How do you understand your Newborn Baby’s Behavior?

How do you understand your Newborn Baby’s Behavior?

When you meet your newborn baby for the first time, you become the first person they bond or have a relationship with you. This relationship has a deep psychological impact on the baby and how he perceives the society around them.

At first, your newborn baby needs to form a strong bond with at least one parent, which in most cases is the mother. It is important that the baby and the parents have a close connection because it is best for their physical, social and mental growth. Just like any other relationship, it takes time to develop a bond with your newborn baby.

Many parents would like to know, what kind of behaviour is normal for a newborn baby and what is not. Here’s how you can understand your newborn baby’s behaviour:

Sleep: Normal sleeping patterns of newborn babies cannot be easily determined. However, a newborn baby approximately sleeps for 8 hours during the day as well as at night. Newborn babies do not sleep continuously and keep waking up until they are 3 months old and sometimes until they are 1 year old.

Newborn babies wake up from time to time, because they have a small stomach and need to be fed, every few hours. Sometimes babies wake up if they are feeling uncomfortable, like feeling too hot or cold or simply because they need you.

baby sleeping

Babies have two kinds of sleep, both of which are vital for their development. They are:

Light sleep/ REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep: Half of a newborn baby’s sleep is light sleep. Let’s say approximately the baby sleeps for 16 hours out of 24 hours, then 8 hours of the baby’s sleep will be light sleep. During this kind of sleep, the baby gets dreams and tends to wake up easily.

Deep Sleep/ Non-REM Sleep: During deep sleep, the baby is pretty much still and he does not get any dreams during this kind of sleep. The baby’s brain gets some rest in deep sleep. They do not easily wake up from deep sleep and their breathing is steady.

Here are a few important steps you need to take care of before your baby goes to sleep:
• Make sure your baby is lying on his back
• Make sure your baby sleeps on a firm surface like a crib, without any
• Make sure your baby is wearing comfortable clothing

baby crying

Crying: It is common for newborn babies to cry when they feel like something needs to change when they are hungry or want to be put to sleep. The crying will lessen when the baby is about 3 or 4 months old.
While some newborn babies might cry a lot, some might cry less. It is important to learn how to calm your baby and keep yourself calm, even though the situation feels frustrating.

Making noises– New-born babies also make noises like a hiccup, sneeze, burp, and yawn.

Breathing– It is important to check the breathing of newborn babies as they often do not breathe regularly, as it is normal for them to stop breathing for just a few seconds and then start again.

Seeing – It is difficult for a newborn to focus at first, as their vision will not get developed properly but they have better control of their eye muscles by 2-3 months of age.

Hearing –Newborns can recognize familiar sounds and voices. It is important to talk, sing and read to babies often as they will start turning towards the sound of your voice.

Communication: Other than crying, babies give out many cues, through their body movements and noises. Here are some common cues you can observe:

When the baby feels hungry:
• They suck their fingers or move their hands/ fists towards their mouths
• They make sucking noises or motions
• They touch their lips continuously
• They touch your breast or look for it

When the baby is not hungry and wants to end feeding:
• They look relaxed
• They turn away from your breast
• They stop sucking the nipple

When the baby wants to sleep:
• They yawn
• They rub their eyes
• They close their eyes
• They are irritable

baby in hungry

When the baby feels comfortable:
• They smile at you
• They coo or make soft noises
• They look at your eyes
• They look relaxed

When the baby is uncomfortable:
• They try to get away
• They Cry
• They make loud noises
• They look away
• They have stiff fingers

At first, it might be difficult to understand your newborn baby’s behaviour because they cannot tell you how they feel directly. As your bond gets stronger, you and your newborn will be able to communicate in your unique language.

Therefore, it becomes easy; if we understand our newborn babies’ behaviour as it may help us both in many ways like:

• It helps him to relax if we respond to our babies’ signals quickly as he will feel reassured, soothed and cared for.
• It helps us to learn what responses he prefers, as by watching babies we get to know his individual preferences.
• It helps the baby to build trust in the people looking after him, and he will find the predictability of his daily routine reassuring and comforting.
• It will also teach him about emotions as by observing our baby we will learn how babies show their emotions.
• Therefore, by all this, it helps one parent feel confident!!!

It can conclude that the baby also watches our movements and facial expressions and picking up on the tone of voice we use. It’s a two –way learning process. Therefore it is important to look out for these cues and closely observe their sleeping patterns.

Light sleep/ REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep

Deep Sleep/ Non-REM Sleep

Baby Crying

When the baby feels hungry

When the baby is not hungry and wants to end feeding

When the baby wants to sleep


Malathi A Ganesh is a B. Com Graduate, NTT, M.A (Lit), PGDEA (PG in Education Administration), PGDCA (PG Diploma in Computer Application), DTE (Diploma in Teaching English), ICEPT (International Certificate in Education Preschool Teaching) from Singapore and B. Ed. She has been in the field of education for the past 20 years and has an experience of running her own pre-school She is the Founder & Director Academics of Smartkidz Educare India Pvt Ltd with 275+ play schools Pan India. She is an Educationist and a Child Psychologists by profession who wants to fulfill her dream of giving Quality Education to children in their earlier years. She is also into conducting positive parenting workshops, which talks about effective child rearing. She has conducted numerous parenting workshops in all her pre schools, schools and MNC’s.

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