What Do Your Babies’ Cries Mean?

In your baby’s early days, your baby is fully dependent on you for food, security, comfort, and love. As babies have no way of telling you their needs through words, crying is their way of communicating with you. But how do you know what your baby is trying to tell you? Here’s a general guide to understanding the reasons behind your baby’s cry and what you can do about them.

I Am Hungry

Hunger is one of the most common reasons for your baby’s cry. Your newborn feeds once every few hours during the first few months. Babies get hungry fast because their tummies are small and can’t hold much milk in one feed. Some body movements of a hungry baby include sucking the fists or leaning towards your breasts when you hold the baby.

How To Soothe: Offer your breast or milk bottle to the baby and see if it helps. Feed your baby when you notice the signs of hunger to avoid unnecessary prolonged crying.

Help Me Change My Diaper

Babies usually cry if their diapers are wet or soiled, as it makes them feel uncomfortable and irritated. Next time your baby cries, check if the diaper is heavy or smelly.

How To Soothe: Change your baby’s diaper immediately. Before you put on a new diaper, make sure to clean the area thoroughly and apply a layer of nappy cream. Pay attention to the skin folds in the process. Having baby’s good diaper habits helps prevent skin irritation.

I Am Tired And Need To Rest

Babies get tired after they are awake for long hours or when they are overstimulated. Overstimulation can happen when there is too much rocking and singing or when your baby gets overwhelming attention from visitors. Different from adults, babies who are tired often cry and get fussy instead of falling asleep. Understanding your baby’s sleeping habits can give you a better idea of when your baby should be sleeping.

How To Soothe: There are a few ways to soothe crying baby who is tired. First, try moving your baby away from the environment, causing tiredness or overstimulation. You can try giving your little one a warm bath, too. Also, swaddling your baby in a quiet room may help him or her fall asleep.

I Want To Be Held

Babies require a lot of physical contact, like cuddling, to feel reassured. They love the sound of your heartbeat and the warmth of your body. If your baby cries whenever you are not around, it is a way for them to show that they need your extra attention.

How To Soothe: Attend to your crying baby immediately whenever possible, and hold her close to your chest. Singing or gentle swaying may help to calm your baby down. Furthermore, keeping your baby close to you with a baby carrier could help.

I Am Feeling Unwell

If your baby’s cry differs from the usual cry you hear, he or she might be sick. For instance, your baby cries weaker, more high-pitched, or longer than usual. Common illnesses of newborn include colds, coughs, vomiting, and fever.

How To Soothe: Once your baby shows any signs of illness, especially when he or she is running a temperature above 37.5°C, you should see a doctor right away.

Baby Crying

Colic: When Your Baby Is Crying For No Reason

Colic is intense, prolonged, and frequent crying in a healthy infant. Colic is generally defined as more than 3 hours of crying a day and three times a week. Colic can be stressful and frustrating for parents because the baby is crying for no apparent reason. Some signs of colic include facial discolouration, such as a redder face or paler skin around the mouth, as well as a tensed body, such as clenched fists, stiffen legs and arms, and a tensed tummy. Before concluding that your baby is crying due to colic, consult your doctor to make sure your baby is not having any illness or other discomforts.

How To Soothe: The reason behind colic is unclear, but it usually stops on its own by the third or fourth month. Until that happens, you may soothe your baby in the following ways:

Soothing sounds

While loud noises may cause your baby to start crying, mellow sounds may help soothe her. Your baby was accustomed to the deafening sounds inside the womb. Newborns are usually stuck on white noise because it reminds them of their previous home. Examples of white noise include household appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers, the radio or shushing sounds to her ears. Make sure the white noise is louder than your baby’s crying. White noise will help calm her down and even induce baby sleep.

Mellow motion

Your baby may calm down when they experience rhythmic movements, such as rocking in an infant swing or a rocking chair. Swing your baby in your arms for a few minutes, and she might stop crying. Place your baby in a stroller and step outside for a walk. The outdoors might distract her from crying. Try out various smooth movements to see which one calms your infant best.

Skin-to-skin contact

Newborns love human touch. In fact, skin-to-skin contact is far better compared to normal cuddling. When the baby is pressed against her mom’s chest and listening to her heartbeat, she feels like she’s in the womb. Moreover, the skin-to-skin contact with her mother brings about the warmth she previously felt in the womb. Findings have shown that babies who share skin-to-skin snuggles with their mothers cry less and breathe better. This also works well with fathers. Newborns enjoy the tactile sensation of daddy’s chest.


Swaddling is an ancient technique of snugly wrapping your newborn in a blanket. This technique generates a little pressure around the baby’s body, thereby promoting a sense of security and safety. The feeling is similar to the pressure she used to feel while in the uterus or womb. Consequently, it may help your infant to sleep. However, remember that some newborns don’t love being swaddled. Their reactions can give you an indication of that.

While swaddling, leave enough room for your baby to move his legs around. Do not wrap her too tightly, or else she may develop hip complications, such as hip dysplasia.

Taking care of a crying baby requires a lot of patience and energy, and it’s normal for you to feel helpless and stressed, especially when you are a first-time mom. The good news is that this will only be a temporary phase before your baby learns to express his or her needs verbally.

Before you go, here’s a reminder to take plenty of rest yourself so that you can give the best care to your baby. If you need trusted help during the first month after childbirth, a confinement nanny from PEM Confinement Nanny Agency will ensure you and your baby get the best care.


  • PEM Confinement Nanny Agency

    We are a group of frontliners and support team members who are passionate about sharing our knowledge and experience in confinement care. Representing the largest confinement nanny agency in Singapore which has served over 250,000 mothers in over 30 years, we are all about sharing useful and insightful information based on our experience to help new parents navigate this exciting chapter of their life better.