Why do children cry? Understand and learn how to identify the causes

Published on 04/30/2022 13:59


(credit: personal archive)

“Why do children cry so much?” If you’re a parent – or have flown with kids – you’ve definitely asked yourself this question. A crying baby can be desperate. Especially when you don’t know why or how to help the child. The result is the whole family tense and frustrated.

However, Australian musician (and mother) Priscilla Dunstan has developed a method that categorizes baby crying into five types, based on the baby’s reactions. I realized that no matter what country children live in, they cry with the same “voice”.

Diane dos Anjos, breastfeeding consultant and founder of Manual do Recém-Nascido, explains that crying is a baby’s only form of communication and can have several causes. “A baby can cry for a variety of reasons: hunger, thirst, sleep, heat, cold, regurgitation, soiled diapers, uncomfortable position, and even physiological needs such as gas, the urge to defecate or the need to burp,” Dayan says.

According to the breastfeeding consultant, to understand the request of the baby, it is necessary to observe how he cries: the sound he makes, the movement of the mouth, the way he behaves.

At first it might seem that all choruses are the same and it’s hard to tell them apart, but that’s okay. Over time, we get to know our baby and find it easier to explain,” says Dayan.

Ms Flavia Cecilio, a second-time mother, thought that through the experience she gained with her oldest son, Luca Cecilio, aged 12, she would be able to better handle the demands of her newborn, 4-month-old Noah.

Businesswoman Flavia Cecilio and her children Luca, 12, and Noah, 4 months.
Businesswoman Flavia Cecilio and her children Luca, 12, and Noah, 4 months.
(Photo: Rafael Medeiros / clone)

“I know that natural and environmental factors like hunger, cold, heat, diapers, and noise can be bothersome to a baby. The reaction is crying,” says Cecilio, when he says he loves to read and seek information on topics that include offspring.

As for the breastfeeding specialist, Flavia is right. “A practical example is that when a baby is hungry, he cries and points his tongue at the roof of his mouth, making an ‘nhé’ sound. He does this because they are signs of the sucking reflex. But besides this, there is also the body of expression: the newborn looks at the mother’s breast with his mouth and even sucks. hands,” explains Diane.

According to speech therapist Adriana Assunção, from birth, babies cry as a biological response to pain or hunger. And after two or three months, this cry begins to differentiate, allowing the caregiver to understand what the baby wants.

“Crying is a communicative act and should not be ignored. The child uses it to communicate. It is normal for the child to stop crying after treatment. Intermittent crying is not normal. If the child is cared for and continues to cry, it is important to seek help to check that there are no other causes,” warns the speech therapist .

At the moment, Flavia is already beginning to understand Noah’s demands, because at the age of 4 months, mother and baby are already interacting well. “However, I admit that we are still in the process of knowing,” says the businesswoman.

Luca and Noah’s mother says she was desperate at times, after trying all the alternatives she knew, but to no avail. “I felt helpless and desperate to see him cry and nothing I can do can solve the problem,” she says.

Sometimes, in moments of seemingly inexplicable crying, what Flavia does is watch the baby and the signals he himself gives to the mother. And when all the physiological requirements are met, the Cecilio family secret is simple and powerful: cuddles, breast milk and lots of love.

The five types of crying, according to Priscilla Dunstan:

a reason behavior sound
starving Based on the suction reflex. The child touches his tongue with the roof of his mouth “intention”
gases The child presses on the rib cage and abdomen as if to expel something outside the body “Eh” or “Ah”
Discomfort More frequent and persistent crying. It could be a soiled diaper, heat, cold, uncomfortable position, irritating environment, or longing for a lap hey
sleeping Baby’s mouth looks oval like a yawn “Ah” or “Ah”
pain or cramping A stronger cry, more intense anger, and the child’s expression shows suffering “Eyre”

Check out the Newborn Guide post below that shows the video types of crying by causes:

According to Dunstan, crying is independent of the child’s language or nationality, because the language used is completely natural, based on the child’s primal reflexes.

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