Babies are not hard to understand. Because they cannot talk, they cry to communicate their concern: an empty stomach, a wet or dirty diaper, cold feet, or just a need for a cuddle or hug. They also have gestures – cute or otherwise – that have messages on them. Having been blessed to look after three gorgeous boys somehow guides me to read Yael’s gestures and cries.
Our baby boy cues he is hungry when he hand-sucks and opens his tiny lips and turns his head as if catching something to suck. Sometimes, there appears a number of vertical creases on his forehead. Seeing him does that, I ready his milk before he cries.
The midwife reminded me before leaving the hospital that a baby’s stomach is so small it cannot hold very much milk. It would not take long before it empties, thus, it’s advisable to feed him every two hours, or three hours at the most. This, the kind midwife explained, is called feeding on demand.
To know if our little boy wants more milk, I try to stroke the side of his mouth. If he turns his head and opens his mouth and seeks something to suck, I offer more milk. But if I offered something and he only plays with his tongue, it then indicates he is no longer interested.
Yael gestures “I am wet” when he kicks hard and his cry sounds choppy. Once I remove his pants and diaper, then he will stop from crying and will wait for me to finish cleaning him up. After that, he would give me a sweet thank you smile.
Another cute gesture I first learned from my firstborn was the furrowed brows and pouty lips gesture. It only showed I need to change his diaper in a few minutes. My then second son’s poo face was a scrunched face accompanied by funny yet real big eyes movement. Both Yael and Bunso share that same poo face of their kuya firstborn.
Sometimes, our little boy is banging his legs against the crib mattress and crying up a storm. These gestures imply he wants a little face time with his mama. He must have figured out that banging his legs against the crib mattress would attract my attention. He is certainly right because I would quickly pick him up and swaddle him, not in a blanket, though, but in my arms.
When he is in my arms, I gently stroke his eyebrows or forehead. When he drinks milk, I also stroke his back. Research says that touch stimulates receptors in the brain that calm any baby. So I cuddle him a lot. I give him long soothing strokes to help him relax and loosen up.
It is good to recognize our babies’ needs. By being sensitive to their cries and gestures, I believe we could better respond and have a more loving relationship with them.
And just like any moms, I would want to hear from you on how your baby communicates. It’s nice to learn from other mommies, too. It helps me understand my kids more and it’s always refreshing to hear fun stories about kids and babies. Will wait then for your stories.
* This is our Yael at less than a month old. He is bigger now at eight months old and super loves to smile a lot.