Infant Massage - The loving hands of an adult (Part 3: Reading newborn babies cues)
A baby speaks through the language of the body and expects that the adults function as a mirror for it's message. Baby wants to make the adults something clear about it's inner world and desires that adults understand what it's talking about.
“How will I be able to figure out what my baby is trying to tell me?Is there a course or something you can take?” are frequently asked questions.
picture of an active alert baby
Doctors tell us not to worry! This is what they tell us: "Our biology has taken care of it. The research repeatedly tells us that parents are quite naturally inclined to notice the baby’s signals and figure them out. By simply enjoying your baby, spending lots of time together and being focused on your baby, those cries and signals will start to make sense to you faster than you expected". The last years also another way of communicating with older baby’s (starting at 6 months old) became popular, originally coming from the sign language with deaf people: babysigning.
Baby signals - READING NEWBORN BABIES' CUES
- A baby can show signals that tell : “No, please leave me alone”, for example rubbing his eyes, pulling his ears, crying. This last signal means that all previous signals have not been heard or seen by adults, nothing else remains then to put on his “alarm”.
- The second kind of signals a baby can show are telling: “Yes, come closer to play or to cuddle with me”, baby can smile to you, look at you, make little happy sounds, or having a relaxed body.
An adult picks up baby signals easily when:
- he or she has no other thoughts or worries, and is open to observe baby
- he or she knows that the signal is not a the same as a reflex
- he or she knows that a baby can be in 6 different states of consciousness: quiet sleep, active sleep, drowsy, quiet alert , active alert or cry.
- he or she knows that the best state is the quiet alert for massaging baby.
These are some pictures of states baby's can be in:
QUIET ALERT (picture by Lucia Gaspari for IAIM)
A lovely video of a baby "telling" mommy what she wants
This article makes part of the series 'Infant massage - the loving hands of an adult'
Part 1 : Introduction
Part 2 : Benefits
Part 3 : Reading baby's cues
Part 4 : The set up for an infant massage
> M. Klaus & P. Klaus: "Your Amazing Newborn"
> Vimala McClure: "Infant massage: A handbook for loving parents"
> Zero to three: 'Behavior and development'