Crying is literally the only way baby can tell you something is wrong. This is their bread and butter of communication until they start to gesture, sign, or talk. Since that's not happening anytime soon, learning their crying cues can make an unpleasant situation last a little bit shorter!
I had read that moms know the differences in baby's crying and can tell if it's a hunger cry, a pain cry, a wet diaper cry, etc. I am not one of those gifted individuals apparently. At least not yet! While I don't know 100%, there are ways of telling what kind of issue is afoot.
the pain cry
What it sounds like:
When baby is in pain, the cry is usually sharp, piercing, high pitched, loud, and most importantly sudden. It's like were okay were okay, BAM! hysterical in seconds. Leaving parents bewildered like... woah what just happened? Did I miss something?
Here's my cheat sheet for this kind of cry:
the hunger cry
Perhaps it is different if you have a formula fed baby, but for my breastfed baby, he eats about every 2 hours and immediately after waking up. So if it's been awhile, that's my first go-to.
What it sounds like:
For us, this is a slow wind up. It starts as fussing and quickly escalates to crying if food is not provided in about 30 seconds. It is for sure hunger if it as accompanied by these cues:
What it looks like:
the wet diaper cry
This is more of a whine. If it's not the above two things, this is what we try next and is remedied easily by changing the diaper.
What it sounds like: This is more of a whine in our house that just wont stop until we change him.
** Make sure you put on that diaper cream to avoid a painful rash cry later on! Also, if baby hasn't pooped in awhile and I hear a lot of farts and attempts at pooping, i'll put the Windi stick in to avoid a potential hysterical scream later.
the teething cry
What it looks like:
This to us looks a lot like hungry. There's a lot of biting fingers almost furiously. Binky gets spit out a lot when this is the problem. When you go to feed, baby pushes you away.
What it sounds like:
This is a whine that has short little bursts of shouting at you. In between trying to bite things, he lets out a small, short wail. Pushing hands into the jaw repeatedly.
Our solution is using one of the teething toys, Teeth Tamer syrup, or Camilia. Check out my post on Teething to learn more!
the overtired cry
This is my least favorite cry. I find it is hardest to remedy if baby is fighting sleep. This is the cry where you tried everything above and nothing worked and you have to wait until they tire themself out. There are a few tricks that work for us....
Sometimes if the crying goes on for too long, one of the issues that wasn't initially the problem becomes the new problem. What do I mean? For example, after baby cried and cried about his rash, and we fixed the rash, he began crying again shortly after because he worked himself up and got hungry and sleepy. Usually if baby cried a lot and then stopped and started again, a quick feeding and putting him down to sleep does the trick.
Below is a video I watched (several times) from YouTube on Newborn Cues!
It was immensely helpful!!!
Highly recommend you check it out!
Do you have any suggestions on how to soothe a crying baby?
Please write in the comments below!
Most people won't socialize or 'bring baby out' until they get their shots. During a pandemic, that period lasts a lot longer. Can this be detrimental for baby?
Socialization at this age is mainly with their parents and sometimes grandparents. Babies are studying facial expressions, tone of voice, and around 3 months they are recognizing people and voices in their lives, but don't feel like you need to expose baby to other people and children physically right away.
what can i do to help baby socialize under lockdown?
Under lockdown, what we have done is use video chatting a lot. Baby is fascinated by people's faces and this has been no different. It has been a great way to keep in contact with grandparents and friends safely. Baby gets the benefit of seeing people, but without the worry.
Make sure babies and meeting their milestones, basically the opposite of the red flags! If they are not, you should reach out to your county's Early Intervention program for an evaluation.
I wanted to write about my journey through breastfeeding thus far . It's something I always knew I wanted to do, but I wasn't determined or passionate about it until I watched 'The Milky Way' You HAVE to watch this. Your boss needs to watch this, your husband, your mother- just watch it! I didn't really understand the importance of breastfeeding until I watched this video.
Here's some things you should know about breastfeeding:
After learning these facts, I just had to do it. I insisted not a drop of formula would grace my son's lips. What I didn't know was how hard it would be to maintain this dream.
from the start
With my baby, I waited for the breast crawl and was not disappointed! It really did happen! He latched immediately and there was no pain. My doula casually said in passing "I think he has a lip tie". I brushed it off because he latched no problem, no pain. My baby was perfect and a rockstar breastfeeder. No intervention necessary, I read books people!
Well... if you are able to infer by the title of this post, it wasn't exactly all sunshine and roses.
That was the first and last pain free latch I would experience for weeks. Now I had heard a few things about breastfeeding, like how it hurts initially really badly but then it gets better. Your nipples have to 'toughen up' essentially. This turns out to not be true! There shouldn't be pain when you breastfeed!
I asked the nurses and went to the hospital's breastfeeding class. I asked for the lactation consultant to come to my room to observe my feeding, but apparently she was only there for a couple hours and had a lot of people to see, so I had to go to the class (this was a baby friendly hospital too...). A little put off, I went because I was in pain and I was wondering if there was any way to make this easier. I learned about the football hold. She observed the latch and said he had a great latch, despite the pain I was in. I trusted her. After all, she had been doing this for 30 years.
After discharge, it wasn't getting easier. In fact, I was now crying in pain with every feed because we were feeding so often I didn't have time to recover in the interim between feeds. I was tired, so very very tired, and in excruciating pain. I was lathering coconut oil and nipple cream on to try to get relief.
This was exhausting and upsetting. I felt so defeated. One week in I had my doula come by. She weighed him before and after and he took in so much milk! She adjusted the latch and it did help. She gave me some tips on how to ease the raw feeling after a feed. Did you know a hairdryer on your nipples can help?! Also rubbing breastmilk on them can help too! I felt so much better that she saw me! I felt a renewed sense of ease. Everything would be fine now.
Despite a slight improvement, most of the feedings were still painful, but we pushed through. Something just felt wrong. It shouldn't be this hard I kept thinking. I started researching. What my doula had said at his birth stuck in my head and I went off on a tangent researching lip and tongue ties. As an SLP, I feel like I should know about this! Why were we not taught about it in grad school?!
So now here I am bleary eyed and sore and researching at all hours what could be wrong with my baby- or with me. I had enough information to suspect that this tie was the issue. I sent my doula a video and photos of his mouth. She quickly said he had a moderate lip tie and posterior tongue tie. FINALLY AN ANSWER!!
I immediately sought out a highly recommended surgeon to check him out. We had an appointment the next day, despite the craziness of the corona virus! Sure enough, he did have a tongue and lip tie.
This was right before the laser tongue and lip tie revision. Baby gets goggles to protect their eyes as well as anyone present in the room. The actual procedure was about 30 seconds in total. There was crying, of course, but we breastfed right after. The next two days baby was uncomfortable and would cry more frequently. Homeopathic medicine Camilia (used during teething traditionally) has been helpful.
so why am i still in pain?
A few days later, I felt there was no progress. I think it actually felt worse. Baby was trying to latch, then arching back and screaming as if nothing was in there. So I tried pumping and got almost nothing after a half hour. Holy crap where was my supply?! Something was wrong. I reached out to a IBCLC lactation consultant. These are the top experts certified to know about how to help you breastfeed...But it was a teletherapy session because of the Corona virus. I got some great tips. Like for example, she knew his cries were gassy cries (how did she hear that I don't know) she told me not to have Fenugreek because it makes babies really gassy, and I should avoid dairy and chocolate and caffeine. Ah! gas! That's going to solve everything!! Finally!
So now I'm not eating dairy, or chocolate, not using fenugreek supplements..... and I'm still in pain! He is screaming and thrashing his body and I just want to cry and give up.
The person who was not going to allow a drop of formula to touch my son's lips was thinking of giving up?! I felt so horrible. Now I know why people give up. I was so quick to judge before. I would think, "Don't they know how great this is for the baby? Have they not seen the documentary? Are people just selfish?" Now I understood. The pain, the screaming...it wears people down! You're so tired and vulnerable and it's SO EASY to say "I GIVE UP!"
but i refuse!: continuing my education
I started finding courses online about breastfeeding and tongue ties. No one can come over physically because of the Corona Virus, so I felt it was up to me to figure out how to make this work. This was my last effort.
I found a great website that IBCLCs watch to learn and continue their education. I spent about 20 hours learning in between feedings. I watched lectures from IBCLCs, Dentists, Surgeons, Speech Pathologists (yes! some are great with this niche population), Chiropractors, Occupational Therapists, and Pediatricians.
I was determined to become an expert in this!
After many many hours of learning,I finally knew what I had to do... and there was SO MUCH to do!
Click here to read what happened in part 2!