Having a newborn at home may be the most exciting and fascinating time of your life. You are engrossed by them. Their tiny feet, the way they fall asleep, and their cute button nose. Everything is a wonder to you and to them. Your newborn baby may take a lot of naps, but for the tiny gaps that they are awake, they are taking in a lot of information, and sometimes this sensory overload can be overwhelming. All babies are naturally inquisitive and make certain gestures that indicate how they want to react to their surroundings. They boast some unique behaviors and mannerisms that you may find hard to decipher or detect because of their subtlety. But there’s no need to worry. Even the most attentive parents can’t catch every gesture if they don’t know what they’re looking for. Although all babies are different, they all make certain movements and sounds to communicate with their surroundings.
Here are 5 newborn behavior facts along with their meaning to help you cater to your baby’s needs:
1. Maintaining Eye Contact And Cooing When They Want To Play
Your baby is as playful as ever, and one way they convey that is by keeping eye contact and repeating cooing sounds like “ooh” and” aah” sounds. They only do this to indicate that they are interested in playing with you. This behavior takes on different forms over time. Once your baby is a few months old and hits some developmental milestones, they may start to reach out to you or be more verbal by babbling or making new noises. Remember to give your little ones lots of attention when they try to interact with you. This will help them communicate more confidently in the future.
2. Turning Away From You When They Need Their Space
That’s right, babies need their space too. Your newborn may not have any trouble being attached to you like a little koala bear most of the time, but there are exceptions. For example, if you are in an unfamiliar environment or with lots of stimulation, like a noisy room with bright lights and too many people trying to touch and hold your baby, your baby won’t want to face anyone. Your baby turns away because they want to get away. Overstimulation makes them clingy, fussy, and irritated. This is their way of expressing that they have had enough excitement for the day. Most babies are overwhelmed easily, and this is the way of telling you and the world that they need some downtime. Finding a quiet space where they can relax should be your top priority if your baby exhibits this behavior.
3. Being Calm And Quiet Upon Waking Up
Have you ever woken up in the night and seen your baby lie awake just staring at the ceiling? No, your baby isn’t just weird. There’s a genuine reason for this behavior. You may be surprised to see how calm your baby is at the end of their sleep cycle, but this is because of the “quiet alert phase.” This is when your baby is taking the time to simply adjust to and observe their environment. They may spend minutes staring at different objects and responding with the occasional movement or sound if the object is in motion or piques their interest. This is a precursor to the “active alert phase,” enabling them to respond actively to sounds and sights and make them more restless.
4. Squeezing Your Fingers In Their Hands
Upon reaching 6 months of age, your baby will develop a reflex called the “palmar grasp,” where they reach out and squeeze your fingers in their hand(1). This little action indicates that your baby’s muscles are growing and their nervous system is well developed. They also do this to test their coordination skills on you. This skill has been passed down from our ancestors, who tightly gripped their mother since birth as they were constantly on the move.
5. Their Obsession With Peek-A-Boo
Their obsession with the game Peek-A-Boo is not unfounded. They are starting to understand object permanence. Objects continue to exist even when you don’t see them. This marks great cognitive improvement. As your baby reaches the 6-month mark, they will start looking for semi-visible objects, which later gives rise to them looking for hidden objects after reaching 9 months old. This implies that your baby is beginning to understand the world around them and is growing more aware of their surroundings.
Your newborn will exhibit a wide range of behaviors as they develop and grow. Keeping track of all of them may seem overwhelming at first, but noticing subtle movements and reading their needs will come with time and practice. So, are there any other unique behaviors your newborn has? Let us know in the comments section!