Understanding your newborn’s behaviour 

When you hold your bundle of joy for the first time, you feel like you are on cloud nine, oblivious to the world around you. The moment you hold them, you want to shield them from every danger. As the days pass by, you learn a lot of fascinating things about your newborn baby. Each baby adapts different traits., And by simply observing them, you can tell if your baby is inquisitive, cheerful, shy, or quiet.  


Understanding newborn baby behaviour: 

During the first few months, your baby will sleep, feed, or cry. Don’t be alarmed as this is normal, and babies communicate their needs through their behaviour. Babies use certain “cues” or behaviours to communicate their needs. Look for these cues to understand them better.  


What “cues” do babies exhibit generally and what do they mean?  

Babies tend to communicate through body language for some time, Until they start exhibiting their emotions verbally. You need to be alert to their body language and interpret them. It takes time, but if you pay attention every day. You’ll gradually be able to learn their needs.  


Here are the common “cues” exhibited by babies: 

1. Engagement cues: 

  • Their eyes are wide open and they try to focus on a person, and eyes tend to sparkle. 
  • The babies turn their eyes, bodies or head towards you or the person who is talking.  
  • They extend their hands to reach out to you.  
  • The babies look intently at your face and follow your face and voice.  
  • Keep their hands clasped together 
  • Holding on to your finger or an object 
  • Smooth body movements (looks relaxed) 
  • Rooting 

Engagement cues are the body language that babies use to tell you that they find the surrounding environment friendly, and safe. If your baby is showing any of these engagement cues, it means the baby likes the things happening around them. 


2. Disengagement cues:  

  • Turns or looks away from the person speaking.  
  • Arching backs  
  • Jittery movements 
  • Stiff posture 
  • Yawns, sneezing or falls asleep.  
  • Ear-grabbing 
  • Grumpiness.  
  • Kicks constantly 
  • Crying 

Disengagement cues are the body language that babies use to tell you that they find the surrounding environment as hostile. If your baby is showing any of these disengagement cues, it means they are stressed, and need a break from what is happening.  


Understanding factors influencing a baby’s Behaviour:  

In general, there are four factors that might influence your baby’s cues: 

1. Environment:
Babies want predictable, peaceful situations. Changes in your baby’s environment, such as loud noises, bright lights, strong scents, may be unsettling. When this happens, your baby will show signs of disengagement cues.  

2. Behavioural state: 
Your baby’s “state” is described by how alert they are. Babies may transition quickly from one state to the next depending on how well they are or old they are, and how they are coping with tasks such as nappy changes or meals. You can help staff organise your baby’s daily care routine so that sleep hours are preserved, and attention is concentrated when your baby is awake and alert.  

3. Motor function: 
Motor motions are one of the cues your baby uses to communicate with you. Flexed posture and smooth, regulated movements indicate that your kid is coping and is content to continue with their activities. Limp, floppy, or stiff muscular tone, as well as flailing movements, indicate that your baby is struggling and needs a break from what is going on around them. 

4. Physiological state: 
This describes your baby’s heart rate, breathing rate, colour, and level of comfort. It has to do with how their respiration, circulation, and digestion work. Changes in physiological states frequently cause baby cues as your baby attempts to maintain stability.  


About newborn behavioural states: 

Newborn sleeping pattern are another aspect you should take note of. If your baby sleeps for 20 minutes and wakes up crying. Don’t panic, as it’s completely normal. In time, your babies will learn to settle themselves and fall back to sleep. Here are the general newborn behavioural states you should be aware of:  

1. Deep sleep: When your baby is in the deep sleep state, their breathing is normal, and they move very little. Avoid waking the baby because this is an integral period for brain development.  

2. Active sleep: During the active sleep state, babies sleep lightly. They show rapid eye movements, faster and more irregular breathing, increased activity with twitchy mouth movements, smiles, and whimpers. Babies generally spend more time in this state rather than the deep sleep state to form new connections in their brain.  

3. Drowsy: The babies are half-awake and fussy in this state. Comfort or swaddle them with lullabies to help them go to sleep.   

3. Quick alert: In this state, your babies will pay attention and they will have a relaxed facial expression. This is the perfect time for you to interact with your baby.   

4. Active awake: In this state, babies are more physically active and may even fuss. Fussing can indicate that something needs to change, such as making the area less noisy or dimming the lights.   

5. Crying: Excessive crying and fussing. With time, you will be able to understand the reason why they are crying and soothe them.    


About newborn crying:  

Your baby could be wailing for various reasons – hunger, nappy change, overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, or colic. Babies cry and complain for over three hours every day on average. Some babies cry for far longer than this. The majority of the crying and fussing appears to occur in the late afternoon and evening, though every day is likely to be different. Babies spend less time crying as they get older. Crying is also more likely to occur during the day. Eventually, it will be easier to grasp what babies require when they cry.  


How to settle your crying newborn? 

  • Hungry: When babies are hungry, they wail and move their fists to their mouths or their heads turns to look for the breast. If your baby shows these signs, feed them, and they’ll stop crying.  
  • Frustrated: When babies are frustrated, they flail their arms and legs due to discomfort. Try dimming the lights in your room or moving them to another quiet room.  
  • Colic: If the baby cries for no reason, and you can be almost sure that it’s colic if its crying pattern follows the rule of 3. If your baby cries for 3 hours a day, for 3 days a week, and for consecutive weeks, your baby has colic. To soothe colicky babies, you can try Woodward’s Gripe Water.  

Through the different seasons, babies may tend to get colic, resulting in severe abdominal pain. This may cause them to cry for no reason or be fussy. Colic episodes often start during the late evenings or late nights. To soothe and treat colicky babies in the most natural way to use Woodward’s Gripe Water. It’s completely Ayurvedic and the gentle solution is non-alcoholic with two main ingredients- Dill oil and Sarjikakshara, which are perfect for a baby’s delicate stomach.   

By understanding your newborn babies, you will be able to connect with them and build trust overtime. It teaches them about emotions, and you will feel confident as a parent as you will be able to understand what the baby needs. Eventually, dealing with newborn crying will get easier as your baby will learn how to let you know what they need with their cues and body language. If you are worried about your baby, then visit a paediatrician who’ll provide you with the right advise.   

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