Until a baby stats speaking, you may notice all his communication is by body language, cry or a scream. Every action the baby makes has meaning.
She may turn away, squirm or fuss to show you he doesn't like something. On the other hand, if something appeals to him, he may show you by looking at it carefully, and being still and calm.
You can learn a lot about your baby by how he responds to sights, sounds and touch. By watching your baby you'll get to know his individual pace, and whether he prefers slow, gentle handling or a brisker approach. Learning to read your baby's signals has benefits for you. You'll feel much more confident as a parent if you can interpret what he wants. By observing him, you'll also learn how he shows his emotions. Encourage him by matching your facial expressions to your feelings, so he can learn to do the same.
Learning to read his cues has many benefits for your baby too. Soon you may be able to recognize a pattern in your baby's daily behavior, and you'll begin to understand his wants and needs. It helps you to respond to him the right way. It helps him relax. If you respond to your baby's signals quickly, he'll feel understood, and his stress levels will reduce. It helps him build trust in the people looking after him, and develop a sense of self-worth and the predictability of his day. It teaches him about emotions. Your baby learns about feelings through the way you communicate with and look after him.
You'll probably notice that your newborn's behavior falls into six different states:
- Your baby's eyes will be closed. You'll see no eye movements, regular breathing and the occasional startle.
- This is also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Your baby's eyes will be closed, but may open briefly. Your baby may move, startle and occasionally suck.
- This is your baby's semi-dozing state. His eyes open now and then, and his movements are smooth.
- Your baby will be bright-eyed, focusing his attention and hardly moving.
Active and alert
- Your baby's eyes will be open. He'll move around and may do brief, fussy cries and startles.
- Every parent finds this hard. Your baby will cry hard, be difficult to soothe and move his little body around.