Important Cues Your Baby is Giving You
October 24, 2017
As a new parent, it can be difficult to understand what your baby is trying to tell you with the many different behaviors they exhibit. But, once you start to figure it out and recognize what these cues mean, it’s very rewarding and can help deepen your bond with your baby. Once you understand their needs, it’s much easier to meet them — and in some cases, like an uncomfortable diaper rash, the help of a Motherlove product like Diaper Balm, can come to the rescue and ease baby’s discomfort.
Seeing the Signs
Is baby tired or in pain? Overstimulated or bored? The signs your baby gives may be unclear to you at first, but if you focus on the indicators below, you will soon understand your baby’s needs. Here are some of the many cues your baby uses to communicate with you:
- Rooting. Newborns are programmed to seek the nipple when they are hungry. Rooting is an early cue that your baby is hungry and ready to nurse. Since they are often snuggled skin-to-skin with mom in those first few days and weeks, they perform this search not with their hands, but by turning toward anything that touches their cheek in the search for your nipple.
- Gaze aversion. While looking deeply into each other’s eyes helps strengthen the parent-child bond, sometimes your baby may need a little break. When a baby reaches his limit and starts to feel overwhelmed, he will look away or focus on something like his toes to give himself a break. He’s not bored with you, he just needs to “take five.” Obviously, you don’t want to move your head around or force him to look at you. He’ll come back to you when he’s ready. Remember - this is a new world for baby, and there are a lot of things to observe and learn from, all around.
- Arching of the back. If your baby arches her back, it’s likely that she is feeling some discomfort. This may be caused by something like reflux, especially if it is accompanied by crying. If you are concerned that your baby has reflux, make sure to have your baby seen by a doctor. In the meantime, try and keep your baby elevated for 20-30 minutes after you feed to help with discomfort.
- Rubbing eyes or ears. Babies tend to rub their eyes or ears as they begin to tire. When you see that cue, you should start his nap or bedtime routine. However, it’s important to note that rubbing the ears can also be a sign of an ear infection if your baby also has a temperature and/or seems to be in pain.
- Crying. To the untrained ear, all baby crying sounds the same. However, parents learn fairly quickly that there are differences. For example, a pain cry, possibly from a diaper rash, comes in longer bursts, and a tired cry is often a softer version of the pain cry. Doing skin-to-skin is a pain-relieving mechanism and can help calm your baby in these stressful situations.
- Mimicking. As a baby gets a little older, sometimes what appears to be a cue from him is really just him imitating what he sees on your face, and by extension, feeling what you're feeling.The attention your baby receives from his efforts to mimic you will encourage him to continue his performance. Smile and he smiles with you!
Learning Baby’s Wonderful Wordless Language
Ultimately, a baby’s lack of verbal skills, which can be a little frustrating at first, reveals itself to be a wonderful wordless language only fully understood by a baby and those closest to him. Watch and listen closely, and before long you and your baby will be in sync. From breastfeeding supplements to Diaper Balm, Motherlove has a variety of herbal products to help meet baby’s needs.