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"I want to be a good mom...but I don't know what my baby is trying to tell me!"

Posted Sep 14 2009 2:52pm

Becky, a frustrated mother of a one week old, goes on to explain.

"Theo seems so tiny. I can’t tell what will happen next!” she says. "Are you awake or asleep?" "Is it time to eat or time for a nap?" she wonders. “I worry I won’t do the right thing for my baby.”

Though friends, family, and professionals will help, you know that her baby can be her greatest teacher! Help her read her baby's body language, and she'll soon be the expert on her baby!

The Science: Two skills to hlep new parents.

1. Read a baby’s ZONES.

Newborns’ stages of wakefulness and sleepiness (their states or “Zones”) are still developing, which can be confusing to parents. Learning to read what "Zone" a baby is in will help a mom know when to feed her baby, when to play with her baby, and when to help him sleep. There are three “Zones”: the “Resting Zone” (sleep zones), the “Ready Zone” (alert and ready to eat or play), and the “Rebooting Zone” (fussing or crying zone.)

2. See when a baby sends out an SOS (Sign of Over-Stimulation).

All babies are at times over-stimulated by sensations inside of their body or by sounds, sights, and temperature changes outside of their body. There are two kinds of SOSs: body SOS (changes in color, movement, or breathing) and behavioral changes (“Spacing Out”, “Switching Off”, or “Shutting Down.”)

An "Ah-HA" moment for this mom.

Becky was surprised to see how quickly she came to identify what “Zone” her baby was in and to notice her baby’s SOSs. Her baby seems to cry less when Becky responds to an SOSs early on. If Theo has an SOS during feeding, comforting him quietly for a moment makes breastfeeding go better. And Theo’s dad loves to spot an SOS if “play time” gets a little too rambunctious. With keen insight about their baby, this new mom and dad now feel like real pros.
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