One thing people won’t tell you about parenting is this – it can be very challenging.

When you just got married, life may have seemed quite easy. You only had to think about catering for your partner who is obviously an adult.

You had the choice of sleeping and waking up at your own time, eating only what you wanted and going wherever you wished.

Now, the baby is here, you are a parent.


What more can I say?

While you are still celebrating, brace up for the difficult moments yet to come. There will be times when your puffy eyes will beg for sleep because the baby kept you awake all night. Some days, you will feel like a shadow of yourself.

There will be crazier moments when your baby keeps crying non-stop. But hey! Take a break. Parenting is not that difficult.

Babies cry a lot. That’s how they express their needs. New parents may find it difficult to understand why a baby is crying. However, as time goes on, it becomes clearer.

How Can You Decipher A Baby’s Cry?

Babies cannot talk so they need you to look at them and figure it out. So, here is how you can decipher your baby’s cry:

The Hunger Cry

  • When a baby cries, the first suspect is hunger. That’s because a newborn baby has a small stomach that can only hold a small quantity of food. Besides, breast milk digests easily.
  • If you are breastfeeding, your baby should eat every 2 – 3 hours. This implies that on a 24-hour basis, you will breastfeed between 8 – 12 times. 
  • You don’t need to worry about placing your baby on a feeding schedule. Be flexible because your baby can be hungry at any time. Your new baby may even sleep through the hours you must have set out for feeding.

So how will you know that your baby is hungry?

When you carry a crying baby and she roots for the breast, that’s the first sign that she needs to be fed. Some babies could suck on their fingers or smack their lips.

The Colic Cry

Colic refers to when a healthy baby cries in excess and cannot be pacified. The cry is usually persistent.

Colic in babies can happen in the evening or late afternoon and when your baby is about two months old. The baby will look like she is struggling with something within but can’t explain it. When you listen to her stomach, you will hear rumbling sounds like there’s some air trapped in there.

You can calm a colic baby by placing her stomach down on your laps while you rub her back. You can also massage her stomach by rubbing your fingers around it in a clockwise direction. Try burping your baby after each feed by rubbing your hand on her back to let out trapped air.

You can consider using an electric baby bouncer especially when you need to carry out other activities. The movement of the bouncer could help your baby sleep off while on it.

It is not easy to calm a colic baby, but you need to be patient and fight that budding frustration. Colic in babies do not last forever; it is a phase that will pass. So do not panic.

The “I Am Not Comfortable” Cry

Sometimes, babies cry because they are not comfortable. Various things can make a baby uncomfortable. Such things include a soiled or wet diaper and a very hot or cold temperature.

When you do not take off a soiled or wet diaper frequently, it could lead to diaper rash. Frequent changes in soiled diapers could help your baby sleep better.

During hot seasons, try not to overdress your baby. As a rule of thumb, if you are comfortable wearing one layer of clothing, your baby should wear two layers of clothing.

If your baby is sweating, do not decide to take off all her clothes. She may eventually get cold. All you need to do is change the wet cloth and put on a lighter one. 

You could check if she is cold by touching her feet. Keep a thermometer in the room too to regulate the room’s temperature.

The “I Am Not feeling Well” Cry

When your baby is sick, the pitch of her cry will sound different and weaker but shows some sign of urgency.

When your baby starts teething, it could make her feel sick. Teething comes with its pains. However, if it seems your baby has a high fever, is not more than 3 months old, and cries continuously, you should check in with a doctor.

It is normal for babies to get sick sometimes, so do not get worried. Always observe your baby for any unusual behaviour. This will help you detect early signs of an ill-health. 

The “I Need to Play” Cry

Babies love to play and when they are not getting enough of it, they cry out so loud until you give them attention. It’s not enough to place some toys for your baby. She wants to play with you too.

This kind of fuss comes up when it seems everyone is busy at home while the baby is just at a corner of the room watching. When this happens, as soon as you carry her, the fuss stops instantly. 

While you may be having a very busy schedule, create time to play with your baby. You should sing to her and dance along to some tunes. This will help her stay calm and eventually sleep off.

The “I Need to Sleep” Cry

It is well known that babies usually cry when they need to sleep. Babies find it difficult to shut their eyes and sleep. 

You may find your baby’s eyes shutting and opening again, with a consistent whine and a yawn. These are cues to know when your baby needs to sleep. Sometimes, continuous swaying may not help. Take her away from all the noise to a quiet place. This can help her sleep.

What if She is Still Fussy?

Your baby’s cry may still be confusing but as you progress in parenting, you will understand what works for her.

Rocking and Swaying

You can try rocking your baby by carrying her. But this may be quite hectic when your baby has a big weight. 

You could try using a glider or a baby bouncer. You can also talk a walk and place her in a pram or stroller.

Wrap your Baby in a Blanket

Wrapping a blanket around your baby can make her feel warm. This will make her feel like she is still in the womb.

You can use a swaddle blanket; wrap her arms in or leave it out if that’s what she prefers. Some babies love to suck on their fingers to soothe themselves.

Give Her Something to Suck

When your baby is teething, she could be crying because her gum is itchy. You will find her trying to place her finger in her mouth. Help her do it.

You can equally use pacifiers or binkies for her to suck on. This type of suck is non-nutritive but it helps to pacify a fussy baby.

Use White Noise 

Your baby enjoys being placed close to your chest because she is used to hearing your heartbeat. That was all she heard while in the womb. It was a constant sound.

When she becomes fussy, you can play a kind of sound. It could be from a vacuum cleaner or a hairdryer. You can also get some white noise from the internet that mimic raindrops or the sound of the ocean.

Give Her a Massage

Parents are encouraged to massage their babies regularly. It aids in digestion, especially when she is colicky.

Massage her arms, back, tummy, and feet by moving your fingers around them. The movement should be a clockwise motion. 

Take care not to overdo it, though. Else, your baby will become fussy again. After that is done, cuddle your baby and watch her stay calm and sleep follows.

As time goes on, you will understand your baby better. Her constant cry is just is a stage that will go away. Be patient, stay calm and you will master the art of communicating with your baby.