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Baby Emotions

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Babies rely on their level of comfort and safety to determine how they feel.  Often babies do not feel comfortable because of tummy function issues or some neck tightness they are experiencing, although there can be many more reasons than this. 

Babies have a sophisticated non verbal communication system to let you know about their needs and wants.  

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Crying serves many purposes in life. For babies, it can mean "I need help..., a diaper change..., I'm hungry...", to "I need to blow off some steam!".

Crying serves two purposes:

1.  Communication

2.  Release tension or stress

Listening to the unique cries of your baby will help you determine how you are going to respond to your baby.   It is NOT recommended for you to attempt to repress your baby's crying.  If baby is crying because he or she is hungry, feed the baby, however if you have offered the breast or bottle several times and your baby is still not content, your baby may need to cry to release frustration or stress. 

I do recommend that you gently and lovingly HOLD your baby while they cry.  It can be helpful for you to be available to them for eye contact.    Crying to release tension can be a natural healing mechanism for your baby.   Many babies need to cry about a difficult delivery or rough handling or just because they are getting used to life outside of the womb.

4 types of cries that require immediate response or some type of change:

1. Hunger cry.  This is typically repetitive and the baby will alternate between crying and rooting around, searching for something to suck on.  It  has probably been 2 or more hours since the last feeding.

2.  Wet or soiled diaper cry.  This cry sounds like baby is talking and they squirm around a little more than usual.  Check diaper and change if necessary.

3.  Pain cry.  This cry typically comes on strong and may get higher in pitch and rate.  Baby will probably be crying with their eyes closed.  Check to be sure baby is not laying on something.

4. Alone cry.   This sometimes sounds like a questioning cry, it is not as loud as hunger or pain cry.  Baby may look around a little while they are crying.  Babies have a small space where they sense people near them. Stay close to your baby so they can sense / feel your presence.

Otherwise, crying can be helpful, especially during TummyTime!  It can be quite frustrating for your baby to lift their head.   Allow your baby to express frustration.   Experiencing tummy time is the path to development for babies.   Speak soothingly to your baby.   Reassure your baby you are near and you love them for all their effort and determination!   I do NOT recommend letting your baby cry when they are alone. 

Please understand that your baby needs your peacefulness and gentle reassuring love to work through some of their troubles. 

Listening to our babies cry can bring up our own strong feelings.  These feelings can range from powerlessness, helplessness, anxiety, grief and even anger.  Babies do not misbehave or do things to annoy us on purpose.  They do cry and fuss to get a need met.  I recommend  meeting your baby's need for unconditional love by providing gentle, caring touch / holding them while they cry. Then, after you are able to put your baby down, you can  deal with your strong emotions or reactions to  baby's cries with a friend, a spouse or even a therapist or counselor.

Emotional states

All behavior is meaningful.  

All actions, facial expressions, movements, and vocalizations have some meaning to your baby.   Your baby is "speaking" to you in these ways.  

It is important to LISTEN to your baby and learn to interpret what their needs are based on his or her behavioral cues.  By tuning into our babies in this way we facilitate baby's understanding of safety, security, and consistency. This helps enhance our baby's brain development and relationship skills right from the start!

Is there a difference between emotions and feelings?  hmmmm.

Be true to the way you feel!

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