Understanding the Social and Emotional Needs of a Newborn through Behaviour
A newborn baby’s behaviour can be understood from the various gestures made by a baby to convey what he wants: murmuring, crying, looking away and moving limbs. All these signs can help you to comprehend the response of your little one towards his environment.
It has been a long wait of nine months and you finally bring your newborn baby home. The baby has turned into a star overnight. Everyone wants to be around the baby. Right from the baby’s grandparents to neighbours, everybody wants to cuddle and play with the little one.
As you cope with taking care of your little bundle of joy and learn to deal with your increased workload, your baby is also getting adjusted to different sights and sounds. Your baby is slowly getting accustomed to the faces around him, and will show a distinct behaviour pattern. You will soon start noticing him murmur, turn his head towards sounds, cry when he is upset, and move his limbs when he is excited. These gestures indicate that your baby is responding to different stimuli and also showing signs of understanding certain situations.
Your little one usually cries to express discomfort due to a wet diaper, or hunger, or for any other reason. This may happen several times in a day and you may feel that comforting the baby every time might spoil him. On the contrary, it is quite important to soothe a crying infant so that he feels safe, loved and supported. It will help develop a strong bond between you two, and reduce the crying spells. He will develop positive feelings towards his new environment and will be more relaxed. Remember crying is the only mode of communication for your baby at this stage, so try to interpret his cries and to soothe him.
A Colicky Baby
When your baby is six weeks old, you will notice more whimpers throughout the day. This behaviour is normal and will reduce with time. In some cases, parents need to cope up with long spells of crying which can be related to colic pain. The baby can be uncomfortable due to stomach pain caused by gassiness. Calm your baby by patting his back gently, and by moving his legs in a cycling motion. There are times your baby might feel over stimulated or exhausted. Try to soothe the baby by sitting in a quiet and dim corner and crooning a soft lullaby to him.
Emotional Needs of a Baby
All babies love to be cuddled as skin-to-skin contact makes them feel loved, safe and wanted. This bonding between you and your baby is also helpful in the mental and intellectual development of your child. You can massage the baby, give him a bath, take a stroll with him or simply cuddle the baby to give him the assurance he needs.
Social Needs of a Baby
Your baby starts communicating in his first few days by crying to express hunger, discomfort and overstimulation. He will gradually start to recognise faces and voices and begin to pick up sounds and gestures. The baby will soon start murmuring and gurgling in excitement to tell you about various things. You might not understand him, but try to make an effort to listen and talk to your child to encourage speech development. Positive attention is important for an healthy all-round growth of your baby, and it involves smiling back at your little one, making eye-contact and even using a sing-song voice while talking.
Your Baby’s Body Language
If your child is giving you all his attention and looks at your face intently, he is trying to get familiar with your facial features. When your baby raises his eyebrows or makes sounds that call for your attention, he wants to play and be cuddled. At this stage, your baby will try to imitate your facial expressions like raising eyebrows and pouting.
When The Baby Looks Away
There may be times when you are trying to gain your child’s attention, but the baby shies or looks away. Do not get disheartened by such gestures, as it is a normal reaction of an over-stimulated baby. Too many sounds, images and people can overburden the baby’s senses, and make him look away or push away. At this juncture, put the baby in a quiet place and try to soothe him with a little patting or his favourite lullaby.
Enjoy watching your baby grow and have a lot of fun with your tiny tot. You can help your baby feel secure with your responses. You can soothe the baby when he is crying by saying, “Mamma is here”. Babies feel secure when they are showered with affection, and have some sort of routine in a day. Your trust will give your baby confidence which is an essential skill for social bonding and the future of your child.