Decoding Baby Behaviours
Ah, the joys of having your first baby! Every sneeze, wiggle, and squirm can be either adorable or terrifying. It’s time to take a deep breath and familiarize yourself with this handy guide on typical newborn behavior. Let’s bring some light-hearted humor into understanding your little one.
Engaging Your Senses
Your baby lives in a world of sensory experiences. To understand them better, engage your senses:
- Observe their body language – are they relaxed or tense and kicking?
- Pay attention to their facial expressions – are they turning away, staring into space, or closing their eyes?
- Listen to the sounds they make – are they distressed, gurgling, cooing, or just babbling? Respond to them in a calm and reassuring voice.
Remember, baby behavior is entirely different from adult behavior, so don’t impose adult values and expectations on them.
Newborn Noises and Actions
Newborns cry for several hours a day as their way of communicating. They might cry when they’re:
- Too cold or too hot
- Needing a diaper change
- Needing comfort
- Experiencing gas
It’s also common for newborns to hiccup, sneeze, yawn, spit up, burp, and gurgle. Sometimes, they cry for no apparent reason at all. If this happens, try comforting them by rocking, singing, talking softly, or swaddling.
Reflexes and Responses
Understanding newborn reflexes will help you make sense of their behaviors. Some common reflexes include:
- Rooting reflex: Baby turns toward food and is ready to suck when their cheek is stroked.
- Sucking reflex: Baby naturally begins to suck when an object is placed in their mouth.
- Startle response: Baby flings out their arms and legs, then curls them in when startled, often accompanied by crying.
- Tonic neck reflex: Baby turns their head to one side and extends the arm on the same side.
- Grasp reflex: Baby’s fingers close tightly around an object placed in their palm.
- Stepping reflex: Baby’s feet imitate a stepping action when held upright with feet touching a hard surface.
Breathing and Vision
Newborns may experience irregular breathing, where they stop breathing for 5-10 seconds and then resume. However, if they stop breathing for longer than 10 seconds or turn blue, contact your doctor or go to the emergency room.
Newborns can see, but their eyes might be crossed due to difficulty focusing. They can detect movement and contrasts between black and white objects. By 2-3 months, they gain more control over their eye muscles and can focus on one thing and follow objects with their eyes.
Hearing and Language
Newborns can distinguish between different sounds and recognize familiar voices. Talk to your baby often, and soon you’ll find that they turn toward the sound of your voice. To them, language sounds like music, with various tones and rhythms.
Now you’re armed with some knowledge about typical newborn behavior! So, when in doubt, refer back to this guide and avoid that Google rabbit hole. And remember, it’s okay to be a little frazzled – you’re doing great, but share your questions and concerns in the Ask the Virtual Midwife Whatsapp Group