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Pregnancy & Parenting


What Your Baby's Cries Mean

Is your baby hungry, bored or not feeling well? We help you decode his cries.
The average newborn spends three hours a day wailing. That's certainly enough to turn any new mum into a nervous wreck, trying to figure out why her baby is crying nonstop. At first, all his cries may sound the same to you, but be patient -- as you gradually catch on his feelings and body language while he's whining, you'll steadily recognize the different cries. Meanwhile, here's how to know what he's trying to tell you:

He's saying...

"I don't feel good"

Crying is an instinctive reaction to pain or physical discomfort, which can include anything from mild irritation to illness. But first check if he is in an awkward position or if his diaper is wet, as rarely does it mean anything serious.
How to tell: His cries are sharp and shrill, gasping for breath between ear-piercing cries. Check his limbs -- if they're lethargic, he might be ill.

He's saying...

"I'm hungry"

Right from birth, your baby realizes that crying brings a feeding response from you. He quickly learns that his crying and your response with food are closely connected. If your baby wants to be fed, he starts crying loudly.
How to tell: He cries and puts his fingers into his mouth. Watch for drool at the corner of his mouth.

He's saying...

"I'm bored"

At this young age, your baby's concentration is limited so he is easily bored. He figures that when he cries, he will get you to rush over and amuse him.
How to tell: His whines sound more like a shout than tearful wailing.

He's saying...

"I'm tired"

Your baby can turn cranky when he's sleepy. If he turns away from what you're both doing and starts to fuss, it's a sign that he is getting tired. Time for a nap!
How to tell: He cries irritably, and rubs his eyes or face, or pulls at his ears.

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