Originally posted by Samuel's Mum (Emma) on 17th June 2007.
From Secrets of the Baby Whisperer p.86-88
Tired or overtired
Starts as cranky irregular frequency fussing but if not stopped quickly escalates to an overtired cry: first 3 short wails followed by a hard cry, then 2 short breaths and a longer, even louder cry. Usually they cry and cry and if left alone will fall asleep.
Blinks, yawns. If not put to bed, physical signs can include back arching, legs kicking and arms flailing, may grab own ears or cheeks and scratch face (a reflex); if you are holding him, squirms and tries to turn into your body. If he continues to cry his face will become bright red.
Of all the cries the most often misinterpreted for hunger. Therefore pay close attention to when it occurs. It may come after playtime or after someone has been cooing at baby. Squirming is often mistaken for colic.
Long hard cry. Similar to overtired.
Arms and legs flail; turns head away from light; will turn away from anyone trying to play with him.
Usually comes when baby has had enough playing an adult keeps trying to amuse him.
Needs a change of scene
Cranky fussing that starts with noises of annoyance rather than outright cries.
Turns away from object placed before her; plays with fingers
If it gets worse when you change position then she might be tired and needs a nap.
Unmistakable shrill high-pitched scream that comes without warning; may hold breaths between wails and start again.
Whole body tenses and become rigid, which perpetuates the cycle, because the air can’t pass; pulls knees upward to chest, face is scrunched in an expression of pain, tongue wiggles upward, like a little lizard.
All newborns swallow air, which can cause wind. Throughout the day you’ll hear a tiny, squeaky wincing sound in the back of the throat – that’s air swallowing. Wind can also be caused by irregular feeding patterns.
Slight cough like sound in the back of the throat; then out comes the first cry. It short to begin with then more steady: waa, waa, waa rhythm.
Baby starts to subtly lick her lips and then ‘root’ – tongue starts coming out and turns head to side; pulls fist toward mouth.
The best way to discern hunger is look at when baby last ate. If she’s on EASY it removes some the guesswork.
Full-out crying with bottom lip quivering.
Tiny goose bumps on skin; may shiver; cold extremities; skin can sometimes have a bluish tinge.
Can happen with a newborn after a bath or when you’re changing and dressing her.
Fussy whine that sounds more like panting, low at first, about five minutes; if left alone will eventually launch into a cry.
Feels hot and sweaty; flushed; pants instead of breathing regularly; may see red blotchiness on baby’s face and upper torso.
Different from fever in that cry is similar to a pain cry; skin is dry, not clammy. (Take temperature to be sure)
Where’d you go? I need a cuddle
Cooing sounds suddenly turns into short waas that sound like a kitten; crying disappears the minute baby is picked up.
Looks around, trying to find you.
If you catch this straight away you may not need to pick baby up (pat on back, soft words of reassurance).
Fussing, even crying after a meal.
Spits up frequently
This often occurs when sleepiness and overstimulation are mistaken for hunger.
Grunts or cries when feeding
Squirms and bears down; stops nursing; has bowel movement.
May be mistaken for hunger. Mum often thinks she’s ‘doing something wrong’.