by Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
Updated April 2016
From the very moment of birth, your baby began to communicate with you. As soon as you hold your baby, you begin to communicate with each other by exchanging loving glances, sounds, and touches. You introduce your little one to your own ways communicating through touch, making verbal sounds and facial gestures. Over time, your baby will learn your language and ways of communicating, just as you will learn your baby's unique language.
One sound will you will begin to hear is your baby’s cry. In the beginning, your newborn's cries may seem like a foreign language to you. But before you know it, you will learn your baby's unique language and be able to provide your little one with the care they need.
How Does My Baby Communicate?
As any new parent soon learns, your baby is born with the ability to cry, which is one distinct way they’ll communicate with you. Your baby's cries generally tell you that something is wrong in their world.
They may have a wet diaper, hungry tummy, cold toes, need a hug or cuddle, become tired or bored. Really, your baby may cry for just about any reason. It will take some time, but soon you'll be able to recognize which need your baby is expressing and respond accordingly.
When your baby is beginning to explore their new world, they may also cry because they become overwhelmed by all of the many new sights and sounds they encounter. Sometimes your baby may cry for no apparent reason at all. Crying can also be a way that your baby shuts out stimuli when they become overloaded.
Soon you’ll discover that crying is your baby's main method of communication, but your little one is also capable of other, more subtle forms of communicating as well. Learning to recognize these cues, and other means of communication, is both exciting and rewarding. And knowing how your baby communicates can strengthen your bond with your baby.
How Can I Communicate with my Baby?
Within a few days after birth, your newborn will become accustomed to seeing you and will begin to focus on your face. Babies watch our faces and often mimic the expressions we make. As you are stimulating baby’s sense of sight, it is also important to stimulate your baby's senses of touch and hearing. Your newborn will be curious about the many noises they hear, but none more than the voice. So it is important to talk to your baby whenever you have the chance. Even though your baby doesn't understand the words you are saying, your baby surely understands the tone and intent behind those words. Your calm and reassuring voice is what your baby needs to hear to feel safe and secure.
Stimulating baby’s sense of touch begins the moment they’re born and continues throughout their lifetime. With almost every touch your newborn is learning about life, so it is important to provide your little one with many hugs, kisses and cuddles. Through the use of nurturing touch, you are communicating your love and attention for your baby.
Communicating with a baby is really a matter of taking the time to learn what your newborn is saying and meeting their needs. Always respond to your newborn's cries. You can not spoil your baby by responding to their needs immediately. Your quick response will communicate to your baby that they are important, you are listening to what they are saying and of course, above all, they are worthy of your love and attention.
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This professional training is for those interested in working with families by becoming a Certified Infant Massage Teacher (CIMT®). A CIMT® is not only an instructor, but also an educator who teaches the art of infant massage to parents or caregivers in the presence of their babies.
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