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Read some of our great articles on a range of parenting topics from sleeping to teething. We publish new blog posts regularly and feature a number of baby sleep experts and their top tips

Deciphering Your Baby’s Cries

Deciphering Your Baby’s Cries

One's thing for sure. Babies cry. A lot. Some more than others, granted, but they all do it. It's a baby's only way of communicating- how else can she let you know she is hungry, tired, wet or in pain? The trouble is that no baby comes with a manual that helps you to understand these cries. Recently, news of an app that can decipher your baby's cries was doing the rounds on Facebook, and I thought it was really interesting. The nalyser promises to translate your baby's cries in less than ten seconds, and offers you various solutions to fixing whatever is wrong. It's had a mixed response, to say the least. But whatever camp you're in, is there really any alternative for natural parenting instincts? It's something we all have to learn when a new baby comes along. After all, all babies are unique and it takes time to get to know them. So, can we really give you a guide on deciphering your baby's cries?

Why babies cry

As already mentioned, baby's cry because that's their main way of communicating a need. If babies did not cry, they would have been wiped out centuries ago, because they would not have been tended to as they need. Babies are completely vulnerable, and reliant on us to take care of them, so being able to alert us to a need is necessary for survival. But to break it down...

  • The nappy needs changing
  • They're tired
  • They're hungry
  • They're in pain

These are the main reasons why babies cry. Some will cry because they're annoyed with you. Some will cry because that clown on TV scared them. Some will cry for seemingly no reason. But, on most occasions, you can usually put it down to one of the above reasons. So how to decipher between them? If an app can do it, so can we!

Process of elimination

Until you get to know your baby, it might be a process of elimination. Newborns have very basic needs. So if you've checked the nappy, made sure they've been winded, checked for signs of illness etc, and fed baby you should be onto  a winner. It's like a little checklist. Once you've ruled one thing out, and you can assume its another.

Listening to baby

So many parents will tell you that they can tell what their baby needs just by the tone or the pitch of the cry. Next time your baby cries, give it a go. I bet you can decipher their needs a lot quicker than you thought. A high pitched screaming cry is likely to mean your baby is in pain, or frightened by something. A moaning, whiny cry is likely to mean it's bedtime. A frantic, almost impatient cry often means baby is hungry and wants dinner NOW! Once you start to listen, its not so difficult to translate the cries yourself.

The tired baby cry

When babies are tired, they cry. And there is nothing worse than a baby that cries in the middle of the night. Perhaps they wanted something, such as a feed, and you gave it to them. But still, they cry. What's the deal here then? Again, its important to listen to your baby. Sometimes they don't need you at all.

  • The gentle moany cry. Some babies make this noise to help them fall to sleep. This cry doesn't mean that you need to intervene; you can keep a watch from a safe distance, after making sure that your baby is fed and warm, etc. Mostly babies that cry this cry will fall asleep quite quickly
  • The intermittent cry. These little tinkers! Some babies like to cry out, to wake you up and get your attention, and then they go quiet again. So just as you relax, sure that baby is still  asleep after all, they cry out again. Sometimes babies cry in their sleep, and sometimes they are just building up to something bigger.
  • The Loud, quiet cry. A cry that starts loud but goes quiet again is often a baby trying to fall back to sleep. If you can, watch your baby and you may find that she falls asleep again without your help.
  • The loud I NEED YOU cry. Ok, so this needs no interpretation at all. And you know what to do.

Would you use an app to help decipher your baby's cries?



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