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Crying & Communicating

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Normally, babies do not cry except when in pain, discomfort or if they are hungry.

There is a difference between a baby's cry and baby talk. If baby cries and there are tears in its eyes - it is in pain or discomfort. If it cries and there are no tears present - then baby is only hungry or thirsty. Babies cannot communicate with speech so they let us know how they feel by crying, weeping or both.

The baby may be hungry, thirsty, in discomfort, wish to urinate or defecate or feel insecure or threatened. When the babies wants are attended to - the crying will stop.

When a baby is ill and suffering great pain - it will weep. When there is extreme pain - the baby may scream or groan, grind its teeth, clench its fists and the body may writhe. There may also be excessive perspiration and trembling.

Often a baby in great pain will close its eyes tightly and the skin surrounding the eyes and forehead will be wrinkled into a frown.

Generally, the mouth will open widely and the lips will be retracted so the mouth will be square in shape. The breathing may be spasmodic.

When a child laughs, cries or weeps - it is registering its feelings in the only way open to it.

If there is pain or suffering, the cry, scream or groan will be loud and accompanied by weeping and when a child's discomfort is minor - it will often frown without crying or the cry will be soft.

Parents should learn to differentiate between crying and weeping and their various degrees of intensity and thus be able to arrive at a correct assessment of the baby’s needs.

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