Yesterday, I talked about how crying is engineered to produce a response from parents and caregivers.
Just as an adorable baby is irresistible, an upset baby is difficult to ignore. We have an instinct to want to make things alright.
I think crying is an amazing accomplishment on your baby’s part. This is the sound of your resourceful baby, already organizing her communication skills into a message. An attention-getting one, eh?
By the time you have been on the job for about a month, your skill level will catch up to hers!
You’ll begin to recognize and differentiate the tone, pitch, volume, and urgency of her cries. You’ll respond more quickly, and more accurately. She’ll learn to trust you to meet her needs. In the process, you will all settle into being a securely attached and confident family.
Parents often suspect hunger as the cause of the cry. With baby needing to take in nourishment 8 – 12 times in each 24-hour period, that might be a good guess some of the time.
Continued crying, without other hunger signals, could mean that hunger is not the issue that baby needs your help to resolve.
- She might feel sick. This possibility worries new parents the most. You should worry less. Most of the days of her life, she will have a range of needs that you’ll be able to respond to without medical help.
- Your newborn could be uncomfortable. She just relocated from her own personal climate-controlled nudist colony, to a diaper.
- Again, with the discomfort. She might cry if she’s too warm. She might cry if she’s too cool. Hey – some things confuse even me, so that’s all I got on this one. You’re welcome.
- She might be tired. Swaddling is a way to calm a new baby by helping her to regain some stability in her body, and control over her limbs. Some babies like to be swaddled in a way that allows freedom for a favorite thumb.
- What if she’s lonely? Once she finds out all that cool stuff you’ll do for her, she’s going to want you to do all that cool stuff for her. Like rocking, holding, counting her toes, gazing, smiling.
- Lonely, schmonely. She might be overstimulated. At first newborns will fall asleep to ward this off, but later, she will develop much more of an interest in spit bubbles, playing, smiling, all that. How much goo-goo, gaa-gaa can a gal take? She’ll let ya know.
- Then there’s the diaper change. A full diaper is a likely target of her disdain. From day one, she’ll be producing a couple of wet diapers, and one or two soiled ones. Within a week, she will QUADruple her daily output.
Your baby might be trying to tell you a number things in the relatively small amount of time she spends crying. Most of the rest of the time, she will be busy with other things like bonding, finding her hand, looking at stuff. When crying does come up, it is a natural sign of healthy development. Especially language and emotional development. A cry for help is her way of putting into words her expression of faith that the help will come.
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