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Newborn Cues: How to Recognise and React To Them

Every baby is beautifully unique so when it comes to recognising your baby’s cues, there is no easy one-size-fits-all! Babies express their needs in different ways and at different times during the day. Though you may eventually fall into a routine that suits you and your little one, do not initially try to force a routine onto your newborn. Over time, by being present and paying close attention to your little one, you will learn how to recognise your baby’s cues and how to respond to them. For now, here are a few cues that will guide you to understanding your little one.

1. Hungry Cues

Newborns feed frequently so it’s important to be actively looking out for these cues. Early cues tend to look like this:

  • Licking lips
  • Opening mouth
  • Turning head

Mid cues appear as:

  • Bringing a hand to mouth
  • Stretching
  • Movement or restlessness
  • Making sucking noises

Late cues include:

  • Increased movement
  • Crying
  • Redness

To respond to these cues, simply get into your comfortable position to feed, calm them a little, and offer them a breast or bottle.

2. Tired Cues

If you find that your baby is not sleeping well or is increasingly cranky or crying, you may be missing the early sleeping cues. Your baby will fall asleep easier if you put them down when they begin to get tired. These cues may look like this:

  • Decreased activity and slow movement
  • Rubbing eyes
  • Yawning
  • Disengaging or avoiding eye contact
  • Blank stares
  • Starting to fuss

Put your baby to sleep however you please, whether that be in the cot, or by rocking them, or bringing them on a walk-in their pram. Do make sure to respond as quickly as possible though as the more tired your little one gets, the harder it will be to put them to sleep.

3. Relaxation Cues

Babies love to be around people and be engaged, but can also often feel overstimulated. How much activity babies enjoy is unique to each of them but they all need a break once in a while. To avoid your baby starting to cry, here are some cues to watch out for:

  • Restlessness
  • Breaking eye contact
  • Yawning
  • Starting to fuss

In response to these cues, remove your baby from the active environment and bring them to a quiet, relaxing place. These cues are similar to the tired cues, so you might also try to put them to sleep.

4. Engagement Cues

As time goes on, babies become keener to engage and play with you. To indicate that they are ready to engage more and for longer periods with you

As I’ve said, each baby is different and that’s what makes them so great! As a parent, you’ll know your baby better than anyone. Taking time to bond with your child and learn how they communicate will allow you to know these cues and get into a routine!