Why Do Babies Cry: Understanding Types of Baby Cries

An understanding of different types of baby cries can help you learn and cater to the needs of your newborn more effectively. Crying is an infant’s means of communication. Unable to speak, babies cry when they need the help or attention of parents or caretakers. The tone and tempo of a baby’s cries also vary depending on what the little one wants to convey.

Baby cries for feeding

Why do babies cry? It is an infant’s way to communicate. Unlike an adult, a baby cannot utter words or is capable of expressing exactly what she wants. In crying, she finds a good way of telling about her discomforts. The baby cries or screams when she feels pinching hunger, gets scared, suffers from pain, requires a nappy change, needs a cuddle, or wants to sleep.

A baby tends to cry differently depending on what she needs. Unable to interpret cries of their babies, most new parents feel embittered and dejected. Psychological distress invades family life as they continue to view crying with anxiety and apprehension.

Here is a detailed guideline for new mothers and fathers on the most common types of baby cries and what these actually mean.

Hungry Baby Cries for Feed

A baby’s cry is rhythmic and repetitive when she is hungry. The crying turns intense in a few minutes as she wants quick breastfeeding. You may look for other related hunger cues, such as the baby sucking own fingers or looking for mother’s breast.

Whenever you hear this type of baby cries, respond as quickly as possible. If there is any delay, the baby becomes terribly upset. Crying may become prolonged and more intense if a hungry baby gulps air or traps gas.

Pain Makes Babies Cry Loudly

If your baby starts crying suddenly and relentlessly, she may be in pain. The ear-piercing cries continue for a few seconds before a long pause sets in, as the infant takes the breath. The baby starts crying again with a high-pitched shriek. An element of panic is also discernible when a baby cries in response to something painful.

Pick the baby up and cuddle her while trying to find out the cause of pain. She may be inconsolable for a few minutes due to pain. However, with comfort and motherly pacification, the baby stops or slows down the crying gradually.

Tired Baby Cries Seeking To Sleep

A slow, whiny cry indicates the baby is tired and wants to sleep. It soon becomes continuous and gradually builds in intensity and tone. The baby may also rub her eyes or yawn.

ALSO READ:  Infant Feeding Tips for Mothers

New parents often find it difficult to differentiate between baby cries arising out of hunger and tiredness. Physical symptoms help them decipher the exact need of the child.

Don’t allow the baby to become exhausted, as you may find her difficult to calm down. Try to soothe her and put her to sleep.

Stressed Out Baby Crying for Solace

A baby cries when she is stressed out. She makes a fussy, whiny cry to communicate her for a less-stimulating ambiance than the existing one. The baby starts crying turning her head away from an object or person.

To calm down a stressed-out baby, keep her away from intense noises. Make sure she is not too much irritated.

Scared Baby Cries Until Soothed

The little ones get scared easily and start crying in panic. A frightened baby cries in an outrageous manner, making high-pitched, screeching noise. The face seems to be replete with sudden surprise or alarm.

Try to divert your baby’s attention to playful things. Keep her away from objects she is fearful of. Hold her in your arms until she calms down.

Colicky Baby Crying

Sudden, inconsolable, and persistent crying hint at colic in a baby. Your child may cry at least 3 hours every day for more than 3 days a week continuously for more than 3 weeks. The time between second and eighth weeks could be the most harrowing experience for parents of a colicky baby. Colic continues to trouble until your child turns a four-month-old.

The baby cries intensely in a rhythmic pattern in the afternoon and evening hours. Often she makes strange body movements accompanying the crying. Change positions of the baby to comfort her. Blow raspberries on her tummy or massage the back to relieve her from gas in the intestine.

Baby Cries Seeking Love, Cuddling

Babies often cry seeking emotional and physical bonding with their parents. They look at the loved ones making a softer, short cry and expecting to be picked up. Unless addressed, the crying turns intense and repetitive.

Just pick up the baby and cuddle her. Keep the little one in close proximity to your body.

A Bored Baby Too Cries

A baby feels the lack of attention toward her and cries to convey that she needs a change. The baby cries softly seeking to play or interact. If ignored, she starts crying indignantly. The short bursts of cry gradually become longer and intense.

ALSO READ:  11 Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers

Pick up the baby, play with her. The baby stops crying immediately when you cuddle her. Talk to her or play with her for a few minutes.

Sick Baby Cries As Pain Hurts

Fever, constipation, and skin rashes often cause a baby to cry intermittently and in a low-pitched voice. The crying is softer compared to the baby’s response to pain and fatigue. You may see the lack of energy in the baby when she is sick. It is always pertinent to check for symptoms when witnessing such type of baby cries.  Awareness to essentials of newborn care can help safeguard your baby against any health problem.

Secret Codes of Newborn Baby Cries 

  • When the baby makes the “neh” sound, it indicates she is hungry.
  • When the baby makes the “owh” sound, she wants to sleep.
  • When the baby makes the “heh” sound, she is in discomfort.
  • When the baby makes the “eair” sound, she has gas in her abdomen.
  • When the baby makes the “eh or ehhhhh ” sound, you need to burp her.

Unrelated Baby Crying

Often babies cry in the evening without any need. They may cry continuously anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes without any discernible need. It is like a natural process of the body to set things right. These crying sessions can help babies recover from the day-long stress and get a good sleep. You can pick up and cuddle your baby to stop her from crying for long.

Ravneet Kaur
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Ravneet Kaur

Ravneet is a proficient author on mindful parenting, child psychology, and pregnancy-related issues. Her practical writing focuses on helping parents develop a compassionate understanding of child behavior and build strong family bonds. She also researches and writes on women’s health, pregnancy problems, relationship issues, teens, and child development and education.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com
Ravneet Kaur
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