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Coming to believe that someone 
is going to be there taking care of you 
is an important lesson to learn.
Coming to believe that someone
is going to be there taking care of you
is an
important lesson to learn.
(# 0305)


451 words


A Pocket Guide To Translating A Baby’s Cry
by Dianne Roth


Babies cry. That’s what babies do. Without a healthy cry, it is possible babies would not survive.

Crying is a means of communication. Unfortunately, adults often cannot translate the crying. Here is a handy guide like the one you pick up at the bookstore when you are traveling in a country that does not speak English.

Crying when waking up:
“Cuddle me! I’ve missed you.”
“Kiss me! I bumped my head!”
“Change me! I’m soaking wet!”
“Feed me! I’m starving!” **
“Put me back to bed, I’m not ready to wake up!”


Crying when playing:
“Cuddle me! I thought you disappeared!”
“Kiss me! I pinched my finger!”
“Change me! I pooped my diaper!”
“Feed me! I’m starving!” **
“I’m over stimulated. I need quiet rest time.”


Crying when eating (** do not put food in a crying child’s mouth, he might choke):
“Cuddle me!” Carrots from a spoon are not as good as milk from you!”
“Kiss me! I just bit my finger!”
“Change me! My diaper rash hurts!”
“Feed me faster! I’m starving!” **
“Put me to bed! I cannot hold my head up any longer!”


Crying in the car:
“Cuddle me! Being buckled in is no longer fun!”
“Kiss me! You are not looking at me!”
“Change me! Just get me out of this seat!”
“Feed me! I’ll eat anything!” **
"Stroke my face to help me fall asleep!”


Crying in the middle of the night:
“Cuddle me! I got scared!”
“Kiss me! ... just because!”
“Change me! My jammies are soaking wet!”
“Feed me! Warm milk is just what I need!”
“Cover me! I woke up because I’m cold!”


Crying when you are cuddling:
“Cuddle me! I don’t know what is wrong!”
“Kiss me! I am tired and just can’t stop crying!”
“Change me! A dry diaper is so comforting!”
“Feed me!” **
"Put me to bed! I am exhausted and do not know what I am doing!”

As you can see, crying is what babies do. There is no problem unless the adult develops a serious case of frustration, fatigue, or anger. If that happens, it is time to separate yourself from the baby. Put the baby in the crib and close the door. Crying alone is terrible, but it is better than being shaken, hit, or yelled at.

Call in reinforcements. Let someone else take care of the baby while you get over being upset. Call the doctor or go to the emergency room. There may be something really wrong. Be honest, tell the doctor that the crying is driving you crazy. She will do what she can to help you.

And, remember, the less a baby cries, the less the baby needs to cry. So, cuddle, kiss, change the diaper, keep them fed, and help them get plenty of sleep. More than likely, your undivided attention is all that is necessary.


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.



Last updated on October 8, 2012