Meaning of different baby cries
For me, this wasn't something that I felt that I automatically knew. I nursed my daughter, so most of the time, she wanted to nurse, if not for nourishment, then just for comfort and calming, and that went a long way.
In the early days, I'd nurse, burp, check her diaper, and probably nurse again. Once I got used to her patterns (and that wasn't something I realized I was doing either), I'd have good idea of what her cries meant, but I never felt like I could tell just from hearing a cry out of context what my baby would want. Context is incredibly important.
There was a point where I felt like my baby was crying too much in the first two months, and nothing I was doing would help, so when I asked my doctor, she prescribed medication for reflux, and that really helped. That was the first time I felt like my mom instinct was really working. My baby was crying, and somehow, I could sense it wasn't for a normal reason--it was a cry of pain, and the treatment confirmed. So maybe on some level I could tell what the crying meant, but it took practice and happened on an unconscious level.
Now, my senses are honed, and I can tell from her gestures and what she was doing what she wants. Maybe my honed senses will be better for my next baby.