Understanding and Encouraging Baby Communication

3:2:18 SS Post

Understanding and Encouraging Baby Communication

Babies learn and grow at an incredible rate, and each interaction your baby has teaches her how to communicate with those around her. By consistently caring for your baby and meeting her needs, she learns to trust – a foundation on which she can build as she grows. Meeting her needs is a way for you to communicate your love for your baby, and she begins to develop baby communication skills immediately after birth through touch, sight, and sound.


Newborns communicate a need by crying. They cry when they need something, like food, sleep, or cuddles. They cry when they are over-stimulated. They even cry for no reason at all. You’ll soon recognize your newborn baby has different cries for different needs. She might have a hungry cry or tired cry. If you feel overwhelmed by your baby’s crying, it’s okay to put her down in a safe place and take a short break. Sometimes you must try many different soothing methods to find something that calms your baby.

Other forms of communication

Even before she begins saying words, your baby communicates by wiggling her arms and legs, smiling, cuddling, and making sounds. In the early days after birth your baby can’t focus her eyes yet, so the senses of touch and sound are very important. Lots of gentle hugs and kisses teach her that she is loved and cared for. Often, just the sound of your voice can calm and reassure your baby. Newborn babies respond to the human voice, and especially their parents’ voices. Infants discern much about how you are feeling by noting the tone of your voice, so speaking gently and happily can help baby feel happy, too.

How you can communicate (and how it helps your baby!)

When your baby begins to “baby talk”, she’ll love it if you talk right back! This back-and-forth chatter is good practice for having conversations later. Say short words or phrases and pause so she can answer. Early language skills can help your child be successful in reading, writing, and more as she grows. Helping your child develop these skills is easier than you might think, and as an added benefit, it helps you bond. Every day, teach your baby how to communicate by:

  • Mimicking your infant’s baby talk – “goo-goo”, “ooh”, “da-da-da” are sounds she would love to hear you repeat
  • Singing her songs
  • Reading her a book
  • Reciting nursery rhymes
  • Giving your baby your full attention when she tries to talk with you
  • Smiling and exaggerating facial expressions
  • Making eye contact
  • Repeating the names of objects while pointing to them
  • Talking about your day or things you do together

Babies learn how to talk at different times and the normal for speaking is a pretty wide age range. You shouldn’t worry too much if your baby begins to talk less or later than other babies. However, by 12 months your baby should recognize her name and other basic phrases like “no” and “bye-bye”. Consult with her doctor or pediatrician if you are worried she is falling behind. All too soon she’ll be talking non-stop!

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How do you communicate with your baby? Share your ideas in the comments!




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