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Healthybaby because baby is soaking it all in
Baby is eager to explore and motor control gives them agency over their world. New skills are allowing them to communicate with purpose and intention.
As eating has advanced over the last months, facial expressions have become more refined. Improved motor control of the lips and tongue enables them to make the first hard consonants (think: “babadadagaga”).
Enter: Crawling—plus a whole new world of possibility. But separating from you is hard work, and the push and pull of independence can be overwhelming at times.
Notice what’s piquing baby’s interest then label it. Repeat. “Are you looking at that lamp? Yes, that lamp is bright.”
Expand on what they are trying to say. If baby says “wa,” expand the word and say, “Yes, that is your water.”
Answer their attempts to communicate and take turns in conversation as if you understand exactly what the topic is. Make lots of pauses for them to jump in and keep things fun and engaging.
Treating babbling as communication means acknowledging it, responding to it, and encouraging baby to feel agency in the world around them. In their attempts to make sound, baby is actively telling you something; encouraging them helps them to feel heard.
Take every opportunity to introduce new phrases, verbs, and nouns to help promote receptive language. “We are walking,” “we are eating,” “we are looking at boats.” Every word baby understands is a bridge to learning another. And another. And another. Label people, too, and if you haven’t already, introduce photos of loved ones and create routine games around identifying them.
As they begin to learn words and prepare to say more and more of them, many parents also like the idea of introducing signs and gestures. To be clear, the science is inconclusive on whether signing improves language development long-term. With that said, there are definite benefits to reducing baby’s frustration during this period and improving your communication. If you’re curious, over the next weeks and months you can try simple signs for routine requests like “more” or “done” and watch them begin to connect visual cues with behavior.
Receptive language — the ability to understand words — is the key to more advanced language development. It far outpaces what babies can say themselves, and it helps to solidify social connections. Learning to hear and process the meaning of words is central to language development and communication.
Your bath time routine with Our Shampoo & Body Wash System is a time when your baby may be particularly calm and receptive to new language, and your (relatively) free hands allow you to show them new objects and describe them with language.
Many parents hear the term secure attachment and wonder what that looks like. A securely attached baby is confident in the safety and security of their caregiver, and feels free to explore the world and take in new information because they know they have a safe and reliable relationship to return to. Having a secure attachment to a primary caregiver is linked to many benefits for baby, including better emotion regulation and social competence, higher self-worth and academic success, and improved executive function skills (working memory and cognitive flexibility). However, it’s important to note that secure attachments are not glue, there is disruption and repair in all healthy relationships — moments of strain and recovery — but the underlying sense of belonging, safety, consistency, and love remains.
As baby grows, notice how your presence allows for them to wander. They may keep one eye on you, then forget to be worried and explore freely. They engage in the world around them and return for a hug or seek help when they need it. They may hand you something without looking because they know you are always behind them to help. These tiny moments confirm your healthy attachment and vital bond. As always, if you’re concerned about your relationship, or anything you’re seeing in your interactions, contact baby’s provider for more information or a referral. Most likely the referral will be to your local Early Intervention Program, also called birth to three. It is a national program and exists for this reason. At Healthybaby, we believe it is America's best-kept secret. Call them, it's totally free and they will do evaluations and provide therapy if needed right in your home.
Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
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