Looks like you’re in the USA or Canada. Visit our US site Mom365 to search baby names, get offers and to connect with local Moms.

Take me there No thanks, I’ll stay here
Close
Close

Join Bounty for free today

For weekly personalised pregnancy and parenting emails, and lots more…

Why should you join Bounty? Here's why:

  • Four free packs full of goodies
  • Four free guides full of expert advice
  • Exclusive and personalised offers - save up to 70%!
  • Member only competitions 
sleep-and-crying

The multiple meanings of waaaah

What your baby is trying to tell you when they cry

So, babies cry. It’s a fact that no one can argue with.

But it’s also a way that they communicate with us and experts also claim it helps them figure out the big wide world around them.

At a glance

  • Experts believe some cries signal certain things
  • Soothe your baby with cuddles
  • What your baby is trying to tell you when they cry
fast-facts-sleeping-and-crying

In the first few weeks and months you’ll find your little one cries quite a bit – although some are more chilled out than others.

Either way it doesn’t make it easier when your little one is crying and you’re not quite sure what’s wrong.

Bounty - tested by mums

To give you a hand we’ve put together a little guide to some of the most common cries, what they mean and what you can do – with some help from the experts of course!

1. Crying sounds like…                                                                                                                             

A low pitched wail that is on and off. Stops when you feed your little one.

Your baby is saying
‘Mummy, I’m hungry, feed me!’

When are you most likely to hear it?
Until your little one is about three weeks old (although, let’s be honest we still get a little bit grouchy when we’re hungry now)!  And while they are having a growth spurt, in fact you may find that your little one uses this kind of cry until they can actually tell you they need food.  

Top tearful tip
You’ll probably quickly learn to read the ‘I’m hungry signs’ so act before your little one gets too worked up from hunger rage. If you’re breastfeeding, nipping the crying in the bud quickly will mean your baby is more likely to latch on – read the signs of rooting and take the hint that sucking on your neck or their fists is a clue they are getting ready for food.


2. Crying sounds like…

A whimper that increases to a loud wail over a short period of time

Your baby is saying
‘Mummy, I’m really tired and I need to have a sleep.’ Or, ‘I’m overtired’.

When are you most likely to hear it?
Until your little one develops a routine you’ll probably find this type of crying is very common, especially if you’ve taken them out for a busy day of meeting friends and family, or even a trip to the park.

Top tearful tip
Watch out for classic sleepy symptoms such as big yawns and red or glazed eyes and act on these signs quickly. Leaving your little one too long may mean that they become overtired and harder to settle.

3. Crying sounds like…

On off crying, which stops as soon as you pick your baby up.

Your baby is saying
I want cuddles and lots of them.

When are you most likely to hear it?
Anytime your baby wants some comfort. Remember, coming into the big wide world after being cuddled up in your womb for nine months is a big ordeal for a newborn!

Top tearful tip
Your little one is bound to love cuddles and until they are old enough to fit into a routine – experts guess this is around three months (link to three months)– there’s nothing wrong with giving them cuddles and picking them up as much as you, or they, like. If you have a particularly clingy baby then think about buying a sling, which means you can keep them close while you get things done around the house.

4. Crying sounds like…

Screechy, non-stop. Your baby may also pull their legs up to their tummy and arch their backs, or go red.

Your baby is saying…
I’ve got wind (or colic) mummy!

When are you likely to hear it?
Little digestive systems are still developing so their little stomach can easily get disrupted and produce lots of gas, otherwise known as colic. You’ll probably find that your baby begins this type of crying around the three week stage. The good news is they’ll probably grow out of it at around the three month stage.

Top tearful tip
Rubbing your baby’s back may help relieve some of the pain and trapped wind, while giving them a small belly massage may also help. Some mums claim that a relaxing bath with baby can help calm a windy little one down too.

5. Crying sounds like…

A sudden high pitched wail followed by loud crying

Your baby is saying
‘Ouch mummy, it hurts’.

When are you likely to hear it?
We all get unexpected pain, whether it’s a sudden earache or more a physical pain. Therefore this type of crying can occur at any time when it comes to your little one, who may have a sore bottom, fever, or has fallen off the bed.

Top tearful tip
If you can’t work out the problem and your baby is getting more and more distressed then call your GP as soon as possible.

Crying out for help?

It’s more than normal to feel that you can’t take any more if you have a baby that cries all the time.  Don’t be ashamed to ask for help; ask your health visitor if there is any local support for parents of crying babies. Some areas also run a telephone helpline, while forums are also a great place to speak to mums in the same boat.

CRY-SIS is an organisation, which offers support through a helpline 0845 1228 669. Here you can talk to mums who have had crying babies themselves, and know just what you’re going through.

At a glance

  • Experts believe some cries signal certain things
  • Soothe your baby with cuddles
  • What your baby is trying to tell you when they cry

The multiple meanings of waaaah