Caldwell County WIC Office

Baby Behavior

Have you ever wondered “What does my baby need?” As a new parent, this thought has probably come to you more than once, if not every hour. Babies are both wonderful and challenging.  It can be hard to know exactly what they need, mostly when they are crying and upset. Luckily, your baby doesn’t want you to figure it out alone.  From the time full-term babies are welcomed into this world, they know how to give you clues about when they are hungry, stressed, or just need to cuddle. Learning more about the clues your baby gives you will help you to know more about what your baby needs.

We call the clues babies give “Baby Behaviors.” For example, we all know that crying is a sure sign that something needs to be done.  Crying is also one of the last clues that babies use when letting you know that something is wrong. Usually babies will give you smaller clues before their crying begins.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t catch every clue or if you misunderstand your baby, you’ll get better with time and as you learn more about baby behaviors.

Babies often give more than one clue at a time for things that are important, like eating. If hungry, babies may open and close their mouth, begin sucking on their hands, or make sucking noises. If your baby is stressed or needs a break, they might not make eye contact with you, turn their bodies away or have a glazed facial expression. With practice, you can become an expert at knowing what your baby needs.

Baby behavior was first shared with WIC families in 2006, by the UC Davis Human Lactation Center.  The project was started to help WIC families know more about normal infant behavior.  Baby behavior information is now shared in California and many other states. WIC families who learn about baby behavior feel more confident about what to expect from their babies in the first few days, weeks, and months of life.  The  UC Davis Human Lactation Center also has several resources to help you learn more about your baby, including their Secrets of Baby Behavior Blog and Baby Behavior on Facebook.

More Baby Behavior information is also provided by California WIC at WICWorks.

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