How to Decode Your Baby's Cries

You can hear babies making various sounds, from giggling and grunting to baby chatter. They spend the vast majority of their time enthusiastically exploring their new environment. But they have to tell you about it when something comes up. Sobbing always gets your attention. But if you're familiar with the sounds a baby makes when upset, you'll be able to calm them down more quickly. However, it could be challenging to decode your baby's cries if you are a new parent. But you may rest assured knowing that babies do speak their language, and, oddly enough, that language is universal and the same wherever a baby is born. And the best part is that we're here to help you learn this worldwide baby language. But first, let's find out why babies cry in the first place.

Types of baby's cries and how to decode them

The weeks following the birth of a baby can be difficult as parents try to understand their infants' distress. That's the time when most fathers and mothers experience anxiety and high-stress levels. And even if you have a natural knack for figuring out what's making your baby cry, most new parents could use some help.

But did you know there are ways to decode your baby's cries and that you don't need to be a super nanny to do this? In fact, by the time you finish reading this piece, you'll be an expert on interpreting your baby's cries and calming them and your nerves.

 Woman lying in a big bed with white sheets and playing with her baby

However, before we decipher your baby's cries, we must emphasize the importance of self-care, especially during the first few weeks with a newborn. When you're feeling good physically and emotionally, you're better positioned to bond with your baby, respond appropriately to their cries, and provide an excellent example for your child.

#1 I'm Hungry

The only way for your baby to let you know they're hungry is to cry. We guarantee that you'll even hear this cry in your dreams.

What should you listen for?

When your baby is hungry, you'll hear a very distinctive sound. It combines a low, repeated cry with accompanying cues such as rooting for the breast, tongue sucking, lip smacking, or putting fingers in the mouth. Cries may start sounding finicky, but they quickly escalate into a higher pitch, last longer, and become more demanding.

How to calm your baby down?

You should feed your baby as quickly as possible. That will prevent them from getting too worked up. Also, pay attention to the signs of hunger before your baby cries. Examples are cradling the breast, smacking the lips, and fussing.


Mother and father sitting on a couch and feeding their baby


#2 I'm Tired

Babies sleep a lot in their first six months, but their sleep patterns are unpredictable, and they may easily mistake day for night. But to grow and learn, infants require ample amounts of sleep. In fact, during the first several weeks of life, your infant may spend anywhere from 10-18 hours asleep.

What should you listen for?

When your baby is tired, you can expect to hear a whiny, nasal cry that grows in intensity. You'll also notice other signals, such as yawns, eye rubs, or ear tugs.

How to calm your baby down?

The best thing you can do is try to help your baby sleep better. One effective strategy is to start the sleep process before they are too exhausted to function. Keep an eye out for signs of tiredness or agitation in your infant, such as yawning or a lack of interest in play. Also, do your research and invest in a perfect sleeping solution for your baby. You want to ensure your baby is comfortable and has a good night's sleep.

#3 I've Had Enough

Babies crave comfort and attention, but too much of either can be stressful. Infants can easily become overstimulated and overwhelmed in a crowded place with plenty of people trying to hold them and generate sounds.

What should you listen for?

Typically, an overstimulated cry has a much lower pitch and is not as loud. It can rapidly escalate to a shrill noise and is difficult to calm down. Try to pick up on a whiney, fussy sound. Also, watch for warning signs like whining, averting the gaze, or a scowling expression.

How to calm your baby down?

A newborn that had too much to take in needs some peace. It could help to turn off or take away the stimulus. For instance, if this happens to you at home, perhaps after a particularly exciting game or after too much social interaction, white noise may help. A whirling fan, a noise machine, or peaceful breathing will do.

#4 I'm Bored

Indeed, babies don't do much, but that doesn't mean they can't get bored, especially when left alone for too long. A bored cry isn't always nasty; it can be an attempt to get someone's attention by seeming lonely. For instance, it could also be a sign of separation anxiety during the night.

What should you listen for?

This cry usually begins as coos as your baby tries to engage in a pleasant interaction. If they fail to get the attention they seek, this cry progresses through fussing and peaks with fits of indignant crying interspersed with whimpers.

How to calm your baby down?

An infant's favorite stuffed animal or a song may be the first thing you go for when boredom sets in. It is advised by some professionals, however, that you wait until your infant has had time to adjust before reacting.

 Father holding a baby in his lap and reading them a book

Your baby learns to self-soothe as you give them time to cope with their emotions. Babies can be entertained by their hands, feet, or other objects in the crib. There's no need to feel guilty about not immediately running to their aid; doing so would indicate callousness or lack of concern. But just in case, prep your nursery with some baby-friendly toys.

Final thoughts

We hope the tips from this article help you decode your baby's cries and maintain more peace around your home. Remember, take some time to take care of yourself, and all tasks revolving around your little bundle of joy will be much easier for you to tackle.

Natalie Templeton

Natalie Templeton is a mom of three currently working as a content writer at My Brooks Moving. Because her husband was in the military until recently, they used to move a lot. However, after living in 12 states, they've settled in New Hampshire, where they enjoy a quiet family life. Natalie's hobby is landscape photography, so she uses her spare time to hike with her kids and take scenic photos.

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