Life with a newborn is full of new lessons, isn’t it? New parents often feel overwhelmed at all the information they are learning about their little one and how to take care of him or her. And, new parents are doing this without much sleep! I’ve been there – I remember how those early days with your newborn are beautiful and exhausting.
What makes it worse? When your baby gives you cause for concern.One of the most common concerns for parents revolves around questions about the newborn cry. Don’t worry, by the time you finish reading this article, you will find plenty of advice for parents whose newborn doesn’t cry and whose newborn doesn’t stop crying.
The Different Reasons Newborns Cry
You may have already heard doctors or fellow parents discussing how you need to learn your baby’s cries. In the beginning, it can be challenging to decode your baby’s different cries. The newborn baby cry sound is enough to make any parent want to relieve their little one’s stress. In the midst of the tears, try to remember that a newborn cry is a helpful way to know what your baby wants and needs.
Babies will cry when they are hungry. Babies do not have any language yet, so the only way they can communicate is through crying. When a newborn wants to eat, he or she will let you know by crying. According to the experts at Enfamil, “A hunger cry is usually short, low-pitched, and rises and falls. But crying is actually one of the later signs of hunger.”
If your baby takes a bottle or breastfeeds and stops crying, then most likely your newborn was crying because he or she was hungry. However, sometimes newborns will eat because it is comforting. So, even if your newborn is not hungry, he or she may take the bottle because it is calming.
Helpful tip – look for cues your baby is hungry before the hungry cries begin. For example, your baby may start acting restless, start rooting, or begin sucking on the bottom lip.
Newborns will also cry because they are tired. For instance, if you notice the newborn cry at night before you have put your baby to bed, then he or she may be telling you it is time for bed. Overtired babies do cry, and sometimes this is the hardest type of cry for a parent to soothe. The best solution for dealing with a tired crying baby is to avoid letting the baby get overtired. Newborns need a lot of sleep!
While there are diapers that have urine detection, you often will not even need to check for the blue line because your baby will cry to let you know it is time to change a diaper. Most babies do not like to wear a wet or dirty diaper – who would? Therefore, they cry to let you know they are dirty or wet.
Unfortunately, there will be times your baby gets sick, is in pain, or is uncomfortable. When these types of things occur, your baby will cry to alert you. Sometimes this may be as simple as your newborn being too hot or too cold. But, other times, your newborn may cry because he or she is sick or in pain. Therefore, pay close attention to baby’s cries and call the pediatrician if you are still concerned.
What If Your Newborn Cries During or After Feedings or When Pooping?
Some babies cry at odd times. For example, does your newborn cry after feeding? This can feel especially frustrating to a parent since feedings usually calm little ones down. Some newborns who cry after feeding are suffering from acid reflux or even food allergies. Then again, some babies cry after feedings simply because they have gas. Fortunately, there are bottles to help with reflux and gas issues.
Does your newborn cry when pooping? First, you need to understand that they are pooping while laying down, which is uncomfortable. If your baby cries while pooping, it usually does not mean he or she is in pain.
According to the WebMD experts, “Severe, high-pitched, inconsolable crying is a different story than the grunting and groaning that most babies do. If your child has this type of reaction, get him checked out by his pediatrician as soon as possible. Also, call the doctor if you see blood or his poop is white, black, or hard, pellet-like stools.”
What If Your Newborn Doesn’t Cry?
For a parent whose newborn doesn’t cry, the parent feels alarmed because the baby seems different than other babies, as well as the fact that the baby cannot communicate his or her needs. Some people may try to make this parent feel bad because they have an “easy baby,”but this is unfair.
Some babies do cry significantly less than other babies. For parents of these babies, they will need to pay careful attention to their baby’s cues to know when to feed their baby. Additionally, if parents are concerned that there is something wrong due to their newborn’s lack of crying, they should speak with their pediatrician.
What If It Is Colic?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are babies who cry all the time (or it feels like all the time). These babies cry and are difficult to calm down. According to the experts at WebMD, babies with colic are babies who cry more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks in a row.
If your newborn does seem to meet these criteria, you can get some help from your pediatrician. The exact causes of colic have not been found, but there is often a link between colicky babies and ones with intestinal issues or acid reflux.
When to Be Concerned
Ultimately, parents need to trust their instincts when it comes to their newborns crying. Most parents do not just plan to let newborn cry, but sometimes your usual tricks do not work. If your baby has been crying significantly more than usual and your regular calming techniques are not working, you should contact your baby’s pediatrician.
To Let Your Baby Cry It Out
Wondering whether you should let newborn cry to sleep? You are not alone. This is a commonly debated topic. Parents of newborns are often sleep deprived because their babies wake up frequently throughout the night. The “cry it out” method is one that many parents choose; however, it is also a method that many parents refuse to use.
The main facet of the method comes down to the question: how long should you let a newborn cry? Most parent’s immediate response to hearing a newborn cry is to try to pacify their baby. However, proponents of the “cry it out” method believe babies will sleep better if they learn to self sooth, which means crying for some time without a parent comforting him or her.
However, newborns are too young for the cry it out method! If you choose to use this method, you should not begin until your baby is older than two months of age (at least). Instead, you should calm your baby and use sleeping aids like swaddling blankets and soothers.
Opponents of the “cry it out” method believe it is cruel and causes more harm than good. These parents do not believe in sleep training methods where the baby is left to cry for several minutes at a time before the parent offers comfort. Many parents believe it goes against their instincts to allow their babies to cry without trying to soothe them, so it is also difficult for the parents.
Additionally, mothers who are breastfeeding struggle with letting their babies cry because they breastfeed on demand. In other words, many breastfeeding mothers allow their baby to breastfeed whenever the child cries and signals that he or she is hungry. And, some babies fall asleep while breastfeeding.
What the Experts Say
Again, the question of how long you should let your baby cry (especially at nighttime) is a hotly debated topic. It will be the parent’s choice to decide which parenting philosophy works best for their family. However, there are experts on each side of the issue.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Studies have shown that infant sleep training methods known as ‘controlled comforting’ and ‘camping out’ improve infant sleep and reduce maternal depression in the short term.” The study involved parents allowing babies to cry at increasing intervals until they fall asleep independently.
However, the experts at Psychology Today claim, “With neuroscience, we can confirm what our ancestors took for granted---that letting babies get distressed is a practice that can damage children and their relational capacities in many ways for the long term.” In other words, the “cry it out” method causes psychological damage.
To Wrap Up…
Babies cry. Parents lose sleep. Those are just the facts. However, as you learn what is causing your newborn to cry, you will become better at soothing him or her. Before you call the doctor, check for the crying basics (hunger, dirty diaper, or tiredness). If your baby’s crying increases or does not stop, call your pediatrician.