Your baby’s body language can tell you a lot about them. They can give you signals about their feelings and needs. These include how tired they are, how hungry they’re, when are they ready to play, and whether they need a break. It’s common for a new parent to want to implement a strict routine. However, this can sometimes reverse as it doesn’t fit in with your baby. Following books and guides on when to have your toddler sleep and eat can cause a world of hurt, especially when they’re not following these guides as you want. Here we will discuss the main baby signals, which indicate when your baby wants what.

How Can I Recognize My Baby’s Signs?

Recognizing your baby’s signals and body language can often be challenging, but you will get to know them and read these signals easily with patience and a little time. Watch them and listen to their signals, and you’ll be surprised at what you notice. 

As you start to respond to these signals, you will develop trust with your baby and their ability to communicate with you. It will also secure your bond. Bonding is an important factor for emotional development and relationships. How you respond to your baby is how they will learn emotional regulation early on. Your baby will start to have control over their emotions soon. 

There are several signals you will need to be on the lookout for, but mentioned below are the four main ones new parents should be aware of:

  • I’m Hungry:

When your baby is hungry, they'll give signs like looking around towards the pantry and putting fingers into the mouth.

When your baby is hungry, they’ll give signs like looking around towards the pantry and putting fingers into the mouth.

A baby can give some recognizable signals that can suggest they are feeling hungry. Rooting with their mouths and making sucking noises or sucking on their fists can suggest they feel hungry. They might often make little noises leading up to a cry. If you ignore these signals, they begin to get agitated and start yelling. 

If your baby turns towards your breast, that is another tell-tale sign they are hungry. Parents or caregivers should notice these signals every 1-2 hours in newborns and every 3-4 hours in an older baby. 

  • I Need A Break:

A baby older than four months might not always want to go for a nap after having a little play. In this stage, they may just want a slower pace to recharge. 

If your baby is looking for a break from what they’re doing, they may turn their head away from you or squirm and kick. If you miss these signs initially, they may become a little agitated. They might begin giving you little frustrated sounds that suggest they want to be doing something else. 

  • I’m Tired:

A baby can only stay awake for a while, especially as a newborn who needs lots of sleep initially. This overstimulation can happen super quickly, and you may notice that they begin to lose interest in their surroundings and not hold eye contact. 

You may start to notice your baby self-soothing and curl up by this time, becoming still or sucking on their fingers or thumbs. As they become more tired, they will begin to glare and grasp their hands, and their eyes may start to glaze over. Once they are beyond this point, it will look like a lot of tension in your baby’s body and face. It may look like trapped wind and gas and is not a great moment to get into. 

  • I Want To Play:

When a baby wants to play, which doesn’t often happen during the newborn stage, kids are often calm and show signs that they want to interact with the world. They may begin to purse their lips, coo, make little noises, have bright eyes, a relaxed face, wide eyes, and eye contact. 

At this stage, they will begin to look towards sounds and react to you when you engage. You may even begin to get a laugh or a smile when they’re playing. It is a great time to interact and bond with your baby to encourage healthy development. 


Once you’ve figured out these signals and know your baby well, respond quickly to them. It is essential to prevent your baby from getting into the ‘fight or flight reaction, or elevated response. Avoid getting into the routine of comfort feeding as this can cause digestive issues and discomfort, and irritability for your baby. 

As you become attuned to your baby’s needs, you will notice their unique communication patterns with those around them. Eventually, you and your partner will learn to respond in such a way that compliments you and your baby.