While there are no “written” instruction manuals that come with babies, babies are naturally born with the ability to express their wants and needs to their caregiver. Even though a baby is not able to talk just yet, babies are amazing communicators! They are able to communicate through body movement, sounds, visual responses, and behavior. Being able to recognize your baby’s cues will help you decipher what exactly your baby needs. Let’s find out How to Read Your Baby Cues..
What are some of the main cues to look for?
1. Hunger (there are both EARLY cues and LATE cues to look for)
2. Sleepy/Tired cues: these are so important to look for so you know exactly when to put baby to sleep so they are well rested, avoid the overtired saga, and avoid missing their “window”.
3. Full Cues: This is another great cue to be on the lookout for so you know that your baby just had a full effective feeding so they are not hungry and to avoid overfeeding.
(Early VS Late Feeding Cues)
Early Feeding Cues
· Bringing hand to mouth or face
· Sucking on fingers, hands, toys
· Opening mouth, Sticking their tongue out (tongue extension)
· Turning their head to the side (Rooting), opening mouth
Late Feeding Cues
· Crying (Last sign of hunger)
· Falls asleep
Hopefully we can catch the other signs early or on time before baby gets “hangry”. Crying is the last sign of hunger and often times, we miss the early cues and baby becomes frustrated and demands to eat. If this happens, it is okay! Take a deep breathe, soothe and calm baby FIRST because it is very hard for a baby to take a full effective feed and we don’t want them to sputter or choke. Then once baby is calmer, we can then feed them.
· Rubbing their eyes
· Red around their eyes, glazed over/watery
· Pulling at their ear
· Rubbing their face into you
· Facial grimacing
By catching these cues in the beginning and in time, this will communicate to parents/caregiver that baby is tired and ready for sleep. If baby’s natural tired cues are missed, baby may get what is called a “second wind” and perk up. This causes their “fight or flight” hormones to kick in. It will then be very hard to get baby to go down for sleep which will cause a domino effect to the other naps and affects bedtime later on in that day.
· Appears disinterested in feeding, Turns head away from bottle or breast
· appears distracted, can start to play
· Refuses to open mouth when nipple touches their lip
· Sucking slows “flutter sucking” and/or baby starts to fall asleep
· Hands and fists relax, body relaxes.
By being able to identify when your baby is full, this will help to avoid overfeeding baby and diminish spit up or reflux like symptoms. If you know that your baby just had a full effective feed and ate really well, but still seem fussy or hungry then it could be something else.
Reading your babies cues really comes down to just taking the time to get to know your little babe. You will surprise yourself how fast it takes you to see baby giving a cue and your parental instincts kick right in and you go down the list of what baby needs. Sometimes if your baby is fed, full, alert, not showing signs of tiredness, diaper dry-baby just may be looking for comfort or change in environment. Try to give yourself some grace and just keep reminding yourself that all of this is just your baby communicating to you! If you are able to, take turns with your support person to give each other a little break so you’re able to pick up on cues early on.
Support & Advice From a Mama Coach:
Find your balance, listen to your parental instincts, lean on your support system, FILL YOUR CUP. Take it day by day and it’s OKAY if you have days where the only thing you do is feed & love on your babe
You are MORE than enough & EXACTLY what your child(ren) needs, even if it doesn’t feel like it
The Mama Coach Newborn Course that we offer is a great program for parents and caregivers. Within this course, you will not only learn about sleep patterns & science, calming a fussy baby, overcoming feeding challenges, but baby feeding cues as well.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your little one(s), please reach out to a mama coach. We would love to support you and your family!