Something we tell parents while assisting them in sleep training is that as long as your baby's needs have all been met, you can rest easy (or easier) during the process. It's much easier said that done, and sometimes hard to know for sure if your baby is not hungry or in pain- they can't fully communicate these issues with us, but we have some clues to figure it out.
First, what are the needs of a baby that must always be met before letting them cry - even for 3-5 minutes?
Is your baby dry?
Is your baby fed?
Is your baby healthy?
Is your baby safe?
Is your baby loved?
If the answers to all of these questions is YES, you are in good hands.
If the answer to ANY of these is NO, then you will want to address that item before sleep training.
When you are unsure of what your baby is trying to tell you, use this guide to understand their cries more closely.
Neh – hunger
Babies naturally make this sound when they are hungry, curling their tongue into the reflex suckling position, and are looking for food. You may also see this accompanied by closed fists showing signs of hunger, or latching on to your finger/sucking on your face or arm, upon being picked up.
Eh – upper wind (burp)
Try picking baby up and doing a firm burping pat on the back. Give this a few minutes to try before throwing in the towel.
Eairh – lower wind (gas)
Take baby from crib and place on your bed. Try bicycles with his/her legs, or place the baby over your lap on his/her belly to help relieve gas.
Heh – discomfort (hot, cold, wet)
Check your baby's diaper, check for a rash, for a fever, or perhaps even pain from teething.
Owh – sleepiness
Attempt to use a sleep training method to help soothe your baby back to sleep.
Source - www.dunstanbaby.com
Through listening closely to these different sounds that babies (typically under a year old) make, you can begin to meet their needs where they are and feel more confident as a parent.