When a new baby is brought into your life for the first time, your entire world changes. There are so many mixed emotions. You may feel excited, overwhelmed, motivated, scared, impatient – just to name a few. There are so many things to think about when a baby is on the way. There are expenses to consider, a complete life makeover as well as a home makeover.
Today we are going to discuss with you some of the ways you can learn to decode your baby’s body language, cries, and wide range of emotions. For any new parent, it takes some getting used to. Even if you have been around children before, each baby has their own way of letting you know what they need. Since they cannot come out and tell you, it is going to take quite a bit of time and patience in order for you to understand and recognize your baby’s needs.
Every Baby Is Different
While there are some general rules that apply to most babies, they do not necessarily apply to all. Even if you have had a child in the past, how one child told you they were hungry could be how another tells you they are upset. Here are some common things babies do and what they generally mean.
An Arched Back
If your baby is arching their back, it can mean a few different things. Your baby could simply be stretching. Are you feeding your child while this is happening? If so, it could be that they are having stomach pains such as reflux. It could also mean that they are uncomfortable and they simply need to be placed in a different area as there is strain being put on their back. Sometimes picking up your baby or letting them lie down can do the trick.
The first thing parents tend to think whenever their child begins grabbing his or her ears is that their baby has an ear infection but this is not always the case. Remember, everything is new and exciting to your baby so this could simply mean they are discovering their ears and entertained by them. Now, if they are crying a lot and nothing else seems to calm them down and they are constantly tugging on their ears, then this could be a sign of an ear infection. Typically your baby will have a fever and difficulty calming down or resting if they do indeed have an ear infection.
If your baby is kicking, this can mean a variety of things. If they seem happy and content then they could just be excited and trying to get your attention. If they are fussy and are showing signs of being uncomfortable they could need a change of position or they could be trying to tell you they have a dirty diaper.
For the first few months of your baby’s life, it is common for them to clench their fists on a fairly regular basis. Opening and closing their hands and moving their fingers is still a bit tricky for them at this point. Once your baby hits about three months, they should ball their fists less often. Babies may do this when they are hungry or stressed as they get older.
As babies are learning to use their bodies it is not unheard of that they will bang their heads into things. In the beginning, they do not understand that they can harm themselves. After a few painful smacks, the behavior will typically decrease. For the first three years of a child’s life, head banging is completely normal but if your child is showing strange behavior such as not wanting to play with others or banging his or her head for long periods of time, you may want to have them checked out to make sure they are not experiencing a serious medical problem.
Learning What Each Cry Means
Before you can tackle what each cry coming from your baby means, you are going to have to spend some quality time with him or her. Knowing your baby’s ‘Sleepy Cry’ from his/her ‘Hungry Cry’ can take some time. In general, these are some things to look out for in the beginning when you are still trying to figure everything out.
‘I Need Some Rest’
It is usually pretty easy to see that your baby is tired. Not only will he or she cry but they will most likely be yawning often and rubbing their eyes. This is probably one of the easiest emotions to read on your baby in those first few weeks of having them home.
If a baby has become overwhelmed or stressed he or she is going to typically have a very whiny cry. Their body language will show their discomfort and they may move their head and body left and right as well as fidget.
‘I’m in Pain’
This is probably the easiest cry to figure out. Once you get used to the way your baby cries on a regular basis for everyday needs, you will definitely be able to notice a cry of pain. These cries are typically very hysterical and high pitched. They will be very out of the blue. Your mommy or daddy instinct will definitely kick into gear when you hear this one.
‘I Don’t Feel Very Well’
When babies are feeling under the weather, their cries are going to be coupled with whimpers.
‘Could I Get Some Food?’
Babies who are hungry typically have a very distinct and repetitive cry. Infants will commonly make faces as if they are trying to root or may suck on something such as fingers or toys. When they suck and no milk comes out, they may become frustrated and begin crying again.
Happiness and Love
Babies spend the first two months of their lives experimenting with their bodies. They are learning to wiggle their toes, move their arms and legs and make various faces. During this time it can be quite tricky to tell if your baby is actually happy or excited over something or if they are simply experimenting with their facial muscles. Not until about two months can a baby truly start to smile in response to something they are exposed to such as a laughing parent or smiling sibling.
During this short period of time, the attachment to the mother is critical. A baby may enjoy being held and played with by anyone but it becomes more apparent during this time that they prefer their mother’s voice and mother’s attention over anyone else. Remember, the mother’s voice has been heard throughout the pregnancy so it resembles safety and familiarity to your child.
Milestones to Keep In Mind
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out if your baby is truly smiling because they are happy or if they are just gassy or testing out their facial muscles. Here are a few milestones to keep in mind so you can better figure out where your baby is currently at in terms of development. Remember, every baby is different; these are just generalizations. Sometimes children take less time or more time to reach certain milestones.
At about three months babies will begin to learn to make various facial expressions based on what they have seen on those around them. They will recognize what they like and dislike much more, such as when someone stops playing with them, they may begin crying; whereas before they were entertained by just about any stimulus.
At about the seventh month, babies can recognize facial expressions and readily react to them as well as respond directly to play. Once you reach about a year, babies become much more attached to those close to them and are known to cry when their parents are not near. This is also when they will begin repeating sounds they hear as well as gestures.
Helping Your Baby’s Development
Communicating with your baby is extremely important, as it helps them to learn your language. This whole process is a two way street. Make sure to smile at your baby and offer them your attention. Your baby may not be able to understand what you are saying to them but they love the sound and tone of your voice and learn very quickly what various expressions mean.
Take the time to respond to your baby when they are making grunting sounds and attempting to imitate speech. This is going to encourage them to continue learning how to speak. Not sure what to say to your baby? Honestly, they just love to hear you talk. Many parents love to tell their children exactly what they are doing throughout the day. Something as simple as, “Mama’s going to go get you a clean diaper. No more dirty diaper! Yay!” is not only going to keep your baby entertained but babies that are spoken to like this on a regular basis tend to learn much quicker than those who are talked to in baby speak such as “Goo goo” and “Ga-ga”.
This guest post is written by Thomas Ray, who writes guest post on parenting. He works with Web Blinds, online expert for perfect made to measure roman blinds.