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Decoding Baby Cues And Body Language

4 min read

Decoding Baby Cues And Body Language

It is usually hard to figure out what our baby wants, as they cannot speak and only communicate through baby talk, crying, and body movement. We try our best to understand them so we can provide for their needs. In this blog, we aim to help parents easily decode their baby's body cues and language to quickly give them the best care. 


Body Movements

Baby back arching crying
Back arching. Arching of the back can mean different things, but mostly it is about feeling discomfort. It could mean colic, GI (Gastro-intestinal) reflux, heartburn, or satiety. Babies are prone to acid reflux as their sphincters are still developing. They arch their backs to find comfort and relieve any pain.

If you notice your baby does this during feeding, pause feeding for the meantime and comfort your little one. Rub their backs to make them calm. If your baby keeps arching their back, it is best to consult a pediatrician.


closed fist baby
Clenching of the fist. Fist clenching can be a sign of hunger, or it can be because of the palmar reflex, which is normal and disappears after 5 to 6 months. Fist clenching can usually be seen in newborns because they are used to doing it in their mother's womb. If you notice that your baby continuously fist clenching, try to feed or soothe them.


Baby head banging

Head banging. Worry not if you see your baby banging its head on any objects as it is normal for their age, and it helps them soothe. This usually happens before bedtime or naptime. Most babies under the 6th to 9th month bracket do this, and fades by age 3. Head banging can take different forms; some bang their heads against the mattress or pillow, and some on the side of the crib or the wall. This is self-comforting for them. You can protect your baby by putting protective padding on the rails, walls, etc.


Baby kicking gesture
Kicking. Mostly this gesture means that your baby is content and happy. But other times, it can mean different. If your baby is constantly kicking, especially after being fed, and looks bloated, it can mean they need to burp. Help your baby burp by sitting them on your lap supporting their chin and chest. Then pat their back with the other hand. You may also use baby belly bands, this technique has been used for many generations. It naturally warms your baby's belly, helps eases out gas, and relieves tummy aches and colic.


grumpy baby
Looking grumpy. If your baby shows signs of irritability, it can be due to overstimulation. Comfort, soothe, or rock your little one to help them calm. Isolate your little one and avoid interaction with others so they can relax. You may also play your baby's favorite music so they can recharge and go back to being a happy baby,


Baby grabbing ears
Ear-grabbing. This gesture is subjective. It is either your baby just discovered his ears in which for him is something new, or they are touching them because of an ear infection. If your baby ear-grabs and has a fever or a cold, call your pediatrician.

Hiccups. Hiccups are often caused by overfeeding or quick feeding and usually occur at ages 1 and below. Although it usually disappears within 5 to 10 minutes, it is still best for moms to burp their babies every after feeding to avoid aggressive hiccups.

Rubbing of eyes. When your baby rubs his eyes, it signifies that your little one is ready to sleep. On the other hand, if your little one keeps rubbing their eyes and is not sleepy, chances are a foreign particle might be irritating it. Check your baby's eyes  to see if there's a red spot or if there's something that causes the irritation. If you cannot have it removed, best to check by a doctor.


Startling / Moro reflex
Jerking arms. This is common to babies when startled by a disturbance or a loud noise. It is also a type of reflex called the Moro reflex. It is normal and disappears as they age. To avoid startling situations, make sure your little one sleeps in a noise-free, calm environment.

Bringing their knees close to the abdomen. If your baby keeps doing this and looks uncomfortable, your little one may be experiencing gas or constipation. Babies usually do this to lessen discomfort and pass gas. To help your little one, you can do leg exercises and tummy massages using a baby oil.

Baby putting fingers in mouth
Putting fingers in their mouth. This is a sign that your baby is hungry. It is a natural thing since they still have the sucking reflex. Sucking their fingers replicates the feeling of breast or bottle feeding. This gesture can also be soothing for them, you can offer a pacifier for a more appropriate soothing technique.

Turning their head away. Babies usually turn their heads if they are in unfamiliar places or with unfamiliar people. They want to explore their surroundings. Other than that, if they are full or overfed, they will normally turn their heads away.


baby grunting
Grimacing and grunting. This is a familiar gesture for most parents! - the pooping. So when you see your baby doing this, prepare the changing pad, diapers, and wipes! If you notice that your baby grimaces and grunts hard, it could be due to constipation. You can help relax your baby by doing tummy massages and leg bicycles to stimulate bowel movements. If your baby is always having a hard time passing bowel, it is best to consult with your doctor.

Arm stretching. Stretching out their arms means that your baby is relaxed and happy. If they are learning to sit, stretching their arms means they are trying to obtain balance. Allow them to learn this skill on their own but at the same time, stay with them for support. You can also place soft pillows or cushions around your little one in case they get off balance.



 A Natural Way To Soothe Your Baby

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