States of Consciousness

Getting to know an infant through their different states of consciousness, allows us to have a better understanding of their behaviors, their strengths and their vulnerabilities. This will help guide parents and caregivers on how they might approach their baby, whether he/she is in alert and active state or when they need quiet and calm moments.

6 States of Consciousness:

Deep sleep Lies quietly without moving
Light sleep Moves while sleeping; startles to noise

Eyes start to close or eyes starting to open; may doze off to sleep or may be awakening from sleep

Quiet alert

Eyes opened wide, face is bright, body is quiet

Active alert

Face and body move actively


Cries, the body movement is very disorganized



  1. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, American Academy of Pediatrics
  2. States of Consciousness in Newborns,
  3. Touchpoints: Birth to Three, T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

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