We always want to understand our little ones better, and one of the most significant ways they communicate with us is through their facial expressions. But what do your baby’s facial expressions mean? Learn what common expressions mean to help you meet your baby’s needs and provide comfort when they need it most.
Smiling: Happy or Amused
When your little one smiles, it’s usually a good sign that they’re happy or amused. Babies often smile at the sound of your voice, a funny face you make, or when they are feeling comfortable and content. Smiling is a natural way that infants interact with the world around them. To encourage more smiles, make funny faces, play with toys together, or sing songs.
Crying: Sad or Uncomfortable
Crying is the number one way that babies communicate that something is wrong. They may feel hungry, need a diaper change, have gas, or be experiencing discomfort from teething or an illness. Crying is also a sign that they may need more comfort and attention. Before crying, their facial expression may contain downward slanted eyebrows, wide eyes, and a quivering chin. To help, try holding and rocking them gently. You can also give them a comfort item, such as a pacifier or security blanket.
Wide Eyes and Tense: Fearful
Babies can feel scared or frightened, especially during new experiences, such as meeting someone new or hearing a loud noise. When your baby exhibits a fearful facial expression, they may show signs like wide eyes and a tense expression. Soothe their distress through touch, gentle noises, or comfort items.
Yawning: Tired, Bored, or Overstimulated
Yawning is often mistaken as a sign that your baby is tired. While that is often true, yawning is also a sign of boredom or overstimulation. When your baby yawns, try to slow down what you’re doing or introduce less-stimulating activities. Encourage a peaceful environment with dim lights and quiet surroundings.
Frowning: Discomfort or Frustration
Frowning can indicate many different things, such as hunger, discomfort, or frustration. If your baby is frowning, they may need a change of pace, such as a change of position, a diaper change, or a break from an activity. If you’re unsure which change they need, consider their schedule. For example, if they already had a diaper change, then that probably isn’t the cause of their frown. Change the position they’re in and see if they perk up. If they don’t, change the activity you’re doing.
Knowing what your baby’s facial expressions mean is difficult, especially since one facial expression can indicate different emotions or situations. However, the more you get to know the baby in your care, the better you’ll read their facial expressions.
If you need a comfort item, such as an infant security blanket, for crying, frowning, or wide-eyed babies, we can help. Lovey security blankets and stuffed animals can turn those frowns upside down!