Cute & Lovely Baby Expressions and Their Meanings

A smiling baby

When parents observe their baby’s facial expressions for the first time, they are usually enamoured by them. Over time, the realization sets in that the funny expressions of babies are simply what we see them as. For babies, that’s primarily the only way to communicate their thoughts and feelings to us. Therefore, understanding what the expressions mean and taking any action if necessary is extremely important in taking care of the baby.

Understanding the Meanings of the Expressions of Babies

A baby staring up

Here’s how you can decipher your little one’s expressions.

1. Looking at You

What It Means

The baby’s first sign of learning anything is from you. He observes how you react to a certain situation or a person and tries to understand whether it is good or bad.

What Parents Should Do

By making different faces at the baby, and naming each face as “happy” and “sad” with your voice, the baby starts to understand the emotion behind it and will react accordingly. In case a new person enters the environment, be friendly with them and let the baby see you smiling together so that he knows that the new person is not a threat and is welcome.

2. Cooing, Laughing, Broken Babbling

What It Means

Having heard parents talk amongst themselves or to them, babies may attempt to create variations in their voices the way you do or even try to match their pitch and modulations to suit yours. At around 4-6 months, babies start using their tongue, even more, babbling continuously and trying to create letters and words to communicate feelings.

What Parents Should Do

Have conversations with your baby about the day. Talk to him about what you are going to do, or be excited about new things that he might see. Ask him questions and allow him time to reply in his own way.

3. Furrowing Eyebrows and Pouting Lips

What It Means

With a stressful face like this, it is a sign that the baby is slightly overwhelmed at the moment and he might break down any moment. He wants to be alone and comfortable and doesn’t feel like it right now.

What Parents Should Do

Put your baby in a cradle and rock it gently or lift him in your arms and sway slowly. Let him calm down and relax and then place him again where he was earlier. Once he knows that everything is fine and calm, he will return back to being normal and playful.

4. Power Kicks

What It Means

Kicking usually happens when your baby gets a month old or so, and he discovers the presence of these limbs. Around this time, he starts finding other activities interesting and might get bored if they aren’t available to him. So he might start kicking around as a play or might be drawing your attention, too.

What Parents Should Do

It is best to check the baby quickly for signs of anything that might be discomforting him. Maybe the diaper is soiled, or something is poking or itching him. Look at his face and see if he’s irritated. If not, then he’s mostly kicking around because he has discovered he can, and entertaining himself. Help him do some bicycle kicks and move legs in different directions too.

5. Extremely Joyful

What It Means

Your baby may be smiling tremendously with their tiny mouth wide open, cheeks all high, and making various sounds and giggling a lot. A strong sign is when wrinkles form on the side of his eyes. This is a clear sign to indicate that he likes whatever he’s seeing right now.

What Parents Should Do

Well, keep going with whatever’s happening. If you are dancing and your baby seems to like it a lot, talk back to him and let him see the smile on your face, too. Make funny noises and use names like mommy and daddy while playing games with him so that he starts associating what he likes as well.

6. Small Low-Pitched Cry

What It Means

When a baby wakes up from a nap and feels hungry, he would usually make it known by crying in a short low-pitched manner, just for a second or two. If he does not receive any attention, the cries will progressively get louder and longer.

What Parents Should Do

On hearing the first cry, attend to your baby immediately so that he knows for a fact that you are nearby. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby with needless attention since he needs all the attention he can get in the initial months. Check if he has soiled his diaper. If not, place your finger on his mouth. If he starts sucking, it means he is hungry and it is time to feed him.

7. Intense and Investigative Stare

What it Means

Babies are fascinated by anything and everything around them. And if something catches their attention, they will continue to stare at it for a long time until they understand what they are looking at. Also, if you see your child staring at you as you move away, it is mostly a sign that he is keeping track of where you are and wonders if you will appear again from the same place.

What Parents Should Do

If your baby is staring at an object, let him continue to do so uninterrupted. Else, you can get the object or toy closer to him and see if he wants to have it. If he stares at you as you leave, you can engage in a quick peek-a-boo with him or enter from a different door to see his fascinated reaction.

8. Clumsy Clapping

What it Means

Though babies discover their limbs in the early months of their first year, it takes them a while to understand how to coordinate them in a functional manner. If your child accidentally touches his palms together and hears a sound, he will be astonished by it and want to explore it further.

What Parents Should Do

Go ahead and look at your child with admiration and clap for him. Knowing he has discovered his arms, try out different movements like raising your hands or waving them and see what he tries to do. Play clapping games with him and let him understand the power of non-verbal communication, too.

9. Grunting Sounds

What it Means

If you notice your baby grunting slowly, making ‘grrr’ sounds, it generally means he is in some kind of discomfort. At times, his face might seem tightened up or he might bend his knees and pull his legs to his chest.

What Parents Should Do

Your baby might be suffering from gas problems and fail to understand what’s happening. Gently rub his tummy and move his legs around so that he may fart and release gas. Pick him up and let him rest his back to your chest so that the pressure on the abdomen is reduced. Take them around or outside for a while until they feel calm. If this further escalates into intense crying, he might be suffering from pain and it is best to contact your doctor.

10. Startled And Surprised

What It Means

Usually present in the early months of their birth, babies respond to loud sounds and lights with a startle. A sudden bang or turning on of the lights or even his own body moving by its own weight, can startle him and cause him to get nervous and start crying.

What Parents Should Do

If the baby seems on the verge of crying, lift him up with a blanket, and recreate an environment resembling the cosy safe space of the womb. Gently hum to him and let him realize he is in a safe space with parents around and there is nothing to be afraid of.

11. Content And Satisfied

What It Means

This expression is of an extreme zen-like state where your baby seems to be free from any trials and tribulations of the world. He seems at complete peace, neither wanting any attention, nor observing anything around them, and simply relaxed in the state that they are.

What Parents Should Do

Let your baby be. Enjoy the calm that comes with a satisfied baby. He might make certain cooing sounds or gurgling sounds or move their limbs around. Do not attempt to engage with the baby needlessly. Let them have their own alone time. Make sure they are comfortable so that if they drift off to sleep, they can do so easily.

12. Clenched Fists

What It Means

Around 6 months or so, your baby might realize he can clench his fists. Generally, he’d do so around your finger or to suck on it. But at times, it might be a sign of irritation or hunger or just asking to be left alone.

What Parents Should Do

If you or anyone is playing with the baby, stop that and allow him to be alone by himself. Talk to him calmly to let him know you are close by. If it is accompanied by a small cry, check for feeding times or a soiled diaper.

A mother playing with her baby

Baby’s expressions is no different from trying to learn a foreign language. One expression could mean a lot of things. But that truly is the beauty of growing with your child as you understand him better and he begins to understand you as well.

Also Read: 

Cute Smiling Baby Photos
When do Babies Smile and Laugh