Every cry is not created equal when it comes to newborn wails and whimpers.
For new moms, we wonder… “Is she hungry? I just fed her….” “Is she in pain? Should I call the doctor?” “Not again… If I close my eyes will it stop soon?” Or even… “He won’t stop crying… I must be a bad mom!”
Let’s start by 100 percent squashing any feelings of parental inadequacy. It’s easy to beat yourself up mentally when you can’t seem to decipher your child’s cries. Here are some of the most recognizable and common cries.
The Five Alarm Screech and Hysterical Cry
Eeeee….. We hate these ones don’t we moms? Especially terrible when in a public place or somewhere requiring silence. This cry can mean a number of things, but more than likely, your baby needs a nervous system “reset” and has simply had too much stimulation. Before trying a feed, which can sometimes cause your newborn to“work” for her food by crying, hold your baby near your heart and place your hand on top of their head. You can also try moving physically to a quiet location and talk to your baby lovingly while holding him in the reset position above.
Consistent, Short & Low Pitch Sobbing Cries
This could mean a few things, but it typically communicates hunger. If you notice that the cry is low, and not high-pitched, and that your baby’s cry is increasing in volume and frequency, it could signify that they are ready for a feeding. If you’re a new mom or a parent trying to get in touch with your baby’s schedule, try noting down these cries in a journal. See if you notice a pattern. Then, you can try to be proactive during those recurring times your newborn displays this type of “hunger cry.” By getting in touch with your baby’s routine, you can get ahead of the game and anticipate certain times of the day as feeding times.
“Heh, Heh, Heh” Cry
These are short burst cries, but almost like whining noises more so. They are punctuated with sighs and really, your child just sounds exasperated. They probably are? Now to investigate why… There could be many reasons including gas, experiencing a bowel movement, feeling too hot, being too tightly swaddled, or simply overstimulated. Try gently rubbing in their tummy to help with seemingly digestive issues and hold your baby at a 45 degree angle. This can help move along gas or food they may be having difficulty digesting.
The next things you can try are gently loosening a swaddle, or if you baby is not swaddled, wrap ‘em up. Sometimes just feeling a little bit more snug can make a big difference. Another way to solve this cry is to just switch locations. Your baby may just need to see something new and feel a different space. Go outside if you can or try using an oscillating fan. Any change in comfort level and ambiance can make a big difference when it comes to this type of cry.
The Whisper-y Sigh Cry
Baby a bit bored? Try a change of scenery or a new toy. Or, your child could be extremely tired. Are they rubbing their eyes? Are they fussy and whiny and just don’t know what they want? Try laying them down for a nap (and maybe you can catch one too). Some tools to use for sleeping are: red lights, blackout curtains and sound soothers.
Another idea? Make a schedule. Having a recognizable morning, evening and nap routine can help you manage your adult life, get some sleep, and help your baby’s anxiety and sleep patterns. Still having trouble with sleep? There are several options including newborn sleep coaching and even night nannies you can hire affordably to just get back to zero if you’re been a bit sleep deprived as a parent lately.
The Fussy Cry
It’s frustrating when your baby just doesn’t seem to be content no matter what you try. And, the fussy cry is often the most challenging to figure out. Many times, the trifecta of sleep, diaper change, or hunger is to blame for this one.If you’ve crossed those off the list and still can’t figure it out, your baby may need a sensory reset (again, just place your hand on top of your baby’s head and hold her close to your heart to feel your heartbeat). That should help your baby calm down, but if you need even more, try some more sensory work such as laying your baby in the cool shade in some grass, giving him a bath and playing with water, or some stomach “raspberries.” Some distraction and sensory love could be just the trick for the fussy cry.
Sometimes Moms Cry Too.. It’s Ok.
Well, to sum it up, it’s a freaking mystery sometimes why your newborn is crying. It’s true. Sometimes it’s totally random and unprovoked and you just can’t figure it out. In those cases, know that it is totally okay to leave your baby in a safe spot while you perhaps go have a cry yourself. Hopefully, some of these ideas will help for the next meltdown though. Just remember to try to calm the nervous system, switch up the sensory space you’re in, routine, routine, routine and read up on how to soothe your baby and get some sleep in the first year.
There are so many resources out there, but when it really comes down to it, just trust your maternal instincts and you’re on your way. Our book, Creating Sweet Dreams is a really amazing guidebook to use for the first year. Also, make sure to take care of yourself daily so when the cries come… you’re taken care of emotionally where you can handle it.
You got this!
Want to do something now? Join our online support group on Facebook and connect with owner, baby sleep expert and author Rachelle Gershkovich and get support from other moms. You can also get the guidebook on Amazon or keep in touch on our many local events. Thanks for reading!
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