Yes … your baby has a language!
Your baby’s language is composed of coos, cries, and body gestures universal to all babies, no matter where you are in the world. This means that your baby can “talk” to you in a language you can learn and understand.
When your baby is happy you may hear coos and babble, particularly if you initiate the “conversation” and engage your baby. Your happy, awake, newborn is capable of being engaged and paying attention. You should try it!
Crying is the sound your baby makes when something is wrong. Since your baby cannot right the wrong alone, your baby is “asking you” for help. Not only that, but your baby makes different crying sounds in response to the different things that could be wrong. The pain cry, familiar to all of us because it sounds the same no matter the age, sounds different than the hunger cry, or the discomfort cry. You will easily learn to recognize the differences as you pay attention to your baby. The gift of repetition will enhance your learning too!
Your baby also has a set of body gestures, or cues, that help you understand what your baby wants and needs. These cues usually precede crying. Learning to recognize your baby’s body language cues will help you offer food, comfort, a dry diaper, or soothing care for sleep without the need for your baby to cry. Frequent holding, wearing your baby, staring at your little miracle of life, and paying attention to your newborn’s behavior will help you learn everything you need.
One body language cue that you will quickly learn to recognize in your newborn is the rooting cue demonstrated by two-week old Vanessa in the earlier post
“How Do I Know If My Newborn Is Hungry?”
Rooting tells you your baby is hungry … and can happen any time!
Learning your baby’s language is not as difficult as it sounds. Your baby is a good teacher. And, as mentioned above, the gift of repetition is very helpful. It’s so rewarding when you figure it out … and I have no doubt that you will!
For you and yours,
D. Fravert, RN