Why a Newborn’s First Cry Matters

Why a Newborn’s First Cry Matters

Pregnancy or gestation is the period in which the embryo or the foetus develops within the mother's womb. The usual gestation period of a woman is between 38 and 42 weeks. It is a time for much hormonal and bodily change and after the long period of pregnancy, parents wait for their little one to finally appear in their life and make their presence felt for the first time. The first sign of the baby’s arrival is the newborn’s first cry. Doctors and parents usually associate this first cry as a signal that the baby is healthy and able to exercise their lungs. It is equally important to know a few things about your baby’s first cry.

Why does the newborn cry immediately after birth?

Obstetricians and doctors overseeing the birthing process and neonatologists watch out for the newborn baby’s first cry immediately after the baby is born. When the foetus is in the mother’s womb, it is surrounded by amniotic fluid. The lungs are the last organs to develop and the fetus gains its supply of both oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord. As soon as the baby is born and tries to breathe independently, it cries as an expression of healthy lung functioning. The baby starts to cry as soon as it draws its first breath and the lungs start to expand, drawing oxygen from the atmosphere.

Why is crying important?

As your infant starts to grow, crying may denote a number of things. Colicky babies cry often and this tends to upset parents. A newborn’s cry, however, is music to the parent’s ears. It signifies that the baby’s lungs, one of the most important organs for their survival, are functioning well. The first cry is also the baby's attempt to push out the remainder of the mucus and amniotic fluid that accumulate in the lungs and airways during the birthing process. Parents may learn about natural organic baby shampoo and baby products to keep away toxins that may affect the child’s lungs.

What happens if the baby does not cry as soon as it is born?

If a newborn does not utter a cry immediately after being born, doctors often take steps necessary to help the baby's lung function normally and for them to cry. The very first step could be to clear the mouth and airways of excess mucus and fluid. This is done through a suction pump. Massaging the baby's back gently sometimes jerks it into action.

Taping or spanking the baby's back may also be used as an aid to make them cry. If none of these aids work, the baby may be taken to NICU and oxygen may be supplied while the doctors check for normal lung function. In rare cases, a newborn infant may start breathing normally but may not utter a cry for a while. This is a rare scenario and the neonatologist present will be able to recognize such a scenario.

Crying is how newborns communicate

Newborns do not know any mode of communication other than crying. When they are hungry or need a change of diaper, are overwhelmed by the environment or are sleepy, newborn infants tend to cry. Sometimes they also cry to be held or for comfort or when they need attention. The new-born's cry for each of these is different and mothers learn to identify the difference between hunger, touch, and sleepy cries rather quickly.

An infant tends to cry in a low pitch with a “neh” sound when hungry but in a high shrill voice and “owh” sound when sleepy. A baby crying for comfort will be soothed when you talk in a calm, reassured tone. Swaddling the baby, rocking him/her, patting and stroking the baby also helps in soothing the child when he/she is overstimulated.

By the time parents start to look out for natural organic baby shampoo and other baby products, they may already be able to recognize and identify the baby’s various cries.

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