Doulas help us understand normal newborn behavior and bring a wealth of knowledge into the home as they work with your new or growing family. It's like having a baby encyclopedia by your side as you grow as a mom. Babies don't come with manuals, but doulas do. In this article, please read about some of the normal things you will see in your newborn.
Normal Newborn Behavior
Since the moment he is born a baby has a natural ability to react and to try to make us understand what he wants. He always tries to explain to us what he needs and requires for his comfort. Each baby is different and their reactions unique, we can talk to several parents, and doctors and all of them can tell that the baby is an individual that has its own trends and personality. But, has all behavior we can then quantify and study the common trends in all that we can observe.
There are six main compartments where we can place the behaviors that we observe in newborn babies. They are Deep Sleep, Light Sleep, Drowsy, Alert and Active and Alert. This classification may vary inside the literature and may be reduced to only three but in this article we will assume the total of six. Let’s see in more detail each one of these behaviors. We can talk about deep sleep when the baby’s eyes are closed, in this state we will see no eye movement, the breathing is regular, and we can occasionally observe startle (Prechtl, 1974).
In the second behavior is the light sleep, this kind of sleep is characterized by the well-known Rapid eye Movement (REM) Sleep, in this stage the eyes of the baby will be closed, but briefly open. The baby will move in this stage and also may mumble (Bowers, 2014).
The third stage is the Drowsy state where the baby will have the eyes open, but the moments will the smooth and relaxed. In the alert stage, the baby will have his eyes wide-open, and he will be focusing his attention and hardly moving (Bowers, 2014).
The last stage will be active and alert, in this stage the baby will also have his eyes wide-open and moving around, in this stage he can also cry and startle. In the literature, as mentioned before, we can see only three stages, usually they assume deep sleep and light sleep as one behavior, and also Alert and active and alert as another, reducing the number of characteristics (Bowers, 2014).
All behaviors that the baby can present and all his activities will be done inside a certain state and a certain moment. He should be receptive for that behavior so that he can perform an action, eating, crying, holding your hand and so on and so forth. It is the parents “job” to interpreted and recognize the patterns on the baby’s daily behavior. Soon they will be able to understand his needs and desires, what he needs and wants at that moment (Prechtl, 1974).
This understanding benefits your baby in many ways, when you finally understand him you will be able to help him relax. This is because the time of your response will be quick and you won’t be trying to find what he needs by trial and error. This leads to the decease on his stress levels this also benefits the parents because you will feel better and more organized, being more attentive and calmer near him, helping him to control his emotions.
Bowers, N. (2014). Normal Newborn Behaviors and Activities - Online Medical Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center. Urmc.rochester.edu. Retrieved 15 October 2014, from http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=90&ContentID=P02629
Prechtl, H. (1974). The behavioral states of the newborn infant (a review). Brain Research, 76(2), 185--212.