Crying is the only way babies can communicate their needs. A strong, loud, vigorous cry is one sign of a healthy baby. Although many new parents wonder if they will be able to determine why their baby is crying, it usually takes only a week or two to recognize different types of crying.
Every baby has its own cry, and parents very quickly learn to recognize their baby s crying from others. The amount of crying varies, and is not related to the general health of the baby. A placid and peaceful baby is no more healthy or unhealthy than one who cries a good part of the day.
Babies cry for many different reasons. Among the more common reasons are fatigue, loneliness, irritability, hunger, and colic. Other babies cry because their diapers are wet or dirty, they re too hot or cold, their clothing is too tight or uncomfortable, or if they have been stuck by a pin or another sharp object.
Perhaps most worrisome is when babies cry because of illness. Parents often wonder if they will be able to distinguish the crying of a sick child from that of a healthy one. Most of the time you can. A sick baby looks and acts differently than a normal baby. His cry will be different, sometimes very weak and shallow. Other times, particularly if he is in pain, his crying will be louder and sharper than normal.
Probably the most common cause of crying is unexplained. Some babies cry for no particular reason. Once you have eliminated the obvious causes, you may want to consider this crying as another form of exercise. There is often nothing you can do about it.
Parents often wonder why their newborn babies cry without tears. This is normal because their tear ducts have not mature enough to make tears. It usually takes one to two months before the tear glands manufacture tears.
Another misconception about crying is that it may cause a hernia. Crying does not cause inguinal (groin) hernias. If a baby develops a hernia while crying, it is because he or she has a congenital weakness in the inguinal area. Even if the baby never cried, the hernia would have developed.
First time parents almost invariably have the "Gerber Baby" illusion, in which they erroneously believe that their newborn will be the quiet, smiling baby that adorns diaper boxes or can be seen cooing at smiling parents in television commercials. Instead, tired parents are usually faced with a squalling bundle of demands, which they think can not possibly be normal. Yet, crying is definitely normal for babies. In many instances, it s their only way of communicating. If you cannot find a cause for your baby s crying, then there probably is not one. Some babies seem to just like to cry.
Cause of Crying- How to Recognize it and What to do
Stop and start rhythm; cry-pause-cry that doesn't stop when baby is picked up
Breastfeed or bottlefeed baby on demand
Sounds like hunger cry, but baby is still crying and not satisfied after feeding; occurs mostly when weather is very hot or indoor air is very dry
Offer baby water. Call your baby's doctor if the infant will not drink
Whiny, nasal, continuous tone
Put baby to sleep or down for a nap
Starts as a coo or gurgle, then builds to a wail; ceases abruptly when loved one appears
Pick baby up and give the infant desired attention
Sudden, shrill, and piercing cry, followed by long pause, then another long screech
If cause of pain is not obvious and easily remedied (tight fitting diaper, a stray hair wrapped around a finger or toe, etc.) call the baby's pediatrician.
- Fever/ Illness
Similar to pain cry, but baby may also be flushed or pale, skin feels hot, eyes glassy, etc.
Immediately consult the baby's pediatrician for guidelines on managing the fever and illness.