Baby Behavior Development Family Life — 22 October 2012
How to Communicate with a Newborn Baby

Interacting with newborn babies through words and songs builds the bond between parent and child now and into the future.

From the moment our children are born they’re capable of communicating with us through sounds and gestures. As parents we soon learn that different cries mean different things. And how we respond to their cries, and interact with them teaches newborns a lot about communicating with the world around them.

The little snippets of conversation and face to face contact we have with our newborns are the first steps towards their first words. Which is why, according to speech and language pathologist Joy Carol, we need to be interacting with our newborns from birth. “Talk to them throughout the day”, explains Carol. “Not that you sound like radio noise in the background, but with words are that are animated, and with lots of facial expression. Tune into what the child is interested in, so that they’re part of your day and they can see what’s going on. It’s important to have a lot of face to face contact using simple words with your children, even from when they’re a baby.”

And if you have a tendency to talk to your baby in a sing-songy voice, don’t worry. This type of speech is instinctual and important to the development of a child’s speech. “When we speak with young children, we do use a form of sing song in our voice” explains Carol. “This type of speech is called “mother-eaze”. The melody has a lot of meaning to it because it is something children and infants attach meaning to.”

Keep in mind, not only do those one-on-one conversations you have while feeding and changing your baby help children develop language, it’s also helping you bond even closer to your newborn, creating that vital emotional attachment.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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