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Actions speak more than words. As babies are small and they cannot speak, the only way they can express themselves is through actions. They share their happiness, sadness, anxiety, pain etc by means of gestures only. Therefore it’s important for the parents to understand their signs and help them out. Its good fun to try to make out what the baby wants to convey. Each baby is different and has its own way of expressing its ideas. Here are some clues to decipher baby’s signs:


If the baby is healthy and happy then the heart beat would be steady. If it’s fast then the child might be in discomfort. At night, the heart rate varies depending on the stage of sleep of the baby

Clenching of hands

For the first few weeks, the babies keep their hands tightly clenched. Then they open up and let go of them. During this period, splayed hands indicate that the baby is in utter discomfort.


The position of the toes and feet indicate the comfort level of the child. If big toe is extended or slightly curled up toes or if the whole foot is stiff and points towards the floor, then the child must be in terrible pain and requires attention.

Arched back

When babies sense trouble, they lift up their back in the form of arch to get away from it.

Nose and Lip movement

Wrinkling of nose and pursing of lips is a sign of disgust. This is universally same for all babies.


Babies’ eyes open wide when they are in pain or are frightened by sudden loud noise, bright light or fear of falling. At such circumstances they arch their backs and clench their fingers and toes. This instinctive reaction is called Moro or Startle Reflex and is common to all babies. Babies have direct eye to eye contact if they are happy otherwise they avoid it. Half shut eyes combined with furrowed brow indicates discomfort.

Head Gestures

When the babies look at the people with whom they are happy and comfortable with and turn off of their head if they don’t look familiar to them.

There are many other gestures which are fairly simple and would be obvious to most parents. If the babies are tired or exhausted, they would yawn to show that they need rest. When they are around six months, they begin to lift up their arms to show that they want to be carried.


Light stimulates the eyes and the nerves in the nose. Therefore, some babies sneeze when they wake up. This is not a cause to worry at all.

Leg movements

If the baby just kicks it legs then it’s happy and relaxed but if it’s stiff and holds the legs against its tummy then it may have abdominal pain.


Babies crawl towards the person they are comfortable with and go away form people whose company doesn’t stimulate them.