One of the best pieces of advice I found before becoming a mother was a snippet from an old Oprah episode that promised to decode a baby’s cries. I highly recommend watching the video in full, but for a quick summary, here’s the golden advice I took away from it.
- Neh = I’m hungry
- Heh = I’m tired
- Eh = I’m uncomfortable (gas etc.)
It’s amazing that infants universally make these cries, and also how tuned into them you’ll be if you know what to listen for.
But because even this method isn’t fail-proof, today I took the time to listen to Veronika when she cried. You can even ask your child, “Why are you crying?” They won’t be able to tell you yet, but it sets up two-way conversation and makes baby feel heard.
Also be sure to look for non-verbal cues (i.e. baby’s body language). Turning their head toward an object or stuffing fists near their mouth (otherwise known as “rooting”) is a sure sign that baby is hungry. Turning their face away is a good indicator that the baby might feel overwhelmed or overstimulated. And of course you can guess what little smiles or wide-open eyes mean!
If you really can’t figure out what the baby needs, take a pause for you both. I lay Veronika down on a blanket on the floor, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Calming yourself is equally as important in these moments as calming the baby.
Do you have a secret tool you use to decode baby’s cries? Please share in the comments!