New Born Cries: Why They’re Not All The Same

‘What do I do?’ and ‘What does it mean?’ are two questions that every mother asks herself when her baby’s crying. Nevertheless, knowing what the different cries mean can make life much easier. 

It’s been over ten years since I last nursed and took care of a baby, but I still remember the tempestuous waves of crying coming from my child. They came unexpectedly and frequently and every time I was left baffled.

Then, as time went by, I started to understand the difference between a ‘neh’ and an ‘owh’ and what they meant. It came naturally, but ten years on, I wish someone had told me at the time.


The ‘Neh’ – Believe it or not, there really is a science to a baby’s cry. When a baby’s hungry, for example, his sucking reflexes kick in and his or her tongue is automatically pushed to the roof of the mouth creating the sound ‘neh’. As you can assume, this means he or she wants to be fed.

The ‘Heh’ – This is the sound babies make when they’re uncomfortable, and it can seem quite similar to the ‘Neh’. The trick is to make sure to listen out for the ‘h’ sound at the beginning. This can mean lots of things, however, including the need for a diaper change, that they’re feeling cold or feeling itchy.

The ‘Owh’ – Is basically a yawn and it means that the baby’s tired.

The ‘Eh’ – Similar to the ‘Neh’ and ‘Heh’, and elongated ‘Eh’ means that your baby needs to be burped.

The ‘Eair’ – The hardest to distinguish, the ‘Eair’ comes straight from the abdomen and means that the baby has gas in his or her lower abdomen. This sound is often accompanied by the baby pulling his or her knees or using his or her legs to push him/herself down.

Do you find it difficult to tell your child’s different cries apart? Did this help?

Let us know in the comments section below.