How Babies Communicate through Actions and Sounds

How Babies Communicate | Baby Chick

How Babies Communicate through Actions and Sounds

Believe it or not, babies are communicating with us from the moment they are born and I’m not just referring to crying. Babies use sounds, facial expressions and movements to tell us how they feel. Even two-pound premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit are beginning to communicate.

Of course, babies this young are not communicating with intention, or using “intentional communication,” however they are using “reflexive communication.”

Reflexive communication is involuntary movements, sounds, or facial expressions in response to pleasure or discomfort.

Babies typically show signs of overstimulation or stress in their body movements and bodily functions to let us know when they need a break. Signs of stress in a newborn baby include extending arms and splaying fingers, holding legs out straight, arching back, and turning their head away. Some more discreet signs of stress can be excessive hiccupping, yawning or sneezing.

These are all ways that babies are telling us they need some time to re-group. Even if your baby is not crying, he may be trying to send you cues that he is in need of a break from all the action. If you see two or three of these signs at once, maybe swaddle your baby. Also, hold her close so she can feel safe and calm again like she felt in the womb.

By approximately six weeks, babies begin to smile in response to pleasure and connection with others. As younger babies seem to smile. It is usually just a grimace, but by six weeks, babies can recognize pleasure and respond to it intentionally. By three to four months, babies are typically laughing out loud.  Try to make your baby laugh every day. Just like adults, laughing releases endorphins in babies, boosting their mood.

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Usually by six months babies begin to babble, producing more complex sounds. This is the beginning of intentional communication. It is important that parents respond to baby’s communication to start the back and forth that is so important for early development. A recent study out of Harvard and MIT found that the back and forth interactions between babies and caregivers is the strongest predictor of future language and academic skills, so keep those interactions going all day long.

Be responsive to your baby’s communication.

What is she looking at, reaching for, and showing interest in. Allow her to touch what interests her, then talk about it. Ask her what it feels like, explain what it is and demonstrate how it is used. This will encourage her natural born sense of curiosity and wonder and lay the foundation for new exploration, building those important brain cells.

By as early as five months babies learn that their babbles elicit a response from their parents and care-givers. This is significant because they know that their sounds have a social effect. By six months, babies typically have the ability to follow mommy or daddy’s gaze and take interest in whatever mommy or daddy are looking at. This is an important skill in communication, cognition and behavior. Exercising this skill helps babies learn social referencing which is the ability for babies to look to parents for information on how to interpret situations. Some studies have found that gaze following at ten months predicts children’s vocabularies at 2 years old.

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Simply by following your baby’s lead and showing interest in what she is interested in, you are helping her learn about her world and building important brain connections.

About the Author /

Dr. Aimee Ketchum is a pediatric occupational therapist and has been working in pediatrics for 20 years. Ketchum works in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UPMC Pinnacle Hospital and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. Ketchum is also the owner/operator of Aimee’s Babies LLC, a child development company.

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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 18081610903134401 Praying that your toddler let's you get to sleep this weekend. 🙏💤⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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Instagram post 17844162355818683 I think I had a little too much turkey . . . and pie. 😬🍗🥧 #leggingsforlife⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
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📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
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