Babies have their own unique language, and by observing them you can learn this. At first it can feel like they are crying one minute, and then calm the next. This is probably true, however quickly you can pick up subtle changes in their cues. This allows you to modify your behaviour, or the environment to suit their behavioral state. Over time this reinforces the message to the infant that you understand them. It also often teaches you how to prevent your baby from crying.

State What Your Baby Does What You Should Do
Deep Sleep

Your baby will be lying still without moving. Brief startles but will not rouse.  Growth hormones are working Nothing.
Active Sleep

Moves whilst sleeping, noises, facial expressions. This is REM sleep, it is thought that brain growth happens in active sleep. Nothing.  Likely to drift between active sleep and, deep sleep.
Drowsy State

Baby may be waking up, or about to go to sleep. Yawning,  Eyes glazed, eyes half open. Observe, if waking the baby may drift back into sleep. Baby may also start to wake and move into quiet alert.  If baby is not waking they are showing you they are tired, and wanting sleep. So start to settle them.
Quiet Alert

Bright eyes, and calm. Body is pretty inactive. This is when your baby is most responsive to play. You can face your baby, and talk to your baby.  Black and white books are great for new-born’s at this time.
Active Alert

This is a transitional stage. If playing with the baby they may turn their head away. Or if the environment, is to bright or to much stimulation going on they might start to move more. They may start to posset small amounts of colic. The baby is asking you to change the pace, or has a need. If you modify the environment or your behaviour they may go back to quiet alert. They may also start smacking their lips if hungry. Or start wriggling if they need their nappy changing.
Crying

This new born has a direct need now. They may start to scream, and move their body frantically. This baby may need to be fed, changed, or may need help settling to sleep. Rocking and reassuring also helps. This baby may also be over stimulated and need quiet and dark if in a very loud, bright room.

The information on this website is for general information and it is not intended as, nor should it be considered as a substitute for seeing your own GP, midwife or healthcare professional. You are advised to seek professional medical advice if you have any concerns or suspect you have a medical problem.