How to decode a newborn's cries every single time, according to an expert.

Year One
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New babies cry. All the time. 

It’s good, in a way. It means they’re alert and conscious and that all their sense are functioning properly.

But, as any parent will understand, deciphering what a crying baby actually wants is near-impossible.

Are they hungry? Thirsty? Do they need changing, or burping, or rocking? Are they overtired? Did they have a bad dream?

How on Earth can you figure out what it is they need when all they can do is cry?

Well, according to Midwife Cath Curtin… there is a way. She believes there are certain things new mums and dads worry about with newborns that they simply don’t need to. And that a crying baby usually only indicates one or two things.

Listen to Midwife Cath discuss everything a crying baby does and doesn’t want, on Year One, our post for brand new parents. Post continues after audio. 

“A baby is not concerned with a wet or pooey nappy. They don’t have the developmental capacity to say, ‘I have a dirty nappy and I’m going to cry’. It doesn’t upset them.”

As long as a newborn is being changed a few times each day, parents can rest assured that any crying in the first few weeks of life has nothing to do with the state of their nappy.


She goes on, “We really overdo it. We tend to change their nappy every time they cry.”

Parents can also be sure newborn crying has nothing to do with wanting sleep. Because, put quite simply, if a newborn is tired enough, their bodies take over. And they fall asleep.

Image supplied.

When it comes to crying, there are only a couple of things a new parent has to worry about.

"What upsets them is that they're hungry, and they're not close to us, so they don't have our smell," says Curtin.

"It's about feeding, feeding, feeding; keeping in your mind that you can't overfeed."

"It's that easy. Just sit and feed. Keep them close, keep them wrapped, keep them on the nipple."

You can listen to the full episode of Year One, all about the bringing a newborn baby home from hospital, below. 

Click here to join Year One With Baby on Facebook for more content, and to discuss everything surrounding the first year of your baby's life. 

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