It can be difficult for new parents to tell whether their infant’s crying is caused by hunger or by the need to change their soiled diaper.
Fortunately, you can understand your baby’s meaning from their body language. As simple as an open fist can reveal a lot.
1. Arching back
If you notice your child arches their back as a reaction to pain, it’s most likely due to heartburn.
During a feeding, an infant may be full, but if they do so during colic or a digestive disorder such as GERD or acid reflux, it may also indicate that they are experiencing colic.
Additionally, they may be fatigued, upset, or frustrated, which are common explanations. A pediatrician should be consulted right away if your child is constantly crying.
2. Constant kicking
According to Claire McCarthy, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, constant kicking could be a good sign.
According to McCarthy, if she appears joyful and cheerful, she probably wants to play.
If the infant is fussy, it can be a sign that something is upsetting them. Check to see what is upsetting her. Gas, a dirty diaper, or even a tight car seat can cause problems.
Dr. Catherine Nelson, a physician at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, says babies find the regular back-and-forth motion soothing.
A persistent infant’s behavior may indicate something else if it continues to make the same move for an extended period of time. “You should bring it up to your pediatrician at a checkup,” Dr. Brown advised. “If your child bangs his head for an extended period of time instead of playing with his toys or interacting with others.”
Ideally, by the time the infant is three years old, this practice should be discontinued.
4. Grabbing ears
When a newborn grabs their ears, it is not always a sign of an ear infection.
Many parents assume this, but often, a baby has only recently become aware of her ears, according to Dr. Nelson.
Dr. Brown adds that it is also an indication that the infant is teething as the one-year molars are beginning to emerge.
5. Clenched fist
You should take immediate action if you notice your child clenching their fists. A hungry child will clench their fists.
According to S. Michelle Long, a qualified infant nurse in New York City, “when a baby is hungry, it tightens up all over.”
6. Scrunched up knees
When a baby scrunches up their knees, he or she may have intestinal issues, such as constipation, gas, or stomach discomfort.
The position is usually a sign of stomach discomfort caused by gas, a bowel movement, or constipation, says Dr. Nelson.
Burp them slowly while giving them a gentle pat on the back to lessen their discomfort.
7. Arm jerks
A loud noise, a bright light, or a sudden movement startles the infant. By turning down the noise or the light and wrapping them in a blanket, you can help them get to sleep.
When they reach the age of three to four months, the arm jerks should stop.