Getting to know your new baby is intriguing and amazing. Even a newborn communicates in her own language. You may hear her cry. You may see her shut down or turn away when overstimulated. Or you may watch her attempt to comfort herself by putting fist or fingers in her mouth, continuing to cry or eventually falling asleep.
Sometimes it takes many tries to unravel the signals of your infant. Some parents find that within about ten days they can distinguish the hunger signal, the discomfort cry and the sleepy cue, but sometimes other complaints are less easily understood. It can be helpful to hold the baby close, to murmur soothing words and to stay calm yourself.
Infants cannot easily soothe themselves when under stress. They actually release stress hormones through tears and obvious distress, but they don't always have the capacity to calm or completely relax themselves back to a normal, non-stressed state. When your baby is in distress, it is important to soothe and hold her, not only so that she will quiet down but, more important, so that she will learn that you are there, that she is safe and that she can relax.
For more on understanding and bonding with a new baby or soothing a baby who is upset, go to: