Sometimes even your newborn may need to take a break.
Like adults, babies sometimes get overly tired and need a change from the current engaging activity. Perhaps there are a lot of people visiting, or perhaps there is more noise than usual in your new location outside your home, or perhaps brothers and sisters want to keep playing with their new baby but your newborn has already tired of the interactions. These are just some of the times your baby may need a break, but it gives you an idea of things to consider.
We have addressed some of your baby’s cues in this linked post “Your Baby’s Language,” but I believe this set of baby cues are worth mentioning too because they may be very subtle and easily missed. There are a few ways your newborn will let you know it’s time for a break.
The more subtle cues include turning away from the interaction and breaking eye contact. Looking away may be accompanied by frowning or by having a glazed look. Other need-a-break cues take the form of a raised hand with splayed fingers and palms out … almost like holding up a stop sign, falling asleep, or arching back away from you. If any of these baby cues are missed your newborn may resort to crying to get your attention to let you know something needs to be changed.
You see how these cues may be easily misinterpreted as part of a wide range of behavior. But now that you are aware you might consider the possibility that your baby has grown tired and wants to have a change when you see these cues.
What to Do
When you recognize these baby cues you may honor your baby’s needs by changing the situation. Using the examples above, if there are lots of people visiting, perhaps letting them know your newborn will be disappearing for a nap may give your baby the calm environment needed at that time. If it is unusually noisy where you are, perhaps finding a more quiet place to hang out if possible would be a good change. And if siblings are enthusiastically playing with your newborn, perhaps giving them a new activity that doesn’t include your baby would be a welcome change for awhile. These are simple suggestions that perhaps you would want for yourself if you were overly tired and unable to enjoy the current activities anymore.
In the Beginning
When your newborn is learning to feed, to hold up his or her head, to coordinate movement of arms and legs, and to interact with the environment and with the people in his or her life, it is all work. Inside the womb things like feeding and moving come relatively easy and without effort in a warm, relatively quiet, and comfortable environment. All of that changes very abruptly when your baby is born. So, until muscles develop more, and experiences become more commonplace, your newborn may tire easily.
Now that you are aware of these subtle cues your baby may give you when rest, quiet, or a change of activity or environment are needed, you can help your baby more easily. Responding to your baby’s needs is proven to help your newborn develop trust and an optimistic outlook, qualities that will help give your baby the best start in life. Truly life is good when someone cares.
For you and yours,
D. Fravert, RN
If you have a copy of this ebook you will be interested to know that an updated version is now available for your added reading and viewing enjoyment.
Font change in the videos makes it easier to read captions while keeping your focus on the demonstrations.
List of Baby Care Videos is hyperlinked to give you easy access to any video any time.
“Praise for Newborn Baby Manual” page shares insight into what this book offers from the readers point of view.
Simplified cover art captures the unique feature of embedded videos. All of the “Things You Should Know” are still the same.
I hope you enjoy the new version of your book. I think you will like the video changes!
D. Fravert, RN
Pacifiers are good when used to help your baby.
Learning to Feed
When your baby is in your womb, nutrition is easily provided without requiring your baby to do any work. From the moment your baby is born, everything changes. Outside the womb, your baby suddenly needs to work to get food. This work consists primarily of sucking, swallowing, and breathing. Although it seems to happen spontaneously, your baby needs to learn to coordinate these new feeding activities. Coordinated sucking, swallowing, and breathing prevents choking, makes the food easier to get, and helps your baby conserve energy needed to complete the work of feeding. Most babies learn this quickly and easily.
When Feeding Is Challenging
For some babies feeding can be a little tricky. If your newborn finds feeding to be challenging, using a pacifier as a learning tool is a good way to help. Sucking on a pacifier will help teach your baby to coordinate sucking with breathing, to coordinate swallowing without having to manage a large volume of fluid, and to learn proper tongue placement to help accomplish these important tasks for feeding.
The pacifier is also good for providing sucking time outside of feeding time. It is possible that your baby may want more sucking without necessarily wanting more food. Hunger may be satisfied earlier than sucking, and a pacifier is the perfect tool designed for your baby’s sucking needs. Once satisfied the pacifier usually falls out of your baby’s mouth as your relaxed newborn gives in to sleep.
The most familiar use of a pacifier is to provide comfort to your baby. Most babies are pacified by sucking, ergo the name “pacifier.” Sometimes sucking has the power to calm your fussy baby and to provide the perfect comfort your baby is seeking.
Rejecting the Pacifier
But sometimes your fussy baby may need more than just a pacifier to provide comfort. If your crying baby quickly rejects the pacifier, it’s beneficial for both of you if you respect that rejection and offer some other measures of comfort. Perhaps food, and/or a diaper change, are needed to soothe your baby, and the pacifier of course won’t provide the comfort your baby is seeking. Your baby will let you know.
It’s Your Choice
As with all preferential decisions regarding your new baby, it’s best to gather lots of information and make an informed decision. You’ll be happier with your choice.
As part of information gathering, observe the babies in your world who use pacifiers, as well as the baby in the photo “Pacifiers Are Good.” Make true observations to help you make an informed decision. It’s your choice, for your baby.
For you and yours,
D. Fravert, RN
Tummy time is the perfect complement to back to sleep.
If you practice “back to sleep” for your baby’s safety, you’ll want to practice “tummy time” for your baby’s overall health and development.
Back to Sleep
Positioning your baby on his or her back is the current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help reduce the chance of your baby having SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome. This simple practice has reduced the incidence of SIDS significantly.
But when your baby is lying down on the back it is not possible for your baby to lift the head. In fact this position that provides total support does not allow movement that challenges the neck and upper back muscles. These are the muscles that will help with head control and body mechanics.
The AAP also recommends tummy time for your baby. The baby in the picture is a few weeks older than your newborn and is demonstrating tummy time very well. Notice the lifted head, the arm and hand positions, and the leg position.
The tummy position places your baby’s arms and legs next to a firm surface (such as a pallet on the floor), which provides resistance during natural movement. Your baby may be a flurry of activity, pushing, pulling, and lifting up with arms, legs, and head. All of these resistance activities will strengthen your baby’s muscles.
Placing your baby on the tummy for short periods of time when awake helps your baby to develop muscles necessary for both fine and gross motor skills. Development of these muscles will assist your baby with crawling, rolling over, and sitting up. Lifting the head will strengthen the neck and upper back muscles and will assist with head control. Head control plays an active role in helping your baby with eating, sleeping, and general body mechanics.
Always stay with your baby, and play with your baby, during tummy time. Whether your baby is on a pallet on the floor, across your lap, or leaning forward into your hand, you can help your baby practice tummy time skills. Interacting with your baby makes it fun for both of you.
For you and yours,
D. Fravert, RN