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It’s true that nothing can compare to the bond between a parent and their child, especially in those first few months when you are constantly available at their beck and call. But no matter how inseparable you are, parents are not mind readers. And therefore, they can’t always figure out what their baby needs from instinct alone. Sometimes it takes some basic knowledge and careful observation to assess and recognise what your baby needs. Taking care of a baby is a huge responsibility and no one expects you to get everything right the first time around. But there are a few ways in which you can learn to understand your baby better. Want to know what they are? Then keep on reading!

1. Notice Their Movements

At first glance it may look like all the gestures your baby does are random but in truth, these little movements are what you need to look out for. Your baby is not capable of speech yet, so they rely heavily on body language to convey what they want and need.

  • Clenching Their Fists – Babies tend to clench their fists when they are hungry. So if you see your baby repeating this gesture, it’s time to feed them.
  • Opening Fists After Eating – When babies are full, you will notice their hands start to open and become relaxed. This is your cue to stop feeding your baby.
  • Arching Their Back – Usually when a baby is experiencing gas, has an upset stomach or reflux, they start to arch their back as a way to find some relief and comfort. You’ll notice that babies also do this movement after a feeding or even when they are trying to poop. They can even do it lying down.
  • Lifting Their Legs – Most of the time babies lift their legs instinctively when they are trying to pass gas. You can help them with this by rubbing their stomach in a clockwise direction to encourage them to pass the gas.

2. The Way They Cry

Every parent will soon learn that babies have a language of their own: crying. Babies cry for everything but their cries don’t all sound the same. On closer inspection you will find that babies often cry differently to signal different needs. And it is imperative that you learn how to differentiate one from the other.

  • Hunger – Babies want to be fed most of the time. So if they’re crying, chances are, they need to be nursed again. But since this isn’t the only reason they cry it’s important to keep in mind exactly what they sound like when they are hungry. This is usually a low pitched sound, a cry that rises and falls. As soon as you hear this, it’s time to breastfeed or offer your baby a bottle.
  • Reflux – Sometimes babies cry after feeding and this could be a sign of heartburn. To help with this problem, take breaks and burp your baby often during meals. This will ensure that they are digesting the milk and it isn’t causing them discomfort.
  • Colic – It’s usually for babies anywhere between 1 to 5 weeks old to suffer from this. When your baby cries for more than 3 hours a day, 3 times a week, it means they might have this condition. You could always consult your doctor to see what needs to be done. Try to offer them a pacifier or rock them and walk with them while gently patting them on the back to see if it helps. Your baby will slowly overcome this condition eventually.
  • Sleep Habits – When your baby is around 6 months old they are finally able to sleep on their own, that is, they can actually put themselves to sleep with next to no help from you. However, no one likes change, not even infants and they may cry in protest of their newfound autonomy. Chances are that they will cry just to get your attention. Research shows that in this case, you should let your child cry out for some time as this helps them learn to go to sleep faster and stay asleep for longer.

3. Their Language

Your baby may not speak in coherent words but they definitely try to use sounds to communicate with you.

  • Neh – This signals that they are hungry as their sucking reflex is triggered
  • Owh – Your baby is sleepy. This sounds similar to a yawn.
  • Eh – Your baby needs to be burped. When a big quantity of trapped air is caught in their chest, babies reproduce this sound.

Taking care of a newborn is not for the faint of heart. They need 24/7 attention which can be exhausting and overwhelming. However, learning to understand them will help you cater to their needs easily.