Interacting With Your Baby
By Dorothy KnopperBabies are born so helpless, depending on us for every need. When do they understand the nuances in our touch, tone of voice, and facial expressions? When should we talk to them?
Even before infants recognize our faces, they respond to being held, a gentle touch, and a mother's soft voice. They respond to music, words, being read to, and their names. It is important to talk to babies early on, when they are feeding, being diapered, driving in the car.
One mother used diaper time to name all the people (and animals) in the baby's life--Mommy, Daddy, Granny, Brother, Nanny, Pets, etc.--in a singsong voice. Eventually the "People Song" became baby's favorite, and in a few months he was singing it himself.
Another mother used morning feeding time to relate the day's schedule--morning walk, grandma coming to visit, doctor's appointment, trip to the grocery store, etc. The baby listened intently and eventually giggled at the mention of each event.
A father used bedtime to read a story while cuddling baby in a rocking chair. It wasn't long before the baby pointed to a book before going to bed, needing that special time before falling asleep.
Babies understand much more than we may think, and they react to pleasant routine, as in the above examples. Following are some suggestions to encourage early speech development, a feeling of well-being, and a pleasant and calm life for parents and baby: