Understanding Your Baby's Cues

mum with baby

Remember, crying is also a very important part of your baby's language and the main way of communicating their needs before talking begins. Answering your baby's cries as soon as possible helps them to feel secure.

Good listening is one of the most vital skills in your growing relationship with your baby. In the early days, it's about listening to their cries and gradually working out which one means "I'm hungry", and which means "I'm lonely and want a cuddle". Later on, it'll become the basis of a good relationship and a key part of meeting your baby's needs.

Soon you may be able to recognise a pattern in your baby's daily behaviour, and you'll begin to understand their wants and needs. Learning to read the cues has many benefits for your baby:

  • It helps your baby relax. If you respond to your baby's signals quickly, they will feel understood, and their stress levels will reduce.
  • It helps you to respond to your baby the right way. By watching your baby you'll get to know what they need.
  • It helps your baby build trust in the people looking after them.
  • It teaches your baby about emotions. Your baby learns about feelings through the way you communicate with and look after them.

Learning to read your baby's signals has benefits for you too. You'll feel much more confident as a parent if you can interpret what they want. By observing your baby, you'll also learn how your baby shows emotions.

Baby Brain Development

Did you know that research has shown that babies are born with 25% of their brains developed, and there is often a rapid period of development so that by the age of 3, their brains are 80% developed?

In that period, neglect, the wrong type of parenting and other adverse experiences can have a profound effect on how children are emotionally 'wired'. This will deeply influence their future responses to events and their ability to empathise with other people.

That is not to say that development stops at age 3 - far from it; but the research indicates that we need to intervene early to make sure that our children get the best possible start in life. We need to keep supporting them throughout childhood in ways which help them reach the key milestones of social and emotional development.

What parents do is more important than who they are. Especially in a child's earliest years, the right kind of parenting is a bigger influence on their future than wealth, class, education or any other common social factor.

Allen (2011)

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