18 Signs To Help You Understand Your Baby Better.

Written by Stella Matilda

While every parent learns to understand and interpret their own baby’s sign, Parents Avenue want to help make new parents lives a lot easier with these 18 signs. Experts outline 3 main methods (the way they cry, the noise they make and the movement they make) to help babies communicate with adults.
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Method No.1: The Way They Cry

Crying is the main way for a baby to express their need during the first few months of their life. But how can parents understand if the baby is crying from hunger, pain or something else?

  • Cry For Attention – When your baby cry for 5-6 seconds and then pause for 20 seconds as if they are waiting for a result. If the parent doesn’t respond, then this cycle repeats several times until the crying becomes continuous. This normally means the baby is feeling alone, or been left alone for a long time and now they want their parents to pick them up.
  • Cry For Feeding – It can start with a Cry For Attention, but if the baby wasn’t picked up and fed, the cry will continue and normally become hysterical. Baby might keep rotating their head as if looking for breast/bottle for feeding time. Sometimes making smacking sounds with their mouth too.
  • Cry Because of Pain – The baby cry will be monotonous, loud and constant. Periodically, there will be a burst of hysterical cry to indicate the increase of pain. However, if your baby is getting sick, their cry can also be monotonous, but quiet because they don’t have enough energy and strength to make loud noises.
  • Cry Because of Physiological Process – Such as urination, defecation and even feeling gassy (needing to fart or burp) can initially cause discomfort in a baby especially newborn babies. This type of crying resembles whining and squeaking.
  • Cry Because of Sleepiness – When your baby wants to sleep but finding it difficult to fall asleep, their cry will sound like a smooth whining followed by yawning and rubbing their eyes and ears.
  • Cry Because of Discomfort – Maybe your baby is feeling cold or too hot. Your baby’s cry will sound irritated and intermittent, often accompanied by fidgeting. So do check on their clothes if they are too warm or too cold, perhaps need a diaper change too.
  • Other related crying may also mean your baby wants a change of environment, sometimes loud noises or unfamiliar places makes your baby uneasy. Sometimes also just simply means they are frustrated or bored.
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Method 2: The Sounds They Make

Priscilla Dunstan, an Australian Paediatrician has been studying and researching on early childhood sounds (newborn upto 4 months old) for over 20 years. In her experiments, thousands of babies from different nationalities took part. Priscilla thinks that primary reflex sounds are international. When baby is 4 months old, they make sounds seeking communication which relate to physical needs. It’s understandable that the ability to recognize these sounds in time can prevent further upcoming crying episode.

Here are some of the main sounds a baby make:


  • ’Neh’ – “I’m hungry!”This sound is produced when the baby pushes their tongue up to the roof of their mouth and is triggered by the sucking reflex.
  • ’Eh’ – “I’m gonna burp!”This sound is formed when excess air starts to leave the baby’s esophagus and the baby tries to reflexively release it from their mouth.
  • ’Owh’– “I’m sleepy or tired!” The baby produces this ’sound of tiredness’ by folding their lips before yawning.
  • ’Heh’ – “I’m feeling uncomfortable!”Unpleasant tactile sensations make the baby move and jerk their hands and feet. All these movements contribute to producing the ’Heh’ sound, especially when the baby’s mouth is slightly opened.
  • ’Eairh’ – ’I have gases and pain in my tummy!’ The sounds they make get distorted and turn into a moan when a baby strains their tummy and exhales while trying to get rid of the pain.
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Method 3: The Movement They Make


Body language tells a lot about a baby’s overall well-being. Here are some main body language of a baby and what they mean:

  • Arching Their Back – For newborn to 2 months old, this movement is happened when a baby is responding to pain and colic. If a baby arches their back after eating, it means they are full. If the baby is doing this during eating, it can be a sign of reflux. While babies 2-3 months and above, this movement normally means they are tired and in a bad mood.
  • Rotating Their Head – For newborn babies, this is a calming movement for the baby. They might do it before falling asleep or when they’re around unknown people.
  • Grabbing Their Ears.In most cases, this movement shows that the baby is just exploring their body. You should consult the doctor only if this movement is followed by crying and repeats often.
  • Clenching Their Fists.This is a sign of hunger. If you manage to notice it in time, you can prevent the crying caused by them being hungry.
  • Lifting Their Legs. This is the sign of colic and tummy pain. The baby is trying to reflexively ease the pain.
  • Jerking Their Arms.This movement means that the baby got frightened. A loud sound, bright light, or sudden awakening can provoke the startle reflex. In this case, the baby needs to be comforted.

It is recommended to talk to your baby as often as possible, explaining and showing them everything in their surroundings. Some of the best way is to read bedtime story books to your baby from the day he or she is born! This help to create bonding and expression of love using sounds, gestures and touch to your baby which is proven to help baby develop mentally and physically better.

At Parents Avenue, we wish you luck and hope you have an easy time understanding each other.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. At Parents Avenue, we strongly recommend all our readers to seek medical advise from your local hospital or clinic. Thank you. 



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