8 Ways To Decode a Baby’s Crying

Even though your baby is unable to speak, he or she is still fully capable of giving you hints that will assist you in understanding his or her wishes. As the baby can’t tell you precisely what it wants, it relies on the collection of cries, whimpers, and all-out screams to somehow get your attention.

Is your child overtired? Is it hungry, or perhaps in pain? Although it can be tough (particularly for first-time parents), decoding baby cries is not something impossible. This article will assist you in identifying the usual suspects and provide tips and tricks for satisfying the needs of your child.

1. Discomfort or Tiredness

When the baby is feeling uncomfortable or tired, it produces constant, nasal, and whiny cries that build in intensity with time. This desire for napping is usually accompanied by ear-tugs, eye-rubs, as well as yawns. The same goes for discomfort (if the baby needs a clean diaper or is feeling very uncomfortable in her car seat, for example).

When this happens, make sure to check for a dirty diaper, and also help the child get the required amount of sleep. Don’t forget that most newborns need at least 16 hours of sleep per day. Providing them a high-quality bassinet, will help your newborn feel comfortable and well-rested after sleeping in it.

2. Hunger

Baby’s hunger is typically expressed by low-pitched, repetitive, rhythmic cries that are usually combined with some other signals. These additional signals include putting fingers into the mouth, making a sucking motion with the tongue, as well as rooting for the breast.

When this happens, make sure to respond to your baby’s hunger cries as soon as possible, so that he or she doesn’t get too worked up. In case the baby acts like it is upset and starts gulping air together with the milk, he or she may spit up or trap gas, which often results in more crying.

3. Boredom

When a newborn is bored, its cries will start as coos and eventually turn into fussing. This will soon turn into bursts of indignant crying that are combined with whimpers. If this happens, you’ll have to play with the baby or pick her up, and the cries should stop immediately (the infant won’t be bored anymore).

4. I’ve Had Enough!

Once the baby can’t withstand something anymore, it produces whiny, fussy cries. It may try to turn the body or head away from the displeasing, overstimulating sounds or sights that are bothering it.

Once you recognize this cry, try to move the child away from the visual stimulation, movement, noise, or anything else that is causing him or her to feel stressed out. Some things that can help with relaxing the baby are recordings of nature sounds, white noise from vacuum cleaners or fans, as well as any kind of a calmer environment.

5. Colic

Colic, or the pain experienced due to obstruction in the intestines, typically takes place in the afternoon and its episodes can last for hours. For most babies, it begins at around three weeks of age and disappears once he or she is about three or four months old. A colicky baby will produce intense screams or wails, and these are usually accompanied by fidgeting motions.

While it can be quite challenging to calm down a baby with colic, you can try putting it into comforting positions. This means laying the baby on its tummy across your knees and rubbing its back.

Another thing you could give a try is putting her down on the back and slowly pushing her knees up to the tummy for a couple of moments. With the gas being the usual cause of colic, these motions might get it out and calm the child down.

6. Teething

Tiny, sharp teeth going through the baby’s sensitive gums can cause a lot of pain. His or her teeth can also cause the mouth to be sore and tender even before they make a break through the gum line.

In case this is causing your baby to cry, try easing the discomfort by giving something to chew. A good option would be to provide a wet, clean washcloth that spent a couple of minutes in the freezer. Rubbing across the gums with your clean finger can also be helpful. In case your child is at least half a year old and consumes complementary foods, he or she might appreciate cold foods, like yogurt or applesauce.

7. Sickness

Decoding baby cries is especially important when it comes to illness.  The baby cries when he/she is sick are characterized by soft whimpers that are typically nasal-sounding, weak and with a lower pitch – the child simply hasn’t got enough energy to cry louder. In case you’re suspecting that the child is sick, try to look for any additional symptoms such as rashes, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, fever, or anything else that warrants a call to a health-care professional.

Although babies do tend to get sick sometimes, it is often nothing serious to worry about. But still, it is of essential importance to trust your mom-instincts and call the doctor if you’re concerned.

8. Temperature

Another reason behind your child’s cries can be the temperature. Most experts agree that the temperature of the infant’s room should be kept between 20°C and 22.2°C (68°F and 72°F).

Also, try to be aware of any temperature changes in the child’s environment, such as going to the hot outdoors from an air-conditioned room, and change the kid’s clothes as required.


Although all of this can seem like a lot to figure out, you’ll become more proficient at decoding baby cries with time. Furthermore, your baby will become a more effective communicator as it grows up, and will also cry less often and for much shorter periods.

Having a repetitive routine can also be of great help in this matter. If your child’s day gets into a pattern of feeding, playing, and sleeping, knowing your precise location in this cycle can be of great assistance in determining the child’s current needs. If the infant’s diaper is empty and its tummy is full, he or she may be ready for cuddling or taking a quick nap.


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