Communication encompasses so much more than just words, and before you hear actual words from your baby, you will begin to interpret her "language." Like adult language, this communication involves taking turns, dealing with personal emotions, and understanding other people's emotions.
Even in her first few days, your baby begins to develop the ability to respond to your tone of voice and to your facial expressions. By two months, she begins to use sounds, to link them to the way her parents respond to her. When a baby's cries of hunger bring her parents to feed her, she learns that with her voice she can begin to take some control over events.
At 2 months
In the first two months, the baby begins to babble and coo, often to express pleasure. When parents respond to the baby's babbling with baby talk of their own and look into their infant's eyes, they are beginning to teach her how to take turns in a conversational exchange. By about three months, parents make a subtle change in the way they talk to their babies. A mother might say, "How are you?" then pause as if waiting for the answer. That's the baby's cue to respond by babbling or laughing or just smiling.
At 3 months
Another important change happens about the three-month mark. As the baby's ability to focus her eyes improves, she starts to fix on interesting objects, especially brightly coloured toys. At this point, parents can pick up the object the baby has spied, bring it close to her and begin talking about it. A parent might pick up a doll, wiggle it, and say, "Look at the dolly." This helps the baby make a connection between an outside object and language – the real basis of communication.
Page 1 of 2 – Discover how you can engage your baby and encourage speech on page 2.