New babies can be very mysterious, especially if it is your first one. Being a new parent can be very stressful when you never know what your little one will do next. Babies do have distinct moods and parents can learn to tell what baby is feeling by observing how they are behaving. There are five basic moods that babies go through. When baby is awake he or she will go in and out of four moods or states. These states can be identified by the way your baby is moving and breathing.
The first state is drowsy. Drowsy babies open and close their eyes and may breath faster and then slower. During this state your baby might have trouble keeping his or her head off of your shoulder. A baby who is drowsy will have droopy eyelids and glazed over eyes. Many babies begin to cry when they reach the drowsy state. When drowsy they need a break from what they were doing and may need your help falling asleep.
The next state is the quiet alert state. This is when babies can best learn new things because they are open to stimulation. They are calm, happy and relaxed. Babies in this state are ready to socialize and will stare intently at your face while trying to interact with you. During this state most parents get to relax because baby is happy, but keep in mind that your baby is actually working really hard observing the world around them. This can be very tiring and parents should make sure that their babies do not get over stimulated.
Another state babies go through is irritable. There are many reasons why your baby gets irritable and during this state they will be fussy and squirming. Baby will not be interested in toys and will turn away from anyone who is trying to interact with them. One reason for irritability is hunger. Young babies will get irritable when they need to eat and will often try to suckle anything that gets close to their mouths. Another reason babies enter this stage is because they are tired or over stimulated. Babies often keep playing past when they are comfortable because it is so much fun. Your little one also might be upset because they need to have a bowel movement and they are still not used to their bodies yet. When your baby gets irritable it is time to try changing their diaper, feeding them and rocking them.
If your efforts are not successful your baby will enter the next state which is crying. It is pretty obvious what crying looks like. You baby will be bright red, tense and will be making awful noises that will stress out anyone who is around. When a baby cries it means that they need something right away and these noises are designed to make you come running. If babies were more pleasant when they were in need, no one would take care of them. When you baby starts crying it is a clear signal that they need your help to feel better or safe. Once they get started it is hard for them to stop crying. If changing them and feeding them does not work you will need to move on to rocking or cuddling. Do not switch back and forth between soothing techniques. It is better to stick with one and just keep at it until it works.
The last state you baby goes into is the sleeping state. A newborn spends about 18 hours a day asleep. During about half of this time sleeping baby is going back and forth between active sleep and quiet sleep. While you baby is in a quiet sleep state his or her eyelids are still and they will let out a little sigh every few minutes. During active sleep baby’s eyes are moving and they will be twitching or making funny faces. During active sleep your baby will be breathing faster than during quiet sleep.
Learning about the moods your baby goes through will give you a better understanding of them. It can make it easier to work with their moods and prevent too much upset. You can also use this knowledge to help your baby learn during the times that they are the most receptive. You can also learn what your baby’s next stage of development will be by observing what they do during their active alert stage. Their spontaneous activities are a good indication of what they will be learning to do next. Whatever your reasons for learning about your babies moods; the most important is that anticipating their needs makes being a parent easier and less stressful.
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