Why Do Babies Cry When They Are Born

Why Do Babies Cry When They Are Born: Is It Necessary?

Becoming a parent for the first time is possibly one of the most amazing moments in your life. It signifies a new chapter in your life and the beginning of a roller coaster that is never going to end, at least not for a while.

It also means finding out as much as possible about your little being’s development. With all the pregnancy apps around nowadays, you can share all sorts of milestones, like its size compared to popular vegetables, and up-to-date information for first-time dads.

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Old Wives Tales and Newborn Babies

The wonder of a newborn baby has its own mystery around it and there are loads of old wives tales about what you should and shouldn’t do with your newborn.

There are some weird and wonderful old wives tales that circulated way back when but there’s a very god chance you’ll hear a few still:

  • Drying up breast milk – if you are trying to dry up breast milk in the old days, you will express some milk on a rock. When that dries up, the milk in your breasts will be dried up too.
  • Bath your baby in Guinness Stout – Guinness was obviously a cheap back way then and bathing your baby in it would help nourish its skin.
  • Babies and Mirrors – Mirrors and babies were not to meet until your baby was a year old. Otherwise, it would steal his soul.
  • Washed baby’s clothes - washing baby’s clothes before being worn was considered bad luck.
  • Blow smoke in a baby’s ear – apparently, this would put him to sleep.

One old wives tale that rang true then and still holds water today is that a newborn baby has to cry. In the old days, it was thought his lungs wouldn’t develop and although we know that isn't the exact reason. However, we do know it’s important for babies to cry when they are born.


Why Do Babies Cry When They Are Born?

There’s a sweet little saying about birthday: The only day in your life, your mother smiled when you cried.

The only day in your life, your mother smiled when you cried

When a baby makes his or her first appearance, we want to know that he is healthy and well and one of the main signs is a set of healthy working lungs. Usually, babies cry for a few seconds after being born.

Believe me, the sound of that hearty scream for the very first time is like hearing a choir of angels. This is the most obvious way of telling that you’ve given birth to a healthy bundle.


Healthy Working Lungs

A baby cries to test out their lungs for the first time. Well, it’s not quite the first time. Babies actually practice the motion of crying before they are born because they instinctively know this simple action will cause their lungs to expand.

While in uterus, your little one doesn’t breathe like we do; instead they take in oxygen through the placenta via the umbilical cord. But as soon as babies are outside, they realize that they need to breathe to stay alive.

By clever design, your baby does the only thing he knows; he gives a good old hearty scream, his lungs fill up and for the very first time they expand and become their own functioning organs.

Your baby’s first cry is also a way of getting rid of amniotic residue in his lungs and nasal passages. The simple act of crying gets rids of excess fluid that may be in the nose, mouth or lungs. While most babies do it naturally, others might need a little bit of encouragement.


How Do Doctors Get Your Baby to Cry

Because the first cry is one of the easiest ways to tell your child is healthy, it’s important they do. However, for whatever reason, not all babies let out that first yell on their own and might need some encouragement.

Comedies and sitcoms might portray the doctor turning the baby upside down and giving the newborn an enthusiastic pat on the bottom and years and years back it was common the baby by its feet, with a firm grip of course, and tapped baby’s rear.

This was a simple and effective way to get the baby to let out a little yelp, which would clear the airwaves and mark his or arrival.

In 2017, we might consider this to have been cruel and damaging to a baby’s psychological development, but it wasn’t. They don’t do this any more because there are different simpler ways to achieve the same results.

Doctors Get Baby to Cry

What Happens If a Baby Doesn't Cry Immediately?

Straight after your baby is born, he is given an evaluation to see how well he can adapt to life outside the womb. This includes putting the baby in a warming unit and drying off all the moisture in order to minimize any heat loss.

Along with this the newborn (now called a neonate) has its mouth and nose suctioned to get rid of all the excess secretions that might be hampering its first breath and usually the baby will cry within 30 seconds.

Gently rubbing baby’s back, tickling under the feet (no, it won’t cause the baby to stutter) or rubbing with a soft towel or blanket will do the trick.


What Does It Mean If Your Baby Doesn't Cry?

Having a baby is a terrifying experience and while there are certain "norms" no one birth is the same, and neither is each baby. While there may be some medical reasons a baby doesn’t cry at birth, it’s important to know not all babies do, and that’s okay.

The medical team or specialists are there to monitor how your baby is transitioning from the womb to the room, and as long as they are happy with a quiet little bundle of pinkness that is breathing easily on its own, you can rest easy.

Whether you agree with it or not, some people believe babies are wired differently, and while some choose to come into the world with a battle cry others make a calm and collected entrance, with eyes wide open and a little smile already on their lips.

About the Author Amy Duncan

Amy Duncan is the founder of KindMommy, a blog where she's providing helpful information about pregnancy and many useful tips for young parents. Besides writing, Amy loves to cook and travel with her friends and family. You can also find Amy on Twitter (@AmyKindmommy).

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