The Waah! Dictionary: What Your Baby's Cries Mean and How to Help Them StopBy the Our365 EditorsBabies cry. It’s how they communicate; it’s how they let off steam; and in fact, some researchers say it’s one of the many ways they learn about the world. On average, babies' crying increases to around two hours a day at 2 weeks, peaking at three hours at 6 weeks and tapering to about one hour a day at 12 weeks. Some babies cry more than others. Some of the crying can easily be stopped; some can’t. Here are some of the “standard” cries and what to do about them. Good luck! Remember, your baby’s crying isn’t a reflection of you or your parenting; it’s just what she does. What it means I'm hungry! How it sounds A low-pitched, on-and-off wail that stops when you give your baby the breast or bottle. When you'll hear it most From birth until about 3 weeks, babies cry mostly because they're hungry. (This might happen even more at about 10 days, when your baby has a growth spurt and is hungry 24/7.)Good to know Especially in the first few weeks, try to feed your baby before she cries from hunger. Among other reasons to do so: A ravenous baby can have a hard time latching on, which can lead to even more crying. So look for hungry-baby signs: Before she resorts to crying, a baby will let you know she wants to eat by opening her mouth, rooting for your nipple, trying to suck on your neck or your hand, or stuffing her own hand in her mouth. If you don't take the hint, she'll cry. What it means I'm exhausted!How it sounds It builds from a whimper to a full-fledged wail, and it might quiver or pulsate, as if the sound guy had added a “wah-wah” effect.When you'll hear it most After an unusually busy event or outing - social occasions, trips to the store and so on can be exhausting for newbies - and before naptime or bedtime. Of course, in the first couple of weeks, before your baby establishes a schedule, this could be anytime. Good to know A baby who is ready to sleep will fall asleep if you let her. But a baby who becomes overtired has a difficult time winding down and can grow distraught until she’s quietly calmed down. So watch for sleepy-time signs, including big yawns and glazed-over eyes; your infant will also develop her own signs, which you’ll soon learn to read and heed. What it means I want cuddles!How it sounds Cries that stop the minute you pick up your baby - and start again when you put him down.When you'll hear it most You never know when your baby is going to want some person-to-person contact. Newborns are used to feeling "hugged" by the womb; they're also used to being swayed and rocked during those nine months in utero. Some experts believe that the more you moved during your pregnancy, the more your newborn will need to be carried around and rocked. Good to know If you have a very clingy baby, consider carrying him in a sling or pouch as you go about your daily business. Some babies are just more "huggy," while others are hypersensitive to touch and can't tolerate being held for long; these babies might cry because they want to be put down. What it means I've got gas!How it sounds Screechy. Your baby might also pull her legs up to her chest and arch her back.When you'll hear it most After the second or third week, colic (seemingly inexplicable newborn crying that can go on for hours and might have something to do with gas) accounts for increased crying in about 25 percent of babies. Good to know A newborn's immature digestive system can produce lots of gas. Rubbing your baby’s back and bouncing her might help; if not, try "pedaling" her legs to help her dispel the gas. What it means I'm overwhelmed!How it sounds Soft wimpering that grows louder and more fraught with every minute. When you'll hear it most Having spent nine months in the quiet, dark privacy of the womb, your baby may be easily overcome by the world’s lights, noises and movement. In the first week or two, she might sleep through much of the hubbub. But as she stays awake for longer and her vision develops, watch for overstimulation.Good to know You can help your baby calm down before she even starts crying by keeping an eye out for overstimulation. The most obvious early sign is avoidance. A baby who's had enough will turn his head away when you try to engage him; it's his way of protecting himself from even more stimulation. Other signs: He might get jittery, his breathing might speed up or he might look totally spaced out. Help him calm down by gently rocking him, swaddling him or letting him suck on your finger or breast - and don't talk to him!What it means I'm uncomfortable!How it sounds Whiny, nasal, continuousWhen you'll hear it most Your baby might be wet or about to have a bowel movement, have a sore butt or feel too warm or too cold.Good to know Newborns can't regulate their own temperature the way you can - they don't sweat to cool down or shiver to warm up. So you'll have to adjust clothing and covering to compensate. What it means That hurts!How it sounds A sudden high-pitched shriek followed by loud wailsWhen you'll hear it most There's no telling when. This kind of cry can mean that something external (a fall off the bed? a pin?) has hurt the baby. Or the pain might be internal. Good to know If you can't find the source of the pain and your baby keeps wailing, call her doctor.