Understanding the Body-Sign Language of Newborns
Hearing your baby crying inconsolably for extended periods of time doesn’t just give you a throbbing headache, it also gives you a massive heartache! And research studies show that some babies are fussy babies no matter what their mothers do. In fact, you can typically say that around 3 out of 5 babies’ personalities can be described as ultra-sensitives, fussy-fidgeters or cranky-grumps! The textbook-angel babies are in the minority. But, because our little babes are unable to explain what their jolly problem is, it becomes essential that caregivers look holistically (at the whole picture) of what is going on with their wee darling. Here’s the wisdom:
Cry – Cranky grumpy fussing noises (eg grizzling, whining, grunting) or nasal-sounding wailing cry; with facial grimacing, tense body, clenched fists, first yawn or jerky arms and legs.
Cure – Put to bed, swaddled like a burrito.
Cry – Short wailing cries with short breaths in-between, escalating to long hard red-in-the-face crying; along with flailing arms, kicking legs, wide-eyed stare or squirming stiff body.
Cure – Put to bed swaddled like a burrito, and expect some fussing before Bubs is able to settle to sleep. Next time avoid putting to bed when overtired!
Cry – No cry, but increasing alertness, pursed lips, lip-smacking, sticking tongue out to sides or trying to suck.
Cure – Feed Bubs!
Cry – Small cough-cough sounds, then rhythmic demanding aaah-aaah-aaah cries, with above Hungry signs.
Cure – Feed Bubs (!) but there could be some fussing for Bubs to be able to settle into smooth rhythmic suckling. Next time avoid feeding when over-hungry!
Cry – Silent screams or high-pitched wailing shrills; along with tongue curling upwards, gasps/pants, screwed-up face or tense rigid body.
Cure – Burp Bubs.
Cry – Weak cry; along with under 500g monthly weight-gain, less than six pees daily, infrequent dry hard or green poo, worried-looking face or overly sleepy.
Cure – 2-3 Hour feeds and prompt health professional consultation preferably with LMC, Hospital midwife, Lactation Consultant or Plunket.
Cry – Incessant crying; along with lots of wind, frequent green poo, baby head-bang arching during feeds and your breast squirting milk some distance.
Cure – Expressing excess off breasts before feeding, sit inclined backwards during feeds, drink sage/jasmine tea, eat parsley (eg tabbouleh) and consult with your LMC, Lactation Consultant or Plunket.
Cry – Dissatisfied irritated frustrated baby; along with short frequent feeds, slow weight gain, and mother enduring excruciating nipple pain during feeds and consequential painful nipple trauma.
Cure – Consultation with LMC and Lactation Consultant, and possible Fraenotomy (minor procedure of a tongue-tie snip).
RAPID BRAIN DEVELOPMENT PHASES
Cry – Regular inexplicable cranky-clingy-crying days.
Cure – No cure. These are normal predictable phases at around 5 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 19 weeks, 26 weeks, 37 weeks, 46 weeks, 55 weeks, 64 weeks and 75 weeks.
Cry – Prolonged whiny nasal low-pitched crying, or weak crying; along with 38+°C temperature, vomiting, diarrhoea, unresponsiveness, wheezing, pale skin, rash, coughing or refusing feeds.
Cure – If under 4-weeks-old seek urgent medical attention; if 1-3 months-old seek prompt medical attention; and if over 3-months-old seek medical attention as you feel necessary.
Cry – Grizzly fretful sooky irritable crying; along with sleep disturbance, mild fever, being ‘mouthy’, dribbling saliva, mild diarrhoea, nappy rash, refusing feeds or red cheek(s).
Cure – Infant paracetamol, barley drink, homeopathic teething remedies, Bonjela™ teething gel and chilled teething toys.
Cry – Whiny whimpering moan or annoyed roaring cry; along with turning away from objects or playing with their fingers, and the crying abruptly ending when you pick him up.
Cure – Change of scene (babies can find quite simple views fascinating).
Cry – Colicky in-pain crying; along with irritability, watery acidic diarrhoea, swollen bloated abdomen, excessive farting or rumbling stomach.
Cure – Consultation with LMC/Plunket/GP, makig sure Bubs receives fattier ‘hindmilk’ (ensuring breasts are completely drained), avoid infant snack-feeding, try lactase drops, and visit with a classical homeopath, naturopath and/or cranial osteopath.
Cry – Colicky in-pain crying; along with hives rash, eczema, dermatitis, diarrhoea, wheezy congested sniffles, clear runny nose, vomiting, constipation, or nappy rash.
Cure – Consultation with LMC/Plunket/GP, remove dairy from mother’s diet and avoid introducing formula, or if formula feeding change to non-cow variety, try naturopathic/homeopathic antihistamines, and visit with a classical homeopath, naturopath and/or cranial osteopath.
Cry – Colicky in-pain crying; along with vomiting (possibly projectile), erratic feeding, latching then refusing feeds, fussing after feeds, wailing when laid down, excessive drooling, wet hiccup burps, sour breath, recurrent coughing wheeze, gagging throaty noises, excessive swallowing, frequent respiratory problems or poor weight gain.
Cure – Consultation with LMC/Plunket/GP, continuance of breastfeeding as it is a natural antacid and more easily digested, mother taking lactation herbs (such as Blessed Thistle); frequently feeding and burping baby, using winding or antacid drops, positioning baby semi-upright when awake, elevate head-end of bassinet/cot, and visit with a classical homeopath, naturopath and/or cranial osteopath. (If formula-feeding, also swap to thickened formula.)
Cry – Loud prolonged, intense and inconsolable high-pitched shrill crying for 3-4 hours, at about the same time each day, starting at 2-4 weeks of age; along with flailing arms, clenched fists, taut tummy or drawn-up legs.
Cure – Consultation with LMC/Plunket/GP, information from colic support groups, reading pages 284-289 in Kathy Fray’s book “Oh Baby”, and visit with a classical homeopath, naturopath and cranial osteopath.
Monotonous Sounds – Such as ‘White Noise’ CDs, soothing infant CDs, radio on easy-listening station, or a ticking metronome (set at about 60 beats).
Visual Hypnotisers – Such as a fish aquarium, revolving ceiling fan, clock’s swinging pendulum, curtains blown by the wind, or ticking metronome (set at about 60 beats).
Delightful Sights – Such as pictures of smiling faces or animals, smelling flowers, looking at self in a mirror, and watching ‘Baby Einstein’ type infant DVDs.
Gentle Movement – Such as baby swings, car-rides, pram-strolls and walks in a front or back-pack.
Warm Fuzzies – Such as being cradled in a sling, snuggling skin-to-skin so Bubs can feel your heartbeat, lavender baths, baby massage, singing, humming and dancing with an adult.