We all know a smile can mean “I’m happy” and a cry may mean “I’m upset” or “I need a nappy change”, but baby communication is so much more than a cry or smile. By helping your child to master speech and language skills as early as possible, you’ll also be helping them gain associated success with skills like reading, writing and interpersonal skills later on in life.
Your baby is learning essential communication skills before they’re even born. They communicate with you through kicking and moving around inside your womb. Massaging your bump will not only introduce stimuli to your baby, but it will also introduce them to the outside world and a loving touch – this, in turn, will encourage them to respond, by changing positions or kicking and stretching!
Crying is the main method of communication a newborn baby has. At first, the cries all sound the same but, given a little time, you’ll start to notice a difference in their cries; a short low-pitched cry may signify hunger, whilst a choppy cry could indicate they’re upset.
Before a baby can speak they communicate with you through cooing, gurgling and babbles. Show you are listening, by looking at your baby when they are making these noises – you’ll also be giving them much appreciated time and attention too.
Your baby loves the sound of your voice, so take the time to have a two-way conversation. Imitate these vocalisations – then wait for them to make another sound before repeating it back to them again. Vary your tone and pitch and try matching facial expressions too.
To make the meaning behind these noises easier to understand, learn to read your baby’s nonverbal communication methods too. Watch their facial expressions and body movements, as these will give you an indication of whether they are happy, frustrated or sad – for example, a baby tends to wriggle and wave their limbs around when hungry.
All through the first year of development, your baby will form their own version of “baby talk”. By focusing on communicating with your baby during this first year, you’ll be increasing their speech and language skills, building a bond with your child and ensuring they feel valuable and loved.
What are your experiences of baby communication? Do you spend time interacting with your bump? What was the best communication experience you’ve had with your baby? Why not share your experiences and opinions in the comments section below?