In the first year of your baby’s life, his/her primary way of communicating with you will be via crying. Here are some notes to help you understand what your baby may be saying to you.
|I’m hungry||When baby is hungry, he or she will show signs such as opening his mouth as if searching for something and will cry if his hunger needs are not met. So mothers should respond to the baby’s hunger needs if she notices the initial signs even before the child cries.|
|Please help me change my diaper||When the baby soils himself, clean the baby. Check the baby’s diapers routinely before and after feeds and when the baby cries.|
|I’m uncomfortable||This condition can present as regurgitation or repeated vomiting. The child may experience discomfort and cry soon after feeds. To deal with this, mothers can burp the baby and prop up the baby after feeding for about half an hour or so.|
|I don’t feel well||A child may experience discomfort or pain and hence cry. If the baby has other symptoms of illnesses such as fever, vomiting, cough, diarrhoea or constipation, treat these underlying illnesses appropriately.|
|Colic||When all other causes of crying listed above have been excluded, the crying may be attributed to colic. This usually happen around evening and is a prolonged crying for three or more hours. Typically colic affects babies around the ages of 1-2 months. Mothers can try to cuddle baby or give a gentle massage. If this does not work, use a probiotic or wind drop.|
As you can see not every cry is a hunger cry. You need to learn to listen to your baby’s cries and observe his behaviour, movements, body language and facial expression at the same time. Gradually you will be able to interpret the baby’s cries and recognize why the baby cries.
By responding quickly and appropriately to your baby’s cry, it is easier to calm your baby and help build your baby’s sense of trust and security.
A cuddle can do wonders to soothe your crying baby if there is nothing physically wrong. Hold your baby close to you, your voice, your nurturing touch, heartbeat and unique body smell or a gentle rocking motion will often help to settle your baby.
Is it true that you could spoil your baby by picking him up every time he cries?
Baby needs a few months to adjust to the new environment. A newborn baby needs a lot of nurturing touches to develop well physically and psychologically. Baby responds and calms faster if you pick him up sooner to comfort and soothe him. If baby is left to cry longer, it is more difficult to calm him.
When baby cries, respond to his cry, talk to him, cuddle him, hold him close and upright against your body to make baby feel warm, secure and comforted.
How long is it OK for a baby to cry?
This depends on the type of baby’s cry. After a while, mothers would learn to recognise different types of baby cries and which are more severe than others. If the cry is vigorous and continuous, baby may be uncomfortable, distressed, insecure, unwell or in pain and should be picked up as soon as possible. If the cry is intermittent, baby does not have to be attended to immediately as the cry could be to change the nappy or is just a cry for attention.
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