All babies cry. Some more than others. As you get to know your baby better, you will recognize different cries. You will then also have a better idea why your baby is crying.
Until that time, you can try to find out by ruling a few things out. Are they hungry? Do they have a dirty nappy? Are they suffering from stomach cramps? Are they too warm or too cold?
Based on these answers you know what you can do to soothe your baby.
Most babies turn slightly yellow after birth, regardless of their skin colour. This is due to an excess of bilirubin (a breakdown product) in the blood getting in the baby’s skin. It is usually harmless and will subside after a few days. When the amount of bilirubin becomes too high, there’s a risk of brain damage. That is why we actively monitor the baby during the first few days. If the baby is too yellow, we can test the amount of bilirubin using a skin or blood test. If the level is too high most babies will be treated with light therapy at the hospital.
As babies switch from drinking amniotic fluid to (breast) milk, the intestines need to start working differently. This can cause stomach cramps. Almost all babies have this, usually during the fourth of fifth day after birth. Symptoms are excessive crying (almost screaming) and pulling up of the legs.
Stomach cramps aren’t harmful and will decrease within days. Until that time you can soothe your baby by letting him/her suckle on your finger or by putting your warm hand on their tummy. It can also help to position your baby stomach down on your forearm and gently rock him/her.