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The ultimate guide to baby body language: The subtle movements that newborns use to say they're hungry, full or want to play

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 5 days ago Matilda Rudd For Daily Mail Australia

Before they can speak, babies use special body language cues to tell their parents when they're hungry, full, feeling playful or sleepy.

While it's not the same for every newborn, the majority of them will exhibit these signs, said Melbourne fertility nurse and midwife educator at Tiny Hearts Foundation Cate Wade.

A post shared by the foundation showed how children use their hands to convey feelings - and it had an unprecedented response online. 

'Studies have shown that when a newborn is hungry, their hands will be in a tight, fist-like gesture,' the status read.

a person holding a baby: Before they can speak babies use special body language cues to tell their parents when they're hungry, full, feeling playful or sleepy (stock image) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Before they can speak babies use special body language cues to tell their parents when they're hungry, full, feeling playful or sleepy (stock image) a close up of a piece of paper: A post shared by the foundation showed how children use their hands to convey feelings - and it had an unprecedented response online © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A post shared by the foundation showed how children use their hands to convey feelings - and it had an unprecedented response online

'As they progress into their feed, their hands will slowly start to loosen, resulting in a relaxed palm. This means they've had enough of the good stuff and are full.'

However, they did warn parents who were concerned in the comments section that their own child didn't follow these 'rules' that this body language wasn't the same for all young children and it may not happen 'every time'. 

'It may, in fact, be the opposite because you know babies like to make life a guessing game,' it said.

'New parents think crying is the only way a newborn can communicate their needs to them but even from the early days parents should start observing their behaviour,' Cate told FEMAIL.

HUNGER CUES

Babies have a special way of conveying their hunger to adults.

If they are asleep and suddenly stir and begin gurgling, showcasing they're awake, this can be an indication that they're craving food.   

'Opening their mouth and turning their head from side to side "seeking" the breast are also indicators of a hungry bub,' Cate said.

If they suddenly increase their physical activity and begin kicking out, or put their hand into their mouth, these are also signs (stock image) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited If they suddenly increase their physical activity and begin kicking out, or put their hand into their mouth, these are also signs (stock image)

If they suddenly increase their physical activity and begin kicking out, or put their hand into their mouth, these are also signs.

Crying can also be seen as a means of conveying hunger in this case.

PLAY CUES 

Immediately after a baby finishes their feed they will be content enough to engage in play with their eyes wide and bright.

'There will be a lot of eye contact and smooth non-jerky movements,' Cate said.

Alongside the more relaxed state they will likely reach their arms towards an authority figure at the same time. 

Immediately after a baby finishes their feed they will be content enough to engage in play with their eyes wide and bright (stock image) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Immediately after a baby finishes their feed they will be content enough to engage in play with their eyes wide and bright (stock image)

SLEEP CUES

One of the most obvious indicators of tiredness is yawning, whether you're a child or an adult. 

But you'll quickly notice that youngsters especially will become disengaged in activities and lose eye contact while engaging in play, if they need a nap.

'Frowning, become quite stiff and arching their back are all signs they are ready for sleep,' Cate said. 

a baby sleeping in a bed: One of the most obvious indicators of tiredness is yawning, whether you're a child or an adult (stock image) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited One of the most obvious indicators of tiredness is yawning, whether you're a child or an adult (stock image) a baby with its mouth open: The baby will stop sucking as soon as they are full which is often the best indicator, as well as open up their hand (stock image) © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The baby will stop sucking as soon as they are full which is often the best indicator, as well as open up their hand (stock image)

FULL CUES

When you're feeding your little one it's a good idea to listen to them sucking on the breast or bottle, to know they are actually taking in nutrients.

The baby will stop sucking as soon as they are full which is often the best indicator, as well as open up their hand.  

'In general they will act more relaxed than they were before,' Cate said.   

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