Babies are much smarter than most people give them credit for. As much as they appear helpless, fragile, and unable to talk, babies can express themselves, and it's up to the adults to interpret the expressions. It may appear as if the only way a baby can communicate to an adult is by crying, but this is not necessarily the case. If mom pays close attention, she will realize that even her baby's crying is different when communicating different discomforts; for example; sudden, loud and hysterical crying could be an indication of pain.
Apart from crying, babies have many other ways of communicating the emotions they experience. For example, when happy they can smile at mom or coo, they can appear as if they are thinking hard when having a bowel movement, and they can suck their fingers to signify that they are hungry. Babies can also show contentment, fatigue, excitement, and so many other emotions and expressions, a mom just needs to know how to read the cues.
Some of these cues are standard for most babies. Therefore, if a mom is keen enough, she will be able to pick up and interpret most of the cues. Most of the women who have tons of experience with babies can tell what most babies are trying to say just by observing their behavior.
Therefore, babies can communicate; moms just need to watch them keenly to learn their language. Life can be very smooth for a mom who is able to tell what her baby is trying to say. She can attend to her baby's needs in the shortest time possible, and this will result in the baby having very little reason to nag her or keep crying.
Here are 20 different ways babies can show how they feel...
20 Crying Hysterically
Babies tend to cry a lot especially during the first few weeks after birth. This is because they are still adjusting to the new environment. As they grow, one of the main ways babies can communicate their distress and discomforts is by crying. They cry in an effort to show that something is not right with them or something is bothering them.
Babies cry hysterically when they are hungry, sick, tired, uncomfortable, or when they want mom to hold them. It is up to mom to listen and figure out what the different cries mean. Moms should also try to respond to their babies’ cries immediately, especially during their first few months. This helps the babies know that they can count on their moms, which in turn leads them to trust their moms.
19 Smiling At Mom
A baby’s smile is sure to make even the most upset person happy. Babies begin smiling when they are in the uterus although their first smile may not be in response to anything. These first smiles are just reflex smiles. Once they get to their second month, the reflexes wear off and the little one can flash her first real smile, on purpose.
Moms need to reciprocate by beaming with an even bigger smile of their own. This makes the baby happy and they smile back at mom. With time, the baby smiles a lot when she is happy. Soon she will be smiling when mom does things that she likes like singing his or her favorite song or making weird and silly facial expressions.
18 Clenching Their Jaw And Frowning
When babies clench their jaws and frown, they are communicating to mom that something is not right and a cry may soon follow suit. Babies can seem angry when mom is looking at them but they are normally in what people call an unpleasant state.
These unpleasant states can occur for example when mom leaves the baby alone for a long period or forgets to change a wet diaper and leaves the baby with it for some time and/or when the baby becomes sleepy. Therefore, moms should always respond to their babies' cues as soon as they can as this gives them a sense of security.
17 Copying Moms Facial Expressions
After the first couple of months, babies will stare at their mother’s face for a few minutes then after some time begin imitating her facial expressions. At this stage, babies try to copy everything mom does. The baby will open her mouth when she sees her mom opening hers; she will try to stick her tongue out when mom sticks hers out as well.
By doing so, the baby is communicating to the mother that they have realized that they have similar facial features and that they too can express themselves as mom does. This is the first step towards learning and as they grow older, imitation will be crucial in mastering many other things.
16 Talking Back At Mom
Although babies cannot talk, they can hear their mother talking and normally respond by cooing or babbling. A coo is a soft murmured vowel or sound while babbles are syllables that an individual repeats over and over again.
Babies start cooing early between six to eight weeks of age and babble when they get to about sixth months. Babies coo, babble, and squeal with delight when they are happy. They also do this in an attempt to speak the way they see their mommy and other people doing. These baby sounds are their first step to those first words and moms should talk back at them when they make them in order to encourage them to speak.
15 Making A Scrunched Up Face With A Far-Off Gaze
When babies have a scrunched up face accompanied by a cry or a far-off gaze, they are warning mom that she is about to do a diaper change. They may seem like they are staring or thinking with such great intensity but in the real sense, they are trying to either pass out gas or have a bowel movement.
Moms can speed up the process by rubbing their stomachs or putting them in a comfortable position. This helps to move along the bowel and get the gas out. Babies will seem relieved and happy once done, but moms need to quickly prepare for the diaper change otherwise the baby will start wailing because of the discomfort from the wet diaper.
14 Laughing Out Loud
Babies usually have very hearty and warm laughter, when they laugh they are showing mom they are happy and satisfied. Babies usually laugh in response to something the mother has done and with laughing, they prompt the mom to repeat what she has just done, which leads to them laughing even more.
Babies start laughing aloud when they are about three or four months old. Peek-a-boo is a sure favorite way to make babies laugh as well as tickling them, using funny voices, and blowing raspberries on their bellies. Babies laugh when they are having a good time with mom and not because they have a sense of humor. This kind of laughter develops when they are around 9 months old.
13 Rejecting Food
Babies show disgust when they taste something unpleasant. Even newborns react to such tastes by moving their heads forward and down. They also protrude their lower lip when they taste anything with an unpleasant taste. By doing so, they are showing mom that they do not like what she has just given them.
Defrosted breast milk sometimes has a sour soapy taste. This is because it has an enzyme called lipase, which helps break fats in the milk causing it to taste that way. Although the milk is not bad, some babies might refuse to drink it because of the different taste. They will refuse to open their mouths and turn their heads away when fed again.
12 Lifting Their Eyebrows
Lifting their eyebrows is one of the little things babies do to show their mothers that they are surprised, startled or fascinated. A slightly opened mouth can sometimes accompany the eyebrow lift. Babies take in a lot as they grow and more often react to what they encounter.
When a mom sees her baby lifting their eyebrows while looking at an object, they should hand the object to the baby after assessing that it is safe for them to have. The child can then go on to explore what mom has given them. Doing so will help to boost how the baby's brain will develop.
11 Reaching Out For Mom
Babies throw their arms in the air when their moms are nearby to communicate to mom that they want her to pick them. Reaching out is also one of the little things babies do to show their mothers that they want mom to carry them.
Babies begin reaching out for objects, as early as three months old and by the time they get to the sixth month; they are able to stretch their arms out in a conscious effort to show that they want someone to pick them up. Babies normally do this when they get bored with what they are doing or when someone else is holding them and want mom to carry them.
10 Becoming Anxious
When babies get to about five months, they can start showing signs of anxiety. The baby will cry and fuss over nothing. They will then stretch their arms towards mom for her to pick them up. Most of us understand this behavior to be anxiety
Babies become anxious when; they see strangers, including a family member they rarely interact with coming to hold them, hear loud noises, when mom drops them at daycare, or when mom leaves them even for a short period. If babies remain in the hands of another nurturing caregiver, they may stop being anxious. There are a few cases where the baby remains fussy and grumpy until mom returns.
9 Bouncing, Kicking, and Wiggling
Bouncing, kicking, and wiggling are some of the little things babies do to show their mothers that they are excited. As mom and baby spend more time together, their bond usually grows stronger causing the baby to react this way to acknowledge her presence.
When moms notice their babies bouncing, kicking and wiggling once they enter a room, they should appreciate that their baby is simply showing them that they are happy and excited to see them. These movements can at times be slow or vigorous. Babies tend to get overly excited especially when they see their mom. In this case, the movements will be vigorous.
8 Rubbing Their Eyes and Ears
Babies rub their eyes and ears in order to tell mom that they are sleepy. In addition, they could also show signs of losing interest with the surroundings, keep silent, yawn, frown, and/or start to cry. With time, moms are able to tell the specific cues their babies give when they are sleepy.
If moms miss all these cues, their baby will likely become grumpy and soothing them will be rather difficult. Babies do not like it when someone is keeping them awake when they are sleepy, so moms should take note of these cues and immediately put their baby down for a nap before they become cranky.
7 Smacking Or Licking Lips
Smacking and licking lips is something babies do to show their moms that they are hungry. Babies give many cues when they need to feed. Crying is usually the last result. They can also suck on their hands and make little noises to communicate to mom that they need food.
Babies have a rooting reflex as well. When mom gently strokes their cheek, they normally move their head towards the stimulus and open their mouth in search for food. When moms see this cue, they should feed their babies right away. If they wait until the baby begins crying, he or she will probably not feed well.
6 Opening Eyes Wide And Bright And Moving Smoothly
When babies wake up from their naps and are not hungry, moms may notice that they normally open their eyes wide and move their arms and legs around. By doing so, the baby is trying to show mom that they want to play. Little babies can barely concentrate for long periods, so when they show these signs moms should engage them immediately before that window closes.
Moms can make funny faces, play a game with the baby or just tickle them, which in turn makes them, smile, laugh or coo. As they grow older, their attention span also grows and they are able to concentrate on something for long periods.
5 Making Baby Noises
Moms should never ignore their babies when they make any noise. These noises could mean that the baby wants mom to come and check on them. The noises may not make sense but moms are able to tell that their baby is seeking their attention.
When they call out to mom and she responds right away, they feel safe and secure. Sometimes mom may be busy doing something and is not able to attend to the baby right away. In this case, she can talk back to her young one to acknowledge that she has heard them and that she will attend to them as soon as she can. Doing this builds trust in a baby.
4 Snuggling When Held
Babies thrive on snuggling and cuddling. When moms hold their babies, they sometimes snuggle towards mom to show them that they are comfortable and that they trust her. Constant snuggling has many benefits. It increases the emotional bond between the mother and the baby. Babies long so much for this bond that sometimes they will cry just for mom to pick them up and hold them.
Babies who are constantly snuggled and cuddled by their parents tend to sleep better, exhibit normal heart rates and are able to cope well with stress. When a mom holds her baby close, the baby remembers the good old days he or she was in his or her mothers’ womb, when mom's voice and heartbeat were so clear.
3 Staring At Mom
Babies are born with very poor eyesight. They are only able to see as far as only 8 to 15 inches so when they get an opportunity to look at their main caregiver upfront, they stare at them to take in as many features as they can. In addition, just like adults, they make eye contact when they are comfortable with someone.
Babies often stare at their mothers, especially during breastfeeding and cuddling sessions. They do so to make out their mothers’ face. It may seem like they are trying to ascertain that the person holding them is indeed their mother. Staring is normal and is part of the bonding process between mom and the baby.
2 Getting Upset When Mom Leaves
Babies older than six months normally get upset and cry whenever their mothers leave them. Those younger than six months can adapt quickly to other caregivers and as long as someone is meeting their needs adequately, they will barely notice that mom is not around. However, as they get much older, they start to draw close to their moms, such that when she leaves, even to go to the next room, they begin to cry hysterically.
When babies cry because their mother is away, they are only doing so to show how much they love their mom and do not want her to go. Moms may feel sad and guilty for leaving but look forward to holding their babies when they return.
1 Responding To Mom’s Voice
Babies begin to comprehend their mother’s voice as early as when they are in the uterus. Once born, it only takes them a few days to pick it out, this time, without all the muffling sounds that they could hear while in the womb.
When babies respond to their mother’s voice it shows that they recognize mom. Babies feel secure when they hear their mother's voice. They give mum a sense of power when they respond to their voice. Moms are also happy when they are able to use their voice to soothe and calm their little ones. They do not even have to pick the baby; they can talk or sing to them to calm them down.