Babies can’t speak so they try to communicate with us in whatever way they possibly can. While parents learn to read the signs and cues with time, initially all of them are mostly befuddled. Many a times they do not know how to react. There are certain standard cues that apply to most babies and can be pretty easy to recognize.
Responding to your little one’s cues is very important. It develops a relationship of trust between you and your baby. Your baby knows that you understand the cues, relaxing with that knowledge. This creates a certain behavior pattern and becomes easier for both parties to adopt to a schedule.
Here are 4 important baby cues that you should watch out for:
1. The hunger cue
You’ll be surprised to know that the hunger cue is not always crying. It is definitely the last one in the line and babies only resort to this if nothing else works. Your little one will give you many clues before opening the floodgates. Watch out for small signs such as - making toothing and sucking sounds with their mouths, sucking their fists, etc. Many parents try to stick to a routine to feed their kids and hence think that their little one will not get hungry at other times. However, this is not so.
2. The “play with me” cue
When they are small, babies do not pay attention to one thing for too long. As babies grow up, they tend to be more engaged in activities for a longer period of time. Your baby will want your attention and time, so be ready to remove a few hours from your busy schedule to spend with your little one. If your baby wants to play, the eyes will become bright and wide. They will purse their lips and look at you earnestly. They also make eye contact, smile and try to please you. These all are cues for attention and play time.
3. The disengagement cue
Parents think that babies need to be entertained 24x7 and someone should always give them a lot of attention. However, as strange as this may seem, babies need their space too. All the playing around and entertaining everyone exhausts them. Even if they may not want to sleep, they will definitely want to be left alone once in a while. Some cues to look out for are - looking away, coughing, kicking, spitting, arching back, turning away from you, squirming, etc.
4. The ‘I’m sleepy’ cue
If you want to know when your baby is going to fall asleep, look out for cues like becoming quiet, losing interest in toys and people around them, clenching fists, yawning, rubbing eyes, frowning, fussing and making other jerky movements. These cues are a sure indication that your little one needs to be tucked in and left undisturbed. Whether they really go to sleep or not is quite unpredictable - but these cues will definitely tell you that they are tired and need some rest.
While these cues are quite standard and common in most babies, you and your baby will develop a few unique cues as well. Parents and kids often build up a rapport. Parents tend to just understand some cues that others may not be able to comprehend. However, don’t be surprised if once in a while you get a false alarm. Babies are full of surprises and they have the knack to surprise their parents in the most eccentric situations!