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How to read baby sign language

From the moment they’re born, your baby has a lot to say. Whether they’re rubbing their eyes when they’re tired to reaching their arms up when they want a cuddle, they’ve got ways to tell you how they’re feeling. Here are some baby sign language cues to look out for.

5 mins to read Oct 26, 2020
  • Ask yourself if baby’s tired. Look out for a slow build-up of grunt-like cries and rubbing eyes.
  • Work out if they’re in pain. Often signaled with a sudden high-pitched shriek followed by a big breath and another shriek.
  • Find out if it’s colic. Watch out for regular shrieking in the late afternoon or evening for up to a few hours. Their face may become flushed, scrunched up, and they may clench their fists, draw their knees up to their tummy, or arch their back.
  • Could baby be angry? Look out for loud crying while going red in the face.
  • Remember they might feel ignored. Yelling and shouting could be a hint.
  • Watch out for signs of fear. Baby may freeze on the spot.
  • Ask yourself if they’re hungry. They might be hunting for the breast or fidgeting and sucking fingers, your shoulders, or even your nose or chin! For more clues on whether your baby is hungry or full, check out the nine faces of feeding. []
  • Remember they’re learning to talk. Regular babbling means they probably just want a chin wag.
  • See if they want something. Once they learn to point, they may get good at giving instructions.
  • Find out if they just want a cuddle. Baby will soon start to raise her arms to let you know.
  • See if they want to play. Hiding their face behind their hands could be a good time for peekaboo.
  • Look out for signs your baby is content—an angelic little face smiling back at you!