• Alexandra Smith

Verbal Cues

We weren't expecting Gwen to begin using verbal cues until she reached 37-38 weeks corrected. However, she has started using them. Today I had the realization that she was using verbal cues when she started using a shallow cry 15 minutes before her 12 p.m. care time.


Later in the day, about 2:10 p.m., while I was holding Gwen, she started fussing again. This time it was a loud, deep, prolonged cry. This cry made her oxygen drop. Gwen's day nurse helped me get her back to bed. When. We did that, I checked her diaper and noticed she had made a stool.


Gwen's shallow cry began again around her 3 p.m. care time, so I asked her day nurse if this was Gwen using verbal cues, and she confirmed that it was.


When Gwen starts to get hungry around her care times, she will still put her hands up by her mouth, but she will also let out a shallow cry. Her oxygen doesn't drop with these cries. They're not as deep. It's almost as if she has grown accustomed to her care times and knows that she will receive food, and this is just her way of saying that she's ready for it.


The deeper cries- in my observation- are cries of discomfort. Her oxygen levels drop during these cries because she is using more of her lung function. This is her way of getting across that she is in distress and we need to help her. When discussing my observations with my husband, he agrees with what I've found and pointed out that Gwen also does these cries when she is too hot, when she has air on her belly, when she's barreling down to make a stool, and when she has a full diaper.


Knowing these verbal cues has not only helped us learn more about Gwen's needs, but has also helped the nurses learn which events are caused by Gwen's basic baby needs and which events are not needs-based and should be documented for further observation.


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