You can learn to listen to your baby's cues.
You can learn to listen to your baby's cues. Matt Taylor GLA280218BABY

How to become a baby whisperer

DO YOU ever wish you could read your baby's mind? Do you wish you could understand their needs?

The good news is that babies provide cues all the time, which, when understood, can be used by parents to identify what their little one needs.

It may take time to figure those cues out, but with a bit of effort and patience you'll be understanding what your baby is trying to tell you.

In this column we will be looking at common baby cues that you can look out for.

Your baby is tired

While it's easy to identify that yawning means your baby is tired, often there are other signs that may occur earlier that will allow you to get on top of the situation. These include:

Staring into the distance and losing interest in toys and people

Jerky movements

Fussing or sucking fingers

A hungry baby

Newborns need to feed every 2-3 hours and in older babies every 3-4 hours, but it's a good idea to not stick rigidly to a set clock and instead look for hunger cues, which include:

Making sucking noises

Turning towards your breast (sometimes they even go looking for the breast while being held by dad)

Ready to play

As babies get older they do tend to follow a feed-play-sleep routine, but it's important to know what signs that indicate your baby is ready to play rather than wanting to sleep. These include:

Making eye contact with you and having wide and bright eyes

Smiling and being engaged with the world around them

Smooth movements (as opposed to jerky which indicate they need sleep)

Reaching out to you to grab your attention

Baby needs a break

Sometimes babies who are four months or older don't transition from play to sleep straight away. They may need down time or a change of pace.

If you're playing with them and don't see any signs they need sleep, you still need to be aware that they may want a break. They indicate this through cues such as turning their head way from you or squirming/kicking.

Hopefully the above advice helps you read your baby's cues and puts you on the path to being a baby whisperer, but if you need extra support you can visit a Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service child health centre.

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