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Communicating With Your Baby

Communicating with your baby during her first year is tough, for the simple reason that she cannot speak! She cannot tell you why she is crying, she cannot explain to you what she is feeling and she cannot use words to describe her needs. So, she relies on non-verbal actions to communicate with you.

As well as using tears and screams as a means of communication, your baby also uses other aspects of body language such as facial expressions, and arm and leg movements. The more you can understand of her body language at this stage, the closer the emotional connection between you and your baby will be.

For 12 Months She Uses


This is a basic way of letting you know that she is unhappy. Initially, she cries only when she is hungry or in pain, but her cries gradually become more varied and expressive as the months pass.

Facial Expression

She can convey a whole range of emotions simply by changing the expression on her face. Just by looking at her appearance, you can tell when she is happy, sad, uncomfortable, afraid, hurting or angry.

Arm And Hand Movements

Within a few months, she starts to use her hand to reach out for things that she wants and also to push objects or people away. This is a clear expression of her desires, and you should have no difficulty understanding her.

Leg And Feet Movements

When lying in her cot, her vigorous leg movements can indicate she is happy and excited, or they could also mean she is upset and in pain. When more mobile, she moves away from something she dislikes.

Body Movements

You know that your baby is not settled if she wriggles about in her cot. Her sporadic movements will tell you she is uncomfortable.

Physical Contact

When your baby snuggles to you for a warm, cosy cuddle, this tells immediately that she is at ease and likes your company. She tells a the opposite if she struggles furiously in your arms. The more you respond to your baby's body language, the more she sees the purpose in communication - and that is good for her language development, too.

You will find that very soon, you can tell what she wants to say. And when you have interpreted her body language accurately, for instance, she stopped crying once you changed her nappy, it gives you increased confidence in your own ability to communicate with her. It also increases her trust in you as a caring, loving parent.

Talking To Your Baby

Although your baby's language is still at the babbling stage, you should still talk to her using spoken language as often as possible because this boosts her interest in communication. Chat to your baby as you change her, as you play with her, as you take her for a walk and as you shop. Encourage your baby to look at you while you talk to her - this improves her attention and listening skills. Smile at her when she smiles at you.

You will find that she pays more attention to your words when you couple this with a physical action, such as cuddling her or rocking her or even tickling her. And when she babbles at you, say something in response even though you do not know what she said. Your positive reinforcement of her attempts at spoken language increases her enthusiasm for communication.

The Emotional Challenges Of Breastfeeding

I'm Worried That My Baby Isn't Getting Enough Milk During A Feed

Every mother wants her baby to thrive, and the thought that he might not be getting enough nourishment through breastfeeding is a huge concern for many mums. Have confidence in yourself and your baby. Your family doctor will guide you on the rate of your baby's weight gain, and will alert you to any potential health difficulties.

In the meantime, take a positive outlook and work on the assumption that breastfeeding is satisfactory for baby. Try to relax during feeding, as that helps the milk flow. Your baby senses your tension and in reaction, becomes tense himself, which in turn inhibits the feeding process.

I'm Fed Because One Feed Takes So Long That It Runs Into The Next

This particular situation is stressful because it can make you feel as though you are a feeding machine with no other role in life than to provide breast milk for your infant! Your self-esteem can drop as a result. Fortunately, there are a number of useful strategies to consider. First, make sure that your baby stays awake during feeding and that he doesn't have sporadic naps. Sleeping during feeding is one of the most common reasons why feeds take longer than expected. Second, try setting a fixed time for each feed, say 30 minutes, and stop after that time even though you may think he wants to continue feeding beyond that.

I'm Stressed Because My Own Mother Insists That Formula Milk Is Better

Grandmothers know best - or at least they think they do. And they can forget that the baby is not theirs. Your mother might want you to switch to formula for a number of reasons. First, she probably fed you on formula milk and therefore assumes you should adopt this practice, too. And second, she worries that breastfeeding is too demanding for you. Don't suffer in silence. You'll feel better once you explain to her that you intend to continue with breastfeeding no matter what she says because of the health benefits for your baby, and that she is inadvertently malting you tense by her remarks.

I'm So Tired All The Time And Breastfeeding Is Just A Further Strain

Most parents find the first year very tiring, and breastfeeding adds an additional strain because you have to be there all the time when your baby feeds. To reduce the pressure on you, explain to your partner that you are over-tired and that in return for your being responsible for breastfeeding, he could look after the baby so that you can nap in between feeds. That's a fair distribution of labor. Also, try expressing milk so that your partner or caregiver can occasionally give your baby a feed. He might initially resist taking milk from a bottle while being held by someone else, but he will adapt eventually.

I Am Jealous Of My Friends Who Bottlefeed Their Babies - They Have A More Predictable Routine

While it is true that bottle-feeding is typically easier to structure into a routine than breastfeeding, there are plenty of bottlefeeding parents who experience stress too. Try to think positively. Remind yourself of all the health benefits that breastfeeding brings your baby, and enjoy the nurturing experiences that you have together. Remember, too, that within the foreseeable future (depending on your plans to continue breastfeeding), your infant will be off the breast, and weaned onto solid food and drinks from a bottle or cup. This emotionally demanding phase as a parent will soon pass before you know it.


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