Newborn Lesson #43

August 10, 2011: There is a cry indicator! …of sorts.

12 reasons babies cry and how to soothe them

by Dana Dubinsky
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board
Last updated: January 2011

There’s no getting around it: Babies cry. It’s how they communicate hunger, pain, fear, a need for sleep, and more.

So how are parents supposed to know what their baby is trying to tell them? It can be tricky to interpret your child’s cries, especially at first.

Here are the most common reasons babies cry. If your little one is wailing and you don’t know why, work your way down the list. Chances are you’ll find something that helps.

1. Hunger

This is probably the first thing you think of when your baby cries.

Learning to recognize the signs of hunger will help you start your baby’s feedings before the crying stage. Some signs to watch for in newborns: fussing, smacking of lips, rooting (a newborn reflex that causes babies to turn their head toward your hand when you stroke their cheek), and putting  their hands to their mouth.

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Newborn Lesson #12

July 27, 2011: Good advice I was recently given: When a baby is crying so hard that she seems to stop breathing, blow in her mouth. The baby will immediately take a breath in and you are that much closer to calming her down.

I’ve used this tactic quite a few times. When Mila gets REALLY angry, she turns red and screams so hard she almost forgets to breath in. The moment I gently breathe into her face, she stops, takes a breath in and the red begins to drain from her face. She doesn’t stop crying altogether, but it does help.

Newborn Lesson #3

July 21, 2011 (one week old): The littlest of things just break your heart. Like that tiny sob right before the wail of pain from being stuck by a needle. Mean doctors!

Mila had several bilirubin tests in her first week of life even though they never reached concerning levels.  She started at 8.0 and then reached 12.0 (both safe levels from what we were told). When her third test had the same result (12.0) she was done with testing.

In order to test the jaundice levels in a baby, the nurse takes a square, plastic contraption then pricks a spot on the heel of the foot. Blood starts to flow and the nurse captures it into a vial, pushing and pinching the foot to get more blood. Imagine this feeling – you’re pricked in your foot and then you can’t move because you’re being held down and squeezed. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt us so much since over time our feet have become hard and callused. Still, not fun.