interacting with your newborn

When I was pregnant with Hudson I got the best unsolicited advice I never knew I needed. It was from my mom’s client at the time and she had recently had her first baby. Her baby was about six months old, and she wanted to pass along some pearls of wisdom from another new mommy.

One of the things she said to me was, “Talk to your baby.” I thought this was funny because, obviously, I would talk to my baby. Don’t we all expect to talk to our babies?

But she was right and her words stuck with me. When Hudson was so tiny that he was just kind of lying on his play mat or sitting in his bouncer, I realized it was up to me to give him some meaningful interactive time.

So I talked to him. When I was cooking supper and he was in his bouncer just looking at me, I’d tell him all about what I was doing. Of course he didn’t understand anything that I was saying. He didn’t know what I meant when I said I was chopping onions or when I told him that the onions are white. He didn’t know what I was saying when I’d tell him why I was washing my hands, but I told him anyway. Just so I could talk to him.

And he’d just look up at me with wide eyes and give me the occasional grin. Eventually he started to “coo” back at me.

When we’d go to the grocery store he would be in his infant carrier and he’d just be looking at me. We’d walk down the canned foods aisle and I’d talk to him about pasta and green beans. When we got to the produce section I’d show him that the cucumbers were green and the carrots were orange. I’d tell him how many carrots I picked up.

I can’t say that this taught him how to count or helped him learn his colors, but it just gave us some interaction with each other. Because he was my buddy. He was my constant companion for outings. He was my cooking buddy and my walking buddy. So I wanted to talk to him about our day and what we were doing. I wanted to tell him all about where we were going and let him look at the dogs we passed on our walks.

At first I thought it sounded silly that this girl advised me to just “talk to your baby.” But it turned out to be a great piece of advice.

But my most favorite way to interact with my babies happens at bed time. When we’re sitting in the rocking chair in the nursery and reading bedtime stories, singing songs, and saying our prayers. Those little moments will be in their memories and especially mine as something we always did together starting when they were just newborns.

What are some meaningful ways that you interact with your babies?

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  1. says

    I talked to Em nonstop…which is why I feel like she probably is such a verbal kid and was pretty young. But maybe that’s not true? Who knows. But, I, like you–talked through all the aisles of the store, etc. It’s one of my little fears about baby 2 (Lucy), will I talk to her as much? Or will I be too busy with Emeline and let those little things go by the wayside? Silly, maybe–but I hope I can be just as good this time around, too.

  2. says

    I talked to my daughter non-stop as well. I’m a working mama, but am fortunate to have my mom watch Ella at our home. My mom talks. A Lot. This combination is why I think Ella has such a wonderful vocabulary. She talked at an early age and very well too. I know I sound like such a mom, but we even had strangers comment often about her vocabulary. I dont think you can ever talk too much to your child. At least when they are so young.

    And I dont know if I’m hormonal or what, but this post made me teary. I think it was the pictures that accomodated your text. I read your vacation post too and same thing. I’m not really sure what is wrong with me, but I enjoyed both posts 🙂

  3. Mari-Ann says

    Perfect timing for this post. Scheduled c-section for our first, is on 8/21. And I love that bedtime is your favorite time with your boys. I am so looking forward to nighttime reading and snuggles!

  4. says

    I love snuggles and book time in the evening. When all the activities and the noise subsides and it’s just the two of us, taking a quiet moment together.

  5. Ginny says

    It IS great advice! I had a hard time with it, at first. I felt a little strange just talking to my first born daughter (now 4.) I didn’t/don’t have any hesitation talking to my youngest from the second she was born, though, because I saw with my oldest how (it seemed) that one day she was cooing back at me from the bouncy seat, and the next day she was asking really thoughtful, well-formed questions. My favorite interactions these days are in the car. I feel like that’s one of the only times where we have each other’s (almost) full attention and love the questions she comes up with!

    I love this post and loved your vacation post. You are such a blessing to your readers!

  6. says

    I had PPD so interaction with my baby was definitely a struggle in the beginning but I do remember the moment when I was home on maternity leave and my daughter “woke up.” She was past her very newborn stage of sleep and eat and she was just………awake. Not hungry. Not fussy. Just awake and looking at me expectantly. I called my father and asked him “what do I DO with her?” And he just said “just start talking and the rest will come.” And sure enough, pretty soon I was that lady pushing her daughter through the grocery store seemingly talking to herself about potatoes, dinner and when Daddy would be home from work.

  7. Diane says

    I think every mom should do this! I was the same way – I would talk to him in the grocery store, or point out trees, flowers and squirrels when walking around the neighborhood. I really think it helps make a connection and I also think that real talk, not baby talk, helps with their development. I would tell him all sorts of real-life things while changing his diaper, not just gab on about poo-poo or “widdle” this and that.

    I love this post! And the top picture of you is beautiful! You’ve got that gorgeous mama glow.

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