Crying baby: can you decipher his cries and tears?

Your baby often cries at night, 'for no reason' or as soon as you put him in bed? Crying is a means of expression that also marks the different phases of baby's development. Advice from Pr Marcel Rufo, child psychiatrist.

  Crying baby: can you decipher his cries and tears?

It exists different types of crying that parents learn to recognize as they go. In his book 'Raising baby', Professor Marcel Rufo details the life of the child, from his first week to his 6 years, and gives us his advice for better decipher baby crying . During the first month of infant , ' parents put intentionality into this crying by often associating it with pain. They say to themselves that the milk is too rich, that it hurts their stomach...they link the crying to food and pain, as if the child's digestion is bad. In fact, it's more about a baby's mode of communication . It vocalizes, it's part of its psychosomatic manifestations, it's an emanation from the body.' explains the child psychiatrist.

How does baby crying evolve?

Afterwards, the cries are associated with anxiety about leaving the baby alone. The baby understands that his parents take him in their arms when he cries. It is therefore for him a means of intense relationship. Crying serves him to be a partner of his parents. The crying is organized towards the second half of the child's life: we then see the appearance of sleep disorders, prepared by the intentionality that the parents have put in the crying of their child. It continues with a particular period: the night terrors , between 1 and 2 years old: the child has his eyes wide open and looks terrified, it is a preform of dreams. Around 18 months the baby will also decline the fears of childhood: fear of heights, fear of large animals, fear of being devoured... Moreover, this is when he begins to be able to put words , he can say 'afraid'.

How to calm evening crying?

Some babies cry in the form of a 'soft chant': they do not need to be picked up or cuddled: the presence of their mother is enough to reassure them. Others have real crying spells: you always have to respond to baby's cries. Don't hesitate to talk to him, pet him, hold his hands or if that's not enough, rock him, starting with a verbal contact and always operating gently. ' In the evening, the child is no longer carried, but how can you bear not being in your arms when you are there often during the day? ', note with Pr Rufo. When the child cries to be in arms , gentle detachment strategies are needed. To calm these cries, it is therefore in our best interest to talk to the baby: he understands the prosody, that is to say the musicality of the language. You can say to your baby: 'now it's bedtime, I'm happy to leave you, we'll see you tomorrow morning'. It is the transitional side of the voice that reassures the baby. This is the element that makes it able to detach. The mother reassuring herself about the situation also reassures her baby. The song of words is an extraordinary vector'.

How to recognize hunger cries?

It is composed of a shrill sound, followed by an inspiration and is accompanied by a short whistle and then a period of silence.

The cries of anger

Babies can have several timbres, which depend on the force with which the air passes through the vocal cords. But they are still 'very high-pitched and acoustically hard to bear'.

Pain-related crying

The mother often recognizes it: a first cry, a silence, an inspiration and then a series of exhalation cries.

The cry of frustration

It is a variant of that of pain. It is characterized by a cry followed by a long inspiratory whistle and it repeats. You observe it, for example, if you remove the child's feeding bottle .

cries of pleasure

It's a fairly loud cry, a kind of cry of joy: 'Besides, the mother feels it well and is not mistaken', notes the professor. 'She knows that her child is not crying. For example, we can observe this cry in the case of prolonged breastfeeding'.

Infant whims

The whims infant appear around the age of 18 months. ' And there, you have to know how to say no, and not to hold paradoxical speeches as we can sometimes hear, like 'my little darling, it's no, you don't have the right to do that'. The child only retains 'my little darling'! You need to be firm and simply say 'no, it's forbidden '', advises Professor Rufo. Also, how do you react when your child has a tantrum in a store, a waiting room or at a friend's house? ' He's rolling on the floor? We don't give in! If it is embarrassing that there are people, the attitude to adopt is on the contrary to take them to witnesses by asking them to help you by not intervening. .'

The sob spasm

The sob spasm is characterized by uncontrolled crying and violent hiccups. When the crisis reaches its climax, the child turns blue, his eyes roll back and he loses his breath. The demonstration can go until the loss of consciousness, the space of a moment. In general, such crises are provoked by anxiety, pain or frustration and always target a person to whom the child is attached. The spasm of the sob is more impressive than serious, the child generally regains consciousness without any particular intervention.

What to do in case of a sob spasm?

' A sob spasm can occur around 18 months of the child 'Analyze the Pr Rufo'. 'He turns purple and then loses consciousness and breathing resumes in an impressive breath. It happens sometimes when he manifests his character, during a whim! So it's a sign of progress (he asserts himself), but the child then opposes by somatizing, which creates respiratory arrest. In this case, you must pat his back then gently caress him when breathing resumes and above all, do not panic, because the child could be afraid and go back in a spasm. It's a bit like having an epileptic fit: the child has to reconnect, reconnect with what's around him. That's why he you have to be very calm.'

Should you consult when a crisis arises? '

The sobbing spasm is not serious. But it is still worth taking the child to a consultation, just to make a differential diagnosis and to make sure that the child does not in fact suffer from another pathology such as epilepsy, or a heart problem' .

(Comments collected in March 2010)