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Baby Crying Sounds: What they Mean and How to Handle Them

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Babies are known to make all kinds of noises. From cooing to giggling, and even crying. As a new mom, we try desperately to interpret what all these noises mean. Of course the cooing and the giggling we know that our baby is happy, but it is hard to determine why our baby is crying.

You might find yourself stressing a bit every time your baby cries trying to determine what is wrong. But what if you could interpret your baby’s cries? We are helping you understand baby crying sounds to help make your life easier with a newborn. 

Baby Crying Sounds

baby crying sound

Babies cry when they need something. They use different cries to express different emotions. Think of crying as a language that they know and we are trying to figure out.

Once we figure out the different cries of our baby then we will know exactly how to soothe them when they are upset. With a little guidance in deciphering cries, you will be a baby crying expert too! 

Hunger

baby crying sound

With a hunger cry you will hear a lower-pitched cry that is repetitive and has a rhythm to it. 

As they cry you will see body language such as rooting for a breast or bottle, or even a lip-smacking or sucking motion. This is one of the easiest cries to decipher once you start listening and watching your baby for cues. 

When you hear a hunger cry coming from your baby you want to respond as quickly as possible. Waiting just will make your baby more upset, possibly even too upset to even eat. Another side effect of waiting too long is also they will try to eat quickly taking in a lot of air causing them to have gas or spit-up. 

Tired

tired baby

Another familiar cry you will hear as a parent is the tired cry. This tends to be a very helpless cry that is intermittent. 

Along with this cry, you may see your baby shutting their eyes for longer periods of time while crying. They may also have their eyes completely closed while they cry sporadically. You might even see your baby rubbing their eyes as they cry. 

When you recognize your baby is sleeping and they are crying, you will want to soothe them or get them comfortable to self-soothe themselves. Putting them in a swaddle is a great way to get them comfortable to sleep. In fact, it is one of the must-have items on our baby registry checklists

Gas

baby crying sound

A harder one to recognize is when your baby is crying because they are gassy. The crying sound you will hear is an ‘Eairh’ sound. 

Luckily, with this cry, we are able to watch the body language of our baby to help determine why they are crying. You might see your baby pulling their knees up to their chest or extending their legs and crying. This is a major sign of discomfort because gas is stuck and they are trying to get it out. 

When this occurs you can try these steps:

  • Gently apply pressure to your baby’s stomach. You can even rub your hand in a circular motion. 
  • Be sure to burp your baby after each feeding. You can even try to burp your baby again if they are still experiencing discomfort. 
  • Massage your baby’s stomach
  • If this is a persistent problem, then get a food journal and track what you are eating (if breastfeeding) or what your baby is eating. This could be a sign that your baby is eating something that does not agree with their body. 
  • Gently push their legs to their belly and extend. Do this 5-10 times to see if it helps move the gas and relieve the discomfort. 

Overstimulated

If your baby is just fussy, whiny, and crying, there is a good chance that they are just done with whatever they are doing. This could be because they are overstimulated. 

Along with the cry, you will see your baby turning their head from side to side or looking away from the sight or sound. 

When you hear this cry, redirect your baby. Move them away from the thing they are being overstimulated with or what is causing stress for your baby. If your baby is still upset you can try a white noise machine or even running a vacuum cleaner to calm them. 

Bored

bored baby

We all know this cry far too well. It starts out with a cute cooing and maybe some giggles. Then it turns into a small fuss then it becomes a full blown crying meltdown. 

This is your baby basically saying, “hey remember me?” “I miss you.” “Spend some time with me.”

This is an easy fix to stop the crying. Just go over to your baby, pick them up, and love on them! I bet the crying will stop immediately. 

Sick

sick baby

The final cry you will want to listen for is the sick cry. This is more of a whimper that is weak and perhaps nasal sounding. It is not high pitched because they just don’t have that energy to cry loudly. 

Along with the cry you will want to check your baby for other symptoms like fever, vomitting, spitting up more than normal, rashes, and diarrhea. If any of these arise you will want to consult their pediatrician. 

This is the hardest cry to hear because as a mom we feel so helpless.

When your baby is sick, snuggle your baby a little more, watch for more symptoms, and consult your doctor when needed.  

Other reasons babies cry

  • Teething
  • Too hot or too cold
  • Want to be held
  • Itchy
  • Want a change of scenery / fresh air

How to handle baby crying sounds

The 5 S’s combines 5 of the best methods to help a crying baby. If your baby is crying try these to help soothe them. 

  • Swaddling
  • Side / Stomach soothing– lay your baby on their side or stomach (never to sleep. Always watch them while using this method)
  • Shhhhhh sound. Babies love the shhhhhh sound. Try this to soothe your baby. 
  • Swinging. Grab a baby swing and let your baby swing and become comforted. 
  • Sucking – try feeding your baby or letting them suck on a pacifier to self soothe. 

When it comes to baby cries, it can be overwhelming for a new mom, but with these clues you will be a baby crying expert in no time! Share with us in the comments how you soothe your crying baby! 

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