I read somewhere that most mothers are able to tell what their babies want by the sound of their cries. We understand the difference of a hungry and pain cry. The first time I heard Frankie’s ‘pain’ cry I got really worried and we ended up in hospital that night (see Frankie got a Freddie). I’ve been listening to his cries and done some research to try understand the difference in babies cries. Decoding their cries can help ease both mummy and baby frustration at such a helpless age.

The Hungry Cry (or thirst)
This is probably the first thing you think of when your baby cries. It’s a repetitive cry and just gets louder and louder. It eventually turns frantic. This cry tends to sounds like ‘Neeeh’ it comes from the suckling reflux.
Some other signs of hunger is smacking of the lips, putting hands in their mouth, pushing head from left to right in a swift fast movement. If they put their tongue to the top of the mouth, it’s more than likely that they want a feed.

The Wind Cry
Shortly after eating if your baby lets out piercing or intense cries they may have tummy pain. If they draw up their legs or are visibly uncomfortable when you lay them on their back. The cry ‘Ehhh’ is the reflex sounds usually associated when they are trying to push wind from their belly.
The usual repeated back-rubs and gentle smacks, holding babies back and chin up straight usually do the trick and bring relief to baby. Infacol and Gripe-water are some mummy favourites to help relieve trapped wind also.

The Tired & Overstimulated Cry
This is when your baby’s cry is inconsistent and it may alternate between laughter and fussing. Your babies crying can be fairly soft, and it starts and stops. You may be able to soothe your baby, but eventually the crying intensifies. The yawn reflex normally sound like ‘Owwwh’
Babies grow so much in the first few months. Even though it looks like they don’t do much other than goo and gaah, their growing each and everyday and that can leave the body exhausted. Some days they may need more sleep than others.

The Constipation Cry
It’s hard angry like grunting cry, sound like ‘Ehhair’. Baby may need to have a bowel movement or have intestinal gas. Stimulating the rectum, cycling the legs and pushing them up can help ease and relieve some pain. Some people tend to feed brown sugar and water to help quicken bowel movement also.

The Pain Cry (Sick)
This is the cry every mothers worst nightmare. Your baby’s cry sounds unusual, its different from any of the regular cries you’re used to hearing. If you have tried all of the above I would check babies temperature and seek advice from your G.P.

The Colic Cry
Babies who tend to cry for more than three hours a day, for three or more days a week, chances are baby is colicky. It is described as an constant excessive cry in an otherwise healthy baby. Your babies belly tends to be enlarged or swollen, they can pass wind as they cry and are sometimes inconsolable at a particular time of the day like the late afternoon or evening. Also seek medical advice, babies formula may need changing.


It’s a tough thing for both you and your baby to go through. Ask for help from friends or relatives. Remember babies can sense frustration and it’s absolutely perfectly normal to put your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes to get a break.


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