Care for Baby
Updated on 17 May 2023
Your baby’s first cry at birth is a sign of victory and life. Mothers only breathe a sigh of relief when they hear their baby’s first cry. It’s like music to their ears, something they will never forget for the rest of their lives. But it’s common to have questions about why babies cry after birth. In this article, we will discuss the truth behind why a child cries soon after its birth and much more.
Within seconds of the birth, your baby should start crying and breathing, which means their lungs are functioning properly. If everything is alright and your baby doesn’t require any special help, the nurse will place the baby on your chest or belly for skin-to-skin contact. Or she may first dry your baby and cover the little one with a warm blanket or towel.
Soon after the birth, the umbilical cord will need to be clamped and cut. Your partner may be allowed to cut the umbilical cord. However, if you had a caesarean section, any complications like heavy bleeding or your baby needs special care, the obstetrician will clamp and cut the cord. Don’t worry, cutting the cord will not be painful for you or your baby though it might be tough.
Your baby may look blue or purple in the initial few minutes of birth but that’s normal. If the baby’s breathing okay, the skin colour will gradually turn pink. Sometimes, the baby’s hands and feet may stay blue for a day because the blood vessels in your baby’s limbs are tiny and it may take the blood some time to circulate properly.
Your baby’s face and eyelids might be puffy or swollen and the feet and legs a little bowed or bent. But that’s how they were in utero and will soon turn normal. You may also notice some tiny bumps or pimples on your newborn’s skin but they are harmless and will disappear within a few weeks. Your baby’s top player skin will also flake off and lanugo (fine, downy hair at birth) will also wear off within weeks.
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Yes, it is essential for all babies to cry after birth. The first cry after birth signifies that a baby’s lungs are functioning well and they are able to breathe. However, some babies may not cry immediately after birth. If a baby’s first cry is delayed, they may need to be stimulated by the doctor or the nurse. In cases of emergency, the baby may require special attention.
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It’s crucial for a baby to cry within the first few minutes after their birth because it means they’re able to breathe. While in utero, babies breathe through their mothers’ placenta and breathe in the amniotic fluid. However, once they’re born, they must squeeze out all the amniotic fluid from their lungs. If a baby cries at birth, within minutes, the amniotic fluid gets replaced by air and the lungs begin to function.
During birth, babies feel immense pressure on their chest and are unable to breathe. After they are delivered into the world, the pressure eases and your baby’s breathing reflex will kick in. Your little one will soon cough out the fluid blocking their airways and begin to breathe air with their lungs.
Now that you know why babies cry after birth, it is something you should be proud of. You should enjoy these first cries of your baby- a sign their lungs are functioning well, they are awake and alive. Some newborns may continue to cry but that’s just because they are taking longer to transition from your womb to the world.
1. van Manen MA. (2017). The First Cry of the Child. Qual Health Res.
2. Lakshminrusimha S, Jobe AH. (2021). Baby's First Cries and Establishment of Gas Exchange in the Lung. Am J Respir Crit Care Med.
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