb. Swaddling works really well for most newborns, but you should also investigate when to transition out of the swaddle for safety reasons.
- Lastly, look at your baby’s fingernails and evaluate whether he is scratching himself. Most moms wait to trim fingernails for a few weeks after birth because they are so tiny and usually still quite short. If it is possible that his sharp-edged fingernails are scratching himself, consider adding infant mittens for a few weeks until trimming them is easier.
Lastly, your baby may be crying because he is sleepy. Newborns sleep a lot, perhaps up to 18-20 hours per day in his first few days, although he will wake every 1-2 hours to eat.
As the baby grows, he will develop a sleep schedule, but don’t expect that for several months, and don’t even think about sleeping through the night! Again, your newborn will sleep a lot, but sometimes he doesn’t know how to put himself to sleep and needs your help.
Nursing or Pacifier:
- One thing that a newborn knows how to do, even minutes after birth, is to suck. He needs to have this skill to eat, but it can also serve as a way to soothe him and put him to sleep. This could mean putting the baby on your breast if you are breastfeeding or you can try a pacifier.
- You can try rocking your newborn or moving around. For nine months, your baby lived inside of you where he was used to being moved around a lot. He may be missing that cozy womb where he was rocked whenever you walked.
- You can do this personally, or you can buy some sort of equipment to give you a bit of a break. This article is not going to go into the details, but do your research and find some sort of swing or other gadget that is safe for sleeping newborns.
But what does a baby really want?
If you have determined that your newborn is not hungry, uncomfortable, or tired, there is one more thing that may soothe your little one: someone to love and hold them.
Most of the time, this is our job as moms! There is a special connection between a child and his mother. You have probably experienced a time when you were holding a baby who begins to cry. Even when you try some of these tips, the crying continues. You hand the baby to the mother, and he stops crying immediately! As frustrating as that can be for you, it is a beautiful thing that the baby has a mother who can make him content immediately.
There may be special circumstances in which someone besides the biological mother is caring for the newborn. No matter who the primary person caring for the newborn is, it is important for her to hold the baby often and give him the attention he needs.
Take Care of YOU:
Lastly, we mothers need to make sure to take care of ourselves. We cannot care for our babies if we don’t have a calm attitude. Crying babies can foster frustration, especially when it lasts for hours. Of course we love our baby, but sometimes the anger builds up.
Before you reach a point of exasperation, please take a break from your baby. Give the baby to another trusted adult, if possible. If you are alone, put your baby in their bassinet or crib, and take a five minute break.
It is ok for babies to cry; it is their main form of communication, so don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of crying for the first few months (and even years) of their lives.
I hope you can use some of these tips and tricks to help determine the meaning of your baby’s cries. But above all, love your baby and give him the attention he needs!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. share with your momma friends!!
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