Your Baby Today

Newborn

Interacting With Your Baby

Interacting With Your Baby

Babies 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:

  • Treat your baby as an individual, with specific characteristics and tastes. Call her by name.

  • Talk to your baby from early infancy in complete sentences. Use baby talk sparingly (for difficult words like "s'ghetti" for spaghetti, or baby's own version of multi-syllabic names).

  • Smile often--your baby will respond.

  • Try to figure out what your baby wants when he cries or is ornery - his needs are usually very specific and often simple, such as a certain toy, a diaper change, etc.

  • Be consistent. Both parents may not always agree, but they should discuss issues and compromise, if necessary, presenting a united front.

  • Enjoy your baby, but also be sure to take some time for yourself away from her, leaving her with a competent caregiver.

  • Too much love has never spoiled a child.

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About The Author

Dorothy Knopper is a regular contributor to Your Baby Today.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.


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