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Communicating with your baby

Updated: Sep 29, 2019

Your baby has a unique way of communicating his/her needs to you. This post is meant to help you better read your babies signals which will help to facilitate your relationship together!

Your baby will communicate in several ways:

1) Crying is the number one way infants communicate that they DO NOT like something. Whether it is a sound, the texture of something, a wet diaper, hunger, etc. Some parents are able to tell different types of crying for different emotions. As both you and your baby learn to fine tune your communication patterns you will find crying to be used less and less as a way to express discomfort. Grimacing and arching of the back may indicate that you baby is overstimulated and may need some time to rest.

2) Watching feeding cues are one ways to prevent crying and fussiness in a newborn infant. They are characterized in a few different motions. Early signs are licking the lips and 'mouthing'. Another way is called 'rooting' where and infant moves their head back and forth looking for the breast. Hand movements towards to mouth or trying to suck on objects is another sign for hunger. Stretching and body flexion, different from arching of the back, and may indicate your baby is ready for a feed. Crying is a late sign of hunger and it may be difficult to feed until she are calmer. If you feed your baby when they give you these signals you can greatly decrease the amount of crying.

3) Eye contact/facial expressions can be a great way to read emotions as well as the baby reading your emotions. They can sense stress or fear, happiness and excitement. They will reflect their emotions to what you portray which can help to facilitate their cognitive development. This is especially important during breastfeeding to increase bonding and the feeling of security for your baby.

4) Cooing is your baby's reaction to positive stimuli. As you speak or sing to your baby they will respond to your voice through laughing and 'cooing'. This is their way to verbally respond to you and maintain a conversation type of communication.

In general babies respond the best to higher pitched soft voices that verge on a melodic tone that crescendos and decrescendos to allow your baby time to interpret what you are trying to say.

The more social interaction a baby gets when it is younger, the more apt they will be. It is important to not have too many stressors through loud and deep voices, this causes a rise in cortisol which can inhibit cognitive function and cause anxiety.

Find out how Mamas Maternal Health can help you figure out how to communicate with your baby by checking out our website, thanks for reading!

Until next time!

Mikayla and Cassie

Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors


Lawrence, M., (2016)., Jaundice and the Breastfed Baby., Breastfeeding and Human Lactation.,

Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash

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