Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Deciphering Baby's Cries

One of the hardest parts of being a new mom or dad is determining how to soothe baby when he cries. While you may want to cry yourself, know that after the first few weeks, you will learn to decipher your baby's crying. There are six basic reasons for the crying, so you should start by determining if one of these reasons is what your baby wants.

First, babies cry when they are hungry. There really is no way around that. Since they have only a few basic needs, being a little hungry becomes a crisis situation. Even at a very early age - a few days - you will discover that your baby will seem to root around for food, whether she is bottle or breast-feeding. This cry is one of the first you will learn to recognize.

The second cry is an "I'm cold" cry. While babies can get too warm, they are more likely to get too cold. You should wrap your baby in one layer of clothing more than you are wearing and be sure to wrap him up in a blanket. Your baby's cry here also may mean he wants you to wrap him tighter.

Next is the cry most parents dread. "My dipie's dirty." Some babies will wail about a dirty diaper while others are content and do not get upset about it. Change your baby's diaper with every feeding and then whenever you think she may need it.

The fourth baby cry is letting you know that she does not feel well. This baby cry is one that you will recognize as just not sounding right. Especially in the early weeks, it is likely that something simple is wrong. Remember that baby's skin is sensitive, so an oddly placed sock really could be bothering her. Check out everything you can to make sure that there is not something you can adjust.

Some babies will cry when they get over-stimulated. Although you know now that sleeping like a baby does not mean that your baby will sleep through anything, it often means that he can sleep in a crowded mall. People do not understand this phenomenon, but basically your baby has said, "enough is enough." Everything in life is new to a baby, so she has no way to deal with the sights, sounds, and smells of a busy place than to crash. Some babies will cry when this happens, or when they are being passed between too many people. Be sure to notice this cry, which is more of a "mommy, help me" cry. You should remove your little one from this situation as soon as possible. Go to a quiet room and let your baby get over this bout of baby anxiety.

Babies crave human contact. They want skin-to-skin contact, and they will cry if they do not get enough. Some babies want to be held more than others, but you should not reject this need in your little one. Instead, hold him as long as he wants you to when he is a little guy. If for no other reason, know that one day he will be too big to let you hold him. Enjoy it now!
By Julia Mercer

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