12 Baby Body Language that You SHOULD Know

understanding your baby body language

Understanding your Baby Body Language – What if I told you that there are more ways your baby communicates to you than just cries. Yes, that is right. Crying is not the only way a baby is able to communicate.

While we might be hearing the cries. And trying to address it and spend the night with a crying baby. We do understand that the baby is crying because of something. We try to pacify the baby and not to cry but many times we overlook what is that the baby trying to tell us.

A baby communicates through body language as well. Different baby body language means different things. A mother should have some tips of recognizing the baby body language in her mind.

Having some basic knowledge can help you immensely. And we hope that you will not spend another stressful night with a baby continuously crying loudly.

Read more to find out!


What is Body Language?

Body language is way to communicate without the use of the sound from the mouth. It is another way to express needs and feelings in humans.

Adults and children use body language all the time. The communication includes using face expressions and different body parts.

I have heard that 80% of communication happens through body language. You can say the sweetest thing with a very aggressive body language and the other person will be taken aback.

Since babies are unable to speak out their thoughts and feelings, it is vital to have some knowledge to recognize the basic needs.

Sometimes, the baby body language is prominent, so you do not have to wait for the baby to cry for its needs.

Baby Body Language - quotes myshadesofyellow.com

For example, a baby can show in several ways that he or she hungry through body language without crying loudly. I have found that most of the kids including my children tend to suck their fingers to signal that they are hungry  

If a baby is satisfied at initial stage, he or she will grow up to be less moody and can help minimize tantrums as toddlers.

If you have a toddler or a pre-schooler and you would like to know more about temper tantrums you can read article 10 Effective Ways To Reduce Temper Tantrums in Kids.

Baby Body Language

12 Tips to Understand baby body language

Kicking and enjoying

When your baby is happy and the tummy is full, he or she will kick his or her legs back and forth. Also, this also indicates excitement. These are the moments you want to achieve many times during a day.

How to respond: Encourage your baby to kick more as it helps build the leg muscles to develop and will eventually start to crawl at the proper age. 

Many ways in which we can help in developing motor skills in our baby we have written a detailed article on this in our blog title How-To Improve Physical Development in Your Baby

Turning and opening her mouth

When your baby turns towards your chest and opens his/her mouth, this means the baby wants to be fed.

How to respond: Breastfeed the baby till he or she is full. The baby will leave the breast him or herself when full.

Note: When the baby is attended to and is fed only when they are very hungry. There is a possibility that the baby can over feed from themselves.

This would also make the baby feel very uncomfortable and restless. Even after they are fed. And this can become a reason for crying even after the feed. This can also be one of the reasons for colic problems.

Turning the face away

The baby is crying, and you think maybe he or she is hungry. So, you offer the breast but he or she turns away from it but is still crying.

How to respond: This means that the baby needs something else. Maybe he or she wants a diaper change or wants to sleep.

Simply, try these things and if still this continues, then the baby is wants to spend some time with you or the siblings.

There are many reasons baby cries. Read our article Why is my Baby Crying? Tips to calm your crying Baby. And rule out reasons one by one.

Arching the back

It is common baby body language among babies to arch the back with cries. It means several things.

Sometimes he or she is frustrated and tired. Other times, it means that the baby is suffering from colic issues. Or maybe, he or she does not want to fed any longer if the baby arches in the middle of feeding.

Nevertheless, your baby is telling you that something is bothering him or her and needs the right action.

Baby Body Language

How to respond:

  • You can distract the baby by showing her some toys.
  • Burp The baby. To relieve glassiness or colic problems.
  • Give baby some Tummy Time.
  • Walk around to take the mind off the frustration and tiredness.
  • If the baby is tired, he or she will put the head down on the shoulder and you can hum a lullaby and tap gently to sleep.

If you are not used to singing to your baby. We urge you to start the practice. It has some amazing benefits and you can read about it in her article Benefits of singing to your baby.

Stretching out the arms with open hands

baby body language of happiness

A baby will stretch out the arms with open hands when he or she is happy and content.

 How to Respond: Respond to this specific baby body language by talking and playing with the baby. This is the right moment to go out for a short walk or spend some time talking to your baby.

Maybe you could just make her giggle with funny faces and sounds. Any type of quality time is healthy and nourishing for the baby’s brain.

Baby Talk has wonderful benefits. It builds the foundation of communication skills in your baby. If you are wondering how to baby talk to your baby our article How- To TALK to your baby ~ Baby Talk can give you some insights.

Clenching the fist

When a baby is hungry, he or she will clench the fist. Try to suck their fist. I have seen that the more vigorous it is the hungrier they are. Immediate response is a must.

How to respond: The clenched fist usually means that the baby is hungry. Even though the baby is not crying yet, it is best to feed the baby till full.

Note: Breast feed your baby if possible, not just for the first few months. It is proven that babies who are breast fed have higher IQ’s than babies who are not. To know more on how to boost your baby IQ read our article 15 ~ Easy ways to Boost your baby’s IQ

Curling up with knees towards the tummy

When your baby is crying and curls him or herself with knees towards his or her tummy, it means that the baby is having gas or digestive issues. This usually happens in the first 3 months of a baby’s birth.

How to respond: If your baby has colic problem, see if a burp needs to come out. Otherwise, put him or her on your shoulder and gently press the tummy towards your breast.

This will help soothe the baby. Research has shown that sometimes a massage of the tummy helps. If nothing works to relive the colic, it is best to check with your pediatrician for colic cure. Exercise caution while you use over the counter medicines.

Read our informative article SELF MEDICATION for Kids – A MUST KNOW for every parent Before you take steps to self-medicate your baby or anyone.  

Grabbing the Ears

If your baby grabs his or her ears, it signals more than one thing. It could be an indication that the baby has ear infection, or it is a sign for teething. A mother should respond accordingly.

How to respond: If your baby is teething, then a teether might help or a massage on the gums with your clean finger might ease the pain.

We were told by our pediatricians that keep the teether in fridge for few mins and give it to the baby. This will help in relieving teething gum pains. Do not make the teether very cold or frozen. This can give your little one a frost bite or even a cold.

 However, if a baby is crying due to ear infection, a visit to the doctor is a must. It is very important to seek a doctor’s advice as ear infection should be properly examined as it is close to the brain. 

DONOT use ear bud and try to take a wax out yourself. Also use ear wax drops without ruling out other reasons from your doctor.

My daughter had a tiny button lodged inside her ears and it was covered in wax. We thought it was wax but luckily, we had the sense to take her to our ENT for check up than start her on ear wax drops over-selves.

Rubbing the Eyes

baby sleepy. understanding their body language

A baby will rub his or her eyes to let the mother know that he or she wants to sleep.

How to Respond: Simply follow the routine of making the baby sleep. Some babies like to sleep by rocking back and forth. Others like to put be out on the shoulder and gently be tapped to sleep.

Still others like to be carried around while walking back and forth. All babies have a unique way snoozing.

You can read our very interesting article 12 Everyday activities that WILL impact baby’s development to help you enjoy this stage of your kid.

 Head banging

A baby is likely to have the habit of banging the head. While it sounds scary and very disturbing when we see our little one does it. It is quite common, and baby can outgrow this stage by the time they are 5 yrs. as outer limit.

There can be many reasons for head banging. But the common one is when baby is trying to sleep. Ironically, head banging is one of the ways in which baby tries to soothe itself.

Research has shown that this is more common among the boys.

How to Respond: The banging of the head could scare a mother. It is important to keep a lookout if this habit persists.

A mother should make sure that the baby does not bang the head on the floor or against a wall.

In rare cases it can be pain, or developmental issues or psychological issues in very rare cases. It is a good idea to visit the doctor to make sure that nothing else is bothering the baby.

Make sure that you have baby proofed your house. If you have not our article 17 ways to effectively baby proof your House can give you some guidance.

The Startling Jerk

It is common to see a baby startle in his or her sleep. It usually happens if the baby is disturbed by sounds from the outside. Also, in the first 3 to 4 months, a baby does not have control of his or her arms so the motion of the arm could jerk the baby in the sleep. 

How to Respond: A mother should be careful not let any sound disturb the sleep of the baby.

Siblings should play in another room and it should be completely silent in the room where a baby is sleeping.

Let us face it. You really need this time to either catch up on your sleep or do house chores.

Not to forget the fact that you need to be pro at swaddling a baby. Swaddling lets the baby sleep in comfort and warmth as if he or she is still in the womb.

A mother with good swaddling practice will let a baby sleep at peace for longer hours.

However, after the baby starts to roll over. It is best to just cover the baby and tuck in to keep baby warm than swaddling.

To know more about safe sleep practice for your baby along with other things to watch out for once your baby starts to roll over and their in. read our article SAFETY WATCH OUT!! ~ WHEN baby start ROLLING- OVER.

Sucking the finger

baby is tired lying on its belly

You have just fed the baby some time ago and the baby is continuously putting his or her finger in the mouth as if hungry. However, this only means that the baby is comforting him or herself.

How to Respond: Do not worry momma. The baby is just having some self-comforting time. Let them have this moment to self-learn soothing him or herself.

Just ensure that it does not turn into a thumb sucking habit later.

Video Time: All about babies cues


Babies have limited ways to let the parents know that he or she needs something. The main verbal indication of something is needed is by crying.

Remember that there is baby body language though which your baby communicates with you. It is important for all parents to know the basic baby body language, especially the first-time parents. You can grab few more tips from our article 15 Easy Practical Parenting Tips – For New Parents.

It will help the parents know exactly what the baby wants and quickly fulfill it before the baby gets very moody and wails to extreme extend.

A parent should do everything to learn different ways to satisfy the baby’s needs. In conclusion, all parents want a happy baby at the end of the day.  So, the more knowledgeable you are the better equipped you will be to handle the challenges of this phase.

God Bless!!

We hope this blog has been helpful to you. If Yes, show us love by sharing the blog post with your friends and loved ones.

What is your baby’s peculiar body language? What was the first baby body language did you decode?

Thabitha David

Thabitha David

Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend. She is a MBA Graduate specialized in Human Resources. She is a very proud mother of 3 Kids. (2 Teens & 1 Tween). She is a keen Observer of Life and is a blogger. She writes these articles based on her experience (Success and Failures). She does this with hope to help and ease the pain of at-least one parent as they face the challenges of parenting. Read more from the About Us Page

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2 Responses

  1. July 31, 2020

    […] If you are worried about teething and you have questions on the same. You can read our article 12 Baby Body Language that You SHOULD Know. […]

  2. August 7, 2020

    […] It is your baby’s nonverbal communication to you. Know more about baby body languages so that it becomes easy for you to understand your baby’s needs and attend to them. Read our very interesting article 12 Baby Body Language that You SHOULD Know. […]

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