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  • Writer's pictureEva Levinson

Why does my baby cry so much?

A Baby crying can be quite stressful for a parent. You want to comfort them and make them stop, as the thought of your baby being sad feels unbearable? But remember they can't tell you what is wrong or what they want, so crying is their only way to communicate with you. But how can you tell what they need from their cries? ⁠

There are some crying sounds that are believed to mean the following, but until you get to know your baby they might be a bit tricky to distinguish in the beginning. When you are feeling tired and overwhelmed as a new parent, all crying can start to sound the same.

Here are 5 common sounds just before the crying starts, that experts believe mean the following.

'Neh' – 'I'm hungry, please feed me'

This sound is made when your baby starts rooting. They move their tongue to the roof of their mouth and it makes a clicking sound, that sounds like 'neh'. When this happens it's time to get your boob out quickly or have a bottle at the ready!

'Eh' – ' I need to burp, please wind me'

This sound is the result of a large air bubble trapped in the chest and the babies reflex of trying to get it out. This is the time to wind your baby, by holding them upright, either over your chest or leaning forward supporting their head in your hand. Then rub their back gently but firmly upwards.

'Eairh' - 'I need to fart, my tummy is a bit upset'

When a burp can't be released the trapped air travels to the stomach and causes flatulence. The muscles in the intestines, tighten to release the air bubble. So the sound your baby makes sounds like 'eairh'.

To help your baby release wind from the lower end, hold their legs up to their tummy and rock them side to side or do a bicycle with their legs.

'Heh' - ' I don't feel comfortable! I feel a bit stressed because I'm too hot, too cold, my nappy needs changing. It almost sounds like 'Hey, help me out here, I can't do this on my own yet?'

This is an intermittent sound your baby makes to let you know that something need to change for them to be comfortable and happy again. It is believed that feeling wet, sweaty or an itchy feeling will activate the skin reflex that causes this sound.

⁠However sometimes a cry is just about letting you know they need something else entirely. I'm bored. I've been in this position for ages and I need a change of scenery. I'm tired, I feel overstimulated, it's all too much and I just want a nap. Or I love you, you make me feel safe and secure and I just need a cuddle.

Things I used to find soothing for my two when they were babies were:

1. Putting on some music and dancing with them. I would sway with them to the music and it used to make me feel calm too.

2. Singing to them. It does't matter what you sound like, babies love the sound of your voice as it's familiar to them. If you think it's too gruff or too loud, then try 'whispering singing'.

3. Go for a walk. Put them in a buggy or a sling and have a walk in the fresh air. A change of scenery can really help.

There used to be a 24 hour Bagel Shop in Camberwell, when my eldest daughter was a baby. I can tell you my husband and I found it a Godsend in the first few weeks, as we found putting her in the car and driving to get a bagel, would often send her to sleep. I think we were some of their most frequent customers back then.

If you find your self getting stressed these tricks might also help?

Put in ear plugs into your ears, it just means you can carry on trying to comfort them, by muffling out their crying sounds as you do so. It can really take the stress away.

1. Put your earphones in and listen to your music or even a meditation to calm yourself down.

2. Use all the breathing techniques your learned and used in labour.

3. If it gets too much give them to your partner and take a walk to clear your mind. Call a friend to see if they can come over and give you a break or put them down in another room, while you breathe and compose yourself.

The crying won't last forever, eventually they will be able to tell you what they need. They will still cry as children when they are sad, hurt, sick or feeling emotional. But it will be less frequent and more for the same reasons that adults cry and let's face it we all need a good cry sometimes.

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