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ABC’s of Newborns- L is for Language
Even though your newborn can’t say actual words yet, it’s still important to communicate with them using “baby talk”, as this can help with interpersonal development, reading and writing later in life.
A good way to practice this back and forth conversation is to imitate your baby’s gurgling, cooing, smiling, and facial expressions. Basically, your conversations with your baby will sound a lot like:
….and so on.
Believe it or not, babies have a general understanding of what you’re saying even though their little minds can’t understand actual words yet, as they are very good at absorbing and understanding emotions and tone of voice. Because of this, try to smile and laugh a lot when “talking” with your baby, and avoid upset tones that may upset the baby.
Babies’ vocal skills also benefit from listening to music and listening to other people talk, so it’s also beneficial to have a skin-to-skin movie night with your little one or a dance party in your kitchen!
How do I know exactly what my baby is trying to tell me with body gestures and babbles?
Good question! If your baby is hungry, he or she may exhibit specific body language and vocal cues such as a short, low-pitched cry that rises and falls, acting restless, sucking on his or her fist, or smacking his or her lips (you know, kind of like we do when we eat something super delicious!)
If your baby’s tummy is full after a feeding session, he or she will likely turn away from the bottle or breast, close his or her mouth, and show increased interest in his or her surroundings.
If your baby is sleepy, they may pull at their ears, yawn (ugh, we all know tiny baby yawns are the cutest thing ever!!), close their fists, flutter their eyelids, arch their backs, and flail their arms and legs around. They may also have a worried expression on their face, but this doesn’t mean anything is wrong! Your baby is just ready for a nap.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell your baby is uncomfortable or in pain sometimes, as they can’t verbally tell you what hurts just yet. However, if a baby is ill or uncomfortable, they will likely cry inconsolably, appear listless or limp, or not seem interested in playing or feeding. Other telltale signs that something may be wrong include vomiting, constipation, fever, or rash.
Keep on talking to, smiling, laughing, playing peek-a-boo and listening to music with your baby! Baby talk conversations with your newborn can increase social development and linguistic skills and may even decrease time before your baby’s first real smile!! (an actual smile, not the reflex smile they often have when passing gas or sleeping.)
We are doulas living in Miami with a love for cafecito, pregnancy and newborns. We are the experts and the moms who have been there sharing our best tips and tricks with a side of inspiration. Our goal? Help you kick ass at this parenting gig.
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