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Guide Happy parents

infant

number of advice: 20

toddler

number of advice: 18

junior

number of advice: 15

How to interpret a baby’s crying

advice in category: infant

Crying can have various causes, such as hunger, tiredness, overstimulation, a need for new experiences, stomach ache, discomfort, cold, overheating or need for closeness. Often, the parents or carers are unable to read the signs correctly. Sometimes they think that the baby is crying due to emotions or intentions typical for adults. They assume that crying can mean: I’m angry, I’m sad, or I just want to get on your nerves. The parents think that the baby is afraid of darkness or is angry at them. In fact, you shouldn’t take crying personally.
You can learn to identify different types of crying. Just remember that you need to take it slow and stay calm. Before you react, stop and focus on the baby and listen to the crying for a moment to see what it is doing. Based on what you hear and see, analyse the situation and react appropriately.

1. If the baby is hungry, it will lick its lips, put its tongue in a position to suck, open its mouth and turn its head to search for a breast or a bottle with milk. Usually, the baby will also suck on its fingers, but this does not necessarily mean hunger. Initially, crying from hunger is short, then becomes prolonged.

2. A tired newborn begins to fret, yawn, and turn its head. If you hold the baby, its head will fall. It will start to arch and kick. The eyes get red, as does the face. If you do not react, crying turns into wailing. It swells for some time and ends with the baby falling asleep. Often, crying caused by tiredness is confused with hunger or colic crying. But if you identify what preceded crying (playing, babbling, long activity), you can easily diagnose it.

3. Providing too many stimuli to your baby can result in crying similar to when it is tired. The baby will turn its head away from the people who are trying to play with or soothe it. The baby’s eyes are set on one point and its arms and legs move around chaotically.

4. The baby may need new experiences if it frets and whines, or even turns its eyes away from things within its visual range. Its head turns in search of a more attractive stimulus, and the baby fiddles with its hands and legs. In this case it is best to change the baby's surroundings, go for a walk or tell or read it a story.

5. Crying caused by colic, stomach ache or gases is violent and high-pitched. After a series of crying fits your baby may even hold its breath. It is obvious that it is in pain. Its tongue is curled, but without the sucking reflex; its arms and legs move around chaotically. In such a case it is best to lift the baby’s thighs and press them against the abdomen. This should help relax the belly muscles and soothe the pain.

6. The baby may be cold if you hear loud crying and its lower lip trembles. Other symptoms that confirm this kind of crying are: goosebumps, cold feet and hands, hiccups and pale skin that can even become blue. This means that the baby immediately needs to get warm, so use a blanket and raise the room temperature.

7. A wet diaper can also be a reason for crying similar to loud crying due to cold. The baby writhes and lifts its bottom, signalling cold and discomfort caused by a wet diaper.

8. If the baby is too hot, it will fret and breathe heavily, and if you don’t react, this may turn into crying. The baby's skin becomes moist, especially on the nape of the neck, and its face becomes flushed.

9. The baby may cry due to overeating after feeding. The crying is not loud or bothersome but you should pay attention to know when to finish feeding.

10. Your baby simply needs to be close to you. First, you will hear gentle whining which swells. The baby will turn its head to search for mummy and follow her with its eyes. If the crying stops as soon as you take the baby in your hands and hug it, you will know that this was the reason. Remember, however, that each baby is different and may signal its needs in different ways. But reading the baby’s language is not impossible. If you have some knowledge and practice, soon you will know how to react without panicking whenever the baby feels discomfort for some reason.

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