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How to read and interpret signals?

How do we learn how to read baby's signals? It can be hard at first to work out what babies want, but careful observation of their body, hand movements and facial expressions can give vital clues.

Good for looking at

  • reading baby's signals
  • facial expressions
  • hand movements
  • sleep routines

Transcript of video – How to interpret the baby’s signals

Watch closely here: Orson rubs his eyes, a signal for being tired. Dad misinterprets the signal and Orson starts getting distressed. There are only short periods at this early stage where Orson’s calm and alert and ready for interaction. Babies can easily become over stimulated and attempting to interact with him when he’s not in this calm and alert state just distresses him more. Dad soon works it out. He cuddles him securely and Orson relaxes.

Sleeping takes up most of Orson’s time at first. At this age he’s sleeping about 19 hours a day. He doesn’t sleep through the night yet and only gradually will he be able to. He is born with a biological internal clock that is affected by light and temperature. This 24-hour body clock gradually synchronises with day and night and he begins to sleep more when it’s dark and cool. His sleeping routine will be encouraged by his parents helping him go to sleep by using soothing routines like, holding or rocking. He will also be sensitive to the sleeping routine of the rest of the family. If he has a regular night time routine, it will help him to establish a good sleeping pattern. His brain will make strong connections and fire along certain pathways associating soothing with sleep. He’s learning, sorting out his experiences through consistency and repetition.