Baby Body Language

by Caroline Schaefer

(Parents Magazine, January 2012)


Note: Parent(s) if you no longer want the good-and-bad involved with parenting, you may drop of your infant(s) or child(ren) at my doorstep--no questions asked. Please do not harm your child, just drop your child off to me for some quiet time, or so that I may make other solutions on your behalf. Remember, children never ask to come to our great world.


Holding Baby



Aching Back

Source: Baby 411, Ari Brown, M.D.

If your baby arches back in the middle of feeding and cries

or spits up excessively, it could be a sign of reflux or (GERD).

If it doesn't seem related to feeding it might mean that your

baby is frustrated and could use some comforting.


Scrunched-Up Knees

Source: Catherine Nelson, M.D.

This position is usually a sign of abdominal discomfort,

either from having gas, passing a bowel movement, or being

constipated.  To ease the discomfort:

  • Make sure that you burp your baby throughout a feeding.
  • If you're breastfeeding, check your own diet for common gas culprits such as broccoli or beans.
  • Your pediatrician may suggest giving your baby 2 to 4 ounces of water per day or a bit of prune juice diluted with water.


Source: Nelson, M.D., Brown, M.D.

This may be a normal (he/she is okay) habit of your child.

And guess what? It doesn't hurt your baby.  Babies actually

find it soothing. Alert: If your baby bangs head for long periods

of time instead of engaging with others or refuses to play with

toys, call a pediatrician for a checkup.

Most kids give up this behavior by age three.


Constant Kicking

Source: Claire McCarthy, M.D.

It may be simply play time.


Grabbing Ears

Source: Nelson, M.D.

Your baby may be discovering these unique body parts.

Or it may be teething symptoms (have a frozen teething ring handy). 

Ear infection symptoms: fever, stuffy nose, and trouble sleeping at night.


Fevers (David Katz, MD., June 2013)


High fever: higher than 101°F for newborns and adults; 102°F for three-month old infants - children.


Take medication only in the case of a high fever will lead to a quicker recovery.


Low-grade fevers: helps to battle infections and are safe for infants three months and older.




Clenched Fist

Source: S. Michelle Long, certified nurse

Most babies hold their hands in this position at rest.

Babies usually start to open up their hands by eight weeks,

and begin reaching and grabbing by three to four months.

Sometimes, it may mean a sign of stress or hunger.

Babies who are hungry normally tense up all over.

If this behavior continues past three months contact a pediatrician.


Arm Jerks

Source: McCarthy, M.D., Nelson, M.D.

This is a typical (Moro) reflex for newborns.  The activity is normally

throwing arms out to the sides and then quickly bring them back

toward the middle of the body. It may also occur whenever startled

by a noise, bright light, or sudden movement.

The behavior normally ends at three or four months. 

Make sure to hug or caress (you can use a receiving blanket wrap for young babies) 

during naps and bedtime.


Appropriate Sleep Space for Newborn's First Year

Accepting the Birth of a New Sibling


Older children may have trouble adjusting to the new role in their

expanded family. Parents can affect the relationship between children

by what they do before and after the birth. 


During the last several months of the pregnancy, talk with your child

about the new baby. Explain that everyone will need to help out with the baby.

Answer questions about birth, show the child pictures of when they were newborns.

Read books about the arrival of a sibling. 


Your child can go along for prenatal checkups and visit the hospital

where the birth will take place.  Prepare their bag for the hospital visit

or for their mini vacation while you are giving birth.  

Prepare grandparents and other family and friends, too.


After the birth, mention to external members that it is important to

include conversations involving all of your children when in their presence.

Take a picture or video of the older children's first visit with the newborn.

It's okay to give a gift to him/her/them on this special occasion.

A surprise gift doesn't have to cost much. Allow it to be a simple "I love you" action.



  • Keep up with school attendance, notes, homework, and field trips
  • Maintain bath time and bedtime routines
  • Maintain family routines
  • Enlist children's help in caring for the new baby. Observe.
  • Handle any negative behaviors immediately!