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Newborn Basics

Q&A: Why Is Baby Crying?

How can I tell if baby is crying because of fatigue or pain?

Interpreting baby's cries can be daunting when you feel like you've just started to get the hang of parenthood. And when we say "get the hang of" we mean you've recently discovered that bottle nipples have different flows and mastered the art of one-handed emailing.

Let's focus on the "I'm in pain" cry first. All the shots baby gets the first year of life do more than keep your child healthy.They also teach you what your child sounds like when he is in pain. For most babies, this is a high-pitched, "I-can't-stop-to-take-one-breath-of-air-and-wait-I-thought-I-could-trust-you-adult-people!" cry.  It is a clear distress call and is probably something you remember vividly even if it's been months since you last heard it.

The "I'm tired" cry can be more subtle so it's important to watch your baby for visual cues. Common signs of tiredness include eye rubbing,yawning, pulling of ears, nose or hair, clinginess, and suddenly becoming very hyperactive.  Once you notice baby showing any of these signs he is actually already overtired. The trick is to put your child down to sleep before he shows any of these signs.

By Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, cofounders of Dream Team Baby