Newborn baby engagement cues


Understanding your baby's cues can help you become a more responsive parent.

Baby massage is an ideal way to help with this.

Baby massage is something we do with baby not to baby.

With this important rule in mind we must ensure baby is happy to be massaged.

At the start of baby massage we give a hand rubbing cue and ask if baby wants a massage, so baby associates this with its time for the massage. This allows baby the opportunity to give the cue of yes or no.

Babies communicate through their behaviour, body movement, crying and visual responses. Babies respond to their parents and cry to get what they want.

Babies cues are a way of communicating their likes and dislikes what they want and don’t want.

Baby massage should only be carried out when baby is happy for this to be done.


Engagement cues:

· Eyes becoming wide open and bright as the infant focuses on the care giver

· Alert or animated face with wide open , bright eyes, often accompanied by gently pursed lips as if the infant were saying “ooh”

· Grasping or holding onto the caregiver or objects in the environment

· Hand to mouth activity, often accompanied by rooting and sucking movements. The infant may also suck on his or her fingers.

· Smiling

· Turning eyes, head, or body toward someone who is talking

· Smooth motor movements


Disengagement cues:

· Crying or fussing

· Hiccuping

· Spitting up or gagging

· Jittery or jerky movements

· Frowning or grimacing

· Becoming red or pale

· Agitated or thrashing movements

· Yawning

· Falling asleep

· Averting the gaze


We do not massage babies who are crying or sleeping.

Baby massage is a great way to help parents learn their baby’s cues. This is because during baby massage sessions it is complete one on one interaction between parent and baby. It helps parents focus on their baby and concentrate only on their baby and become attuned to their cues. When parents can read their baby’s cues it allows them to respond quickly to baby's needs and become a responsive parent.


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