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Having a baby is a wonderful experience, full of joy and anticipation. However, it can also be an overwhelming time and it flies by so quickly. Do you wonder how you can make the most of every moment during the first precious year of your baby’s life?
Do you want to create a strong bond and lay the foundation for a relationship that will last a lifetime? Are you worried your baby won’t like you or things will go wrong? I had all those thoughts when my first baby was born!
Now I have the benefit of hindsight and several years’ experience parenting two multilingual kids. Focusing on communication has had a huge impact on our parenting. It helped us to become confident parents. I strongly believe that it can have a very positive effect on every family, including yours.
What is Infant Communication?
Infant Communication is a parenting tool based on baby sign language. It’s unique in that you can start to apply this method from the day your baby is born.
First you can learn your newborn baby’s body language and understand when they are hungry, tired or need to pee before they start crying. You will be able to respond to them appropriately, creating a strong bond and developing trust right from the beginning. This can make those first days and weeks much less stressful.
Next you can start using some simple gestures when talking to your baby. At around 6 months old (but often much sooner) babies are able to connect meaning to these hand signals. Then before their first birthday they will develop enough motor skills to perform these signs and communicate meaningfully with you, telling you what they want and need months before they can say their first word.
I developed the Infant Communication method because I wanted to find a way to make our family’s communication easy, natural and effective. I really wanted to give my children the opportunity to communicate as early as possible because I was convinced that babies are much more capable and way less helpless than we realise.
Infant Communication is easy. You start by learning the 5 most useful signs to focus on first without stress or overwhelm. You learn how to build a routine so that you sign consistently with your baby. It’s simple yet very powerful.
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What are the benefits of Infant Communication?
There are several benefits of focusing on early infant communication. The main ones being:
- Helping you to create a strong bond with your baby
- Helping you avoid the frustration and crying that occurs when your baby is unable to express themselves through speech
- Boosting cognitive development which enables your baby to develop a larger vocabulary and lays the foundation for reading.
When should you start focusing on Infant Communication?
As soon as possible. If you are trying to conceive or you are pregnant why not get a head start and learn about the method now? This way you will avoid a large learning curve later when baby has already arrived and you are busy and tired.
If you already have a baby, that’s great, you can get going straight away. The older your baby the quicker the uptake so do not feel that you have left it too late. Using signs remains useful until your children are speaking in full sentences. You might find you continue to use the signs within your family even after that! Also anything you learn now about communicating with babies would be useful for supporting future siblings.
What signs should you learn first?
There are 5 signs that always seem to be the most popular and I suggest you start with them first.
Check out this infographic to see how to perform them.
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The 5 most useful signs:
- I love you. This sign is based on the letter L for love.
- Milk. All babies love milk!
- Eat. Get a head start on weaning.
- More. This is a multi-use sign that can help your baby tell you they want more food, more play or more of anything really.
- Sleep. Use this one to reinforce nap time and the bedtime routine.
When should you sign with your baby?
Make sure to use the signs when talking to your baby everyday. The more consistent you are the better your chances of success. It’s important to use the signs in context. So when you’re offering your baby milk, use the ‘milk’ sign while continuing to speak to your child. Most babies can attach meaning to visual symbols from around 6 months old. But for some it can happen much earlier (or later) and this is completely normal.
When will my baby sign back?
If your baby is interested in communication you can expect them to sign back at around 9 months old when they have the necessary motor skills to do so. Watch out for when they start waving and pointing, they’re ready! Of course the normal range for individual babies to do anything is very wide and comparison is not a good idea. Your baby might start signing back much earlier than this. Or much later. And that’s fine.
5 tips to help you make this a success
- Make sure you are consistent with using the signs in context
- Put up reminders to help you learn and use the signs, for example write ‘sign milk’ on the formula box to help you remember to use the sign when you’re offering your baby milk
- Connect with other families who are using signs to help you stay motivated – join our Instagram community @InfantCommunication
- Look out for how your baby is already communicating with you. For example, do they always make the same funny face when they pee or poo? How can you use that knowledge to help them?
- Imagine how great you will feel when your baby signs to you for the first time. Do not give up!
How can I get more support with Infant Communication?
Download my free get started guide (download here) and receive more support directly from me on this exciting journey to great communication for your family. I’ll keep in touch with you via email and you’ll be the first to hear about when enrollment next opens to the Infant Communication online video course. This complete step-by-step proven method to helping your baby communicate with you before they can speak is everything you need to make Infant Communication via baby sign language a success for your family!
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Roya Caviglia has spent many years teaching people how to improve their communication in English while moving from one European country to another. Now she runs a language school in South Holland looking after international professionals and their families, English Voice Academy. One day she had kids and started out on the crazy wonderful journey of parenting. It was a shock to find out how challenging and physically demanding being a parent can be. But she also made the wonderful discovery of how much babies have to tell us. Now she is passionate about helping families bond through clear communication before their babies can even speak. You can be the confident parent you want to be!
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