How To Decode Your Baby’s Crying And 9 Ways To Make It Stop

flickr / Sam Stanton
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A crying kid is the psychic equivalent of a knife to the solar plexus. And that’s not an understatement. In fact, “sound stress” used to prepare American soldiers for the possibility of brutal enemy detainment routinely includes the sound of babies crying. That and Yoko Ono. Oh, no!

Luckily, in your daily dad life, you will have the opportunity to try and calm your crying kid, thus saving your psychic solar plexus from the blade. You just need the right tools. As for the Yoko? Just turn off the damn record, dude. Problem solved.

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Something To Cry About

Of course the first step to solving any problem is to find out what the hell is causing it. Luckily you can troubleshoot your baby pretty quickly. Most issues are related to some kind of physical discomfort. These can range from hunger to gas. Which is totally understandable. Your gas makes your partner tear up all the time.

Now, you could just go down the list and try to solve the problem by offering food, then changing a diaper, then trying to burp your kid and on and on … Or you could make like a wizard and translate their cries.

The Crying Game

One-time mezzo-soprano Priscilla Dunstan claims to have unlocked the secret instinctual language of baby cries. Her Dunstan Method was impressive enough to be featured by Oprah, so maybe it will work for you. Because you get a crying baby, and you get a crying baby, and you get a crying baby. Everybody gets a crying baby!

The (totally not scientifically proven but anecdotally lauded) idea behind the Dunstan Method is that babies will modulate the sound of their cries based on what they need. It breaks down like this:

  • Neh: “Yo, I’m hungry! So I’m making this noise by moving my mouth the way I do when I suck on a boob.”
  • Owh: “Hey guys? I’m tired. That’s why I’m making this noise with my mouth that’s like weird yawn. So can you turn down the Netflix and let me sleep, already?”
  • Heh: “Oh, bro. I’m really physically uncomfortable right now. Heh. I think I may have shit myself.”
  • Eairh: “Wow, this gas is really painful and I may actually be trying to poop right now. That’s why I have my knees lifted up like this. Can you give me an assist?”
  • Eh: “Dude, I cannot get this burp out. That is a crazy bummer. Could you gently whack me on the back?”

It’s worth a shot trying to figure these out. But, course there are other ways to decode your kid’s cries.

Super Soother

So sure, now you (maybe) know what’s making your child cry. Most likely ‘cause they were born into this evil world where man is killing man and no one knows just why. But what’s next? Do you take a cue from White Lion and just let them know you tried? No. Those dudes were terrible. Instead do one of these things:

  • Hold the kid so that they’re positioned on their stomach or side, rather than their back.
  • Make like a white noise machine and make some shushing noises. Just don’t pass out.
  • Jiggle and sway the kid. Doing the stanky could work here. But not the whip and or nene.
  • Turn your kid into a burrito with some epic swaddling skills.
  • Go for a ride in the country where the kid’ll get both white noise and movement.
  • Offer a pacifier.
  • Give them a bath.
  • Try to hold your kid like a white haired pediatrician who possesses some secret magic.

Of course, if all this fails, and you’re feeling a little Guantanamo-ish, the best thing to do might be to put your kid securely in their crib and walk away until you cool off. But maybe don’t try to drown out their cries with your favorite Yoko tracks. That might backfire.

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