Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Talking to your newborn may feel odd at first, but once you see the first hint of a smile or coo of your sweet baby’s voice, it will all make sense. Your baby has been listening to you since she was in the womb and your voice is music to her ears. I’ll never forget the way my son immediately calmed after delivery as soon as I hugged him close and started talking softly to him. Our voices are the most soothing tools we have to settle our babies.
Talking to our babies encourages bonding, attachment, and even language development. The more words a baby hears, the quicker the connections in her brain are forming. The brain develops the most rapidly in the first few precious years of life. Although you won’t hear your baby say any words in these first few months, you will be laying the foundation for a greater bond and better communication as you inch towards the one year mark. Here are FIVE basic tips for talking to your newborn:
- Talk about anything. Your newborn isn’t really comprehending what you’re saying, so you can talk about anything. Make your grocery list out loud or complain about the weather — it doesn’t matter!
- Read ANY book aloud. Go ahead and read your recipe, email, or latest library find aloud. Don’t forget about the sweet board books you got while pregnant too! Again, it’s your voice that counts here.
- Be an observer and a narrator. Talk about what you see and what you’re doing. I’m not suggesting you do this all day long because that is too much for both you and your baby. But, the occasional comment like, “Oh wow, look at that bird hopping around. I wonder if it’s a robin?” or “Right now, I’m getting some milk out to pour in my cereal. I am so hungry this morning!” won’t hurt either.
- Repeat yourself. Don’t worry about keeping the conversation fresh with your little one. You can babble about your sweet baby’s fingers and toes (“baby talk” is a real thing and highly encouraged, by the way) all day long. In fact, babies and young children find safety and delight in repetition.
5. Get a head start! Some of us are especially eager to start educating our children. Feel free to sing nursery rhymes, note the different colors in the room, and count fingers and toes. Your baby will internalize more than you know. And if you’re having fun, so is she!