Daily Dish: Communicating with Your Baby


Any excuse to talk; that’s my motto in life! And I can tell you, I practise what I preach.
I love talking to Theo but it’s definitely something that gets easier the more you do. At first you’re thinking, okay, how do I start this off?

‘Hi Baby… how are you? Er…. You’re a cheeky boy.. what you doing there, baby…’.

Cooing is what makes me tick. Any opportunity to get Theo gurgling away and I’ll take it. I feel like we are connecting in some way and that he possibly understands me, his nutty mumma. If other mums say to you it doesn’t feel awkward to begin with, they’re lying! What you have to remember is, it’s just you and your baby and that’s all that matters.

Communicating was on the agenda today at baby group, and it was clear that there is no right or wrong way; communicating isn’t just about talking. It’s about gestures and facial expressions.
My friend’s baby girl smiles every time she is bopped up and down. And when you talk to her, she natters back!

My other friend’s baby boy smiles every time you sit him up.. he doesn’t want to lie down. He wants to look around and be a part of all conversations.
This all becomes clear because of our understanding of them…! And when you get it right, it doesn’t half feel good.

I’ll always remember the first time Theo started ‘talking’ to me. I do a lot of reading, and what had struck me was how important it is to talk through what you’re doing, when you’re doing it. So all day every day, I would tell him about how many scoops I was putting in his bottle, or what I was making for my lunch, why I was putting him on the bed or what I was dressing him in. And I think the constant sound of me dronnnnnning on encouraged him to fill the silence in his own way.

So I’m changing his nappy, and he smiles. He always smiles when he’s on his changing mat. Don’t ask me why, but I think it’s his way of laughing at the irony of the situation. Having someone else clean your bum is always something worth smirking at.
And the smile was followed with this amazing little sound. Mums out there, and dads, will know what I mean; it isn’t something you can replicate (and be cute), or something that you can describe. But it’s magical. And you feel like you’ve given birth to Einstein.
I scream for my husband to come and see… and with sheer enthusiasm, I nod, and smile, and nod, and smile… and this goes on for a while, until he’s bored. And it’s a moment that will be etched in my mind forever.

I feel that me having these one way ‘conversations’ with him, he was able to mimic sounds.. and it made me forget all that awkwardness, that was so apparent, to start with.

So here are some ideas to get you started:

  Encourage your baby to make sounds such as "ma," "da," and "ba."

  Make eye contact, and respond using different tones of voice. For example, raise the pitch to ask a question.

  Copy your baby's laughter and facial expressions.

  Teach your baby to copy, including clapping your hands, throwing kisses, and playing finger games such as pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and the itsy-bitsy-spider.

  Talk as you bathe, feed, and dress your baby. Talk about what you are doing, where you are going, what you will do when you arrive, and who and what you will see.

  Identify colours and count items.

  Use gestures such as waving goodbye to help convey meaning.

  Introduce animal sounds to associate a sound with a specific meaning: "The doggie says woof-woof."

  Read to your child. Sometimes "reading" is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words.

  And lastly, acknowledge your baby’s coo’s and gurgle’s so they feel like they are talking with you and that you are listening.
This isn’t written in stone, and it’s for you to find what works with you and your bubba. Enjoy it because time is flying by, and before we all know it, they’ll be making requests and telling us what to do.

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