Understanding your baby’s cry

All babies cry. It is healthy and normal. Imagine how horrendous it would be in the delivery room if your baby didn’t take in their first breath and cry. Crying is the babies form of communication and they express emotion using a variety of cries. Some babies are more vocal and expressive than other babies, my eldest daughter cried much more than her sister, and 30 years later, she is still a chatterbox and a great communicator!

My multisensory sleep routines are baby-led; this empowers parents to recognise that babies use various cries to get their attention. It is the first stage of language development my techniques and encourage parents to interpret, empathise and understand what their baby is saying to them.

Tired baby cry

Until your child can express in words what they want, the cry is the first form of communication, with each cry having a different meaning.  In my experience it is quite difficult to identify what babies under three months old want as they have an identical cry for food, attention, discomfort and sleep. For the first three months, it is a process of elimination; try a cuddle first, then offer a feed until the baby is relaxed and content. Fortunately, after three months the difference between a hungry baby and a tired baby is easily recognised.

The Multi-Sensory Sleep Techniques and Sleep Routines help parents to recognise the natural ‘tired baby’ cry-  

this is the cry that all babies make when they are tired and approximately 10 to 15 minutes from sleep. The tired baby cry is quiet in volume, whiny and ‘mantra ‘ sounding. Often there is an element of frustration in the cry, associated with lots of yawns and eye rubs;  especially in the older baby. It is not a distressed cry; mostly the baby’s eyes are closed and there are no tears. The cry can very in length, strength and volume depending on the baby’s personality.

You might hear this cry when you’re out pushing the pram or the baby is in the car seat. Babies will also make this cry in their mothers arms.

How parents react and respond to their babies cry has significance influence on whether their baby continues to cry. Most babies stop crying when they are picked up, rocked, shushed or fed; parents naturally feel pleased and satisfied when they have soothed the baby to sleep.  Listening to a crying baby is stressful for adults, even those without children. Patents worry that leaving their baby to cry is harmful and neglectful;  the idea of leaving your baby to cry will seem intolerable.

I do not agree with or advocate leaving a baby to cry.

However, introducing my sensory sleep associations dramatically reduces and stops tired crying at sleep times. The sensory technique are baby friendly and parent empowering, based on child development and behavioural problems associated with sleep.

  • Help your baby to make positive sleep attachment to a soft toy or comforter
  • Introduce cot playtime in the nursery every day for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Implement the Multi – Sensory Sleep Routines at bedtime and day naps

Read more in The Ultimate Sleep Guide for Babies and Toddlers

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