That's Your Cue

Happy young parents with their crying newborn baby girl at homeYour baby may not be able to talk yet, but he’s definitely communicating. Babies are born with the ability to seek out what they need most, whether that’s food, play or sleep, and mothers develop the ability, usually within a few weeks, to figure out what their baby is trying to tell them.

Baby Cue #1: I’m Hungry!

Your baby has lots of cues to tell you he’s ready to eat:

  • Rooting with his mouth
  • Making sucking sounds, or trying to suck his lip or fist
  • Smacking his lips
  • A loud, desperate cry that’s difficult to soothe

Baby Cue #2: Notice Me!

When your baby is ready to engage with you, he’ll be more alert, with his eyes open wide. He may study your face, grab onto your finger or clothing, or even make little sounds to keep your attention.

Baby Cue #3: Leave Me Alone!

Little ones can become overstimulated fairly quickly, and your baby has a few ways to tell you that he just needs a quiet break. He may turn his head away, kick and thrash about, or hold his body stiffly. He may also reach his arms out and spread his fingers wide.

Baby Cue #4: I’m Hurting!

When a baby is in pain, there’s often a high-pitched, piercing cry. He may arch his back, bring his knees up to his chest or grunt. Sometimes the culprit is something simple like gas—he may just need to be burped or be given some gas drops.

Baby Cue #5: I’m Sleepy.

Sure-fire sleepy baby signs include:

  • Becoming quiet and still
  • Losing interest in people and things around him
  • Rubbing his eyes
  • Yawning
  • Frowning or knitting his eyebrows
  • Clenching his fists
  • A “sleepy” cry, which is usually an off-and-on, breathy sound

As you learn your baby’s cues, you’ll be able to respond more quickly to his needs, building trust and a strong bond.