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How do babies learn to communicate?

Learning to communicate is one of the most amazing feats most humans will do in their life time. But how does it normally happen so effortlessly? See how the youngest babies are born primed to learn to communicate.

Good for looking at

  • Early communication
  • Eye contact
  • Communication at feeding time
  • Working out the baby’s interests

Transcript of video – How do babies learn to communicate?

Everyone wants to get to know the new baby, and when he wakes, Shami will have to start learning how to communicate so that he can make sense of the world. His journey of discovery is just beginning.

It’s important that new babies are encouraged to communicate right from the start. Louise is also Tim and Maxine’s first baby. New babies can see things close to them and they instinctively like to see the pattern of the human face. And so it’s natural to move close to new babies, make eye contact and talk to them, right from birth.

Bernard and Hilary’s new baby is Helen, their third child. New babies can already hear very well and already respond to a human voice. Hillary watches Helen and tries to work out what she’s interested in. Watching and listening carefully is so important in starting to understand the baby.

It’s natural for adults to encourage the baby to be expressive. Helen’s dad copies her expressions. Although she’s still only two days old, Helen hears her mother’s voice at the other side of the room and turns towards it.

It’s natural to talk to babies as if they understand. Of course they don’t yet. Watch here as Maxine tells her baby to move her hand. Of course the baby doesn’t really understand, but she’ll soon know that what she does affects her mother’s response to her.

It’s feeding time for Shami. He’s recently had his head shaved, as is usual for Muslim babies. Feeding, either by breast or bottle, is an ideal time for communicating. The mother’s face is just about the right distance away for the baby to be able to focus clearly on her eyes. Shami stares intently into his mother’s eyes. After feeding Maureen and Shami have a conversation. Taking it in turns to make noises.

Little Shami is still only two and a half weeks old but he’s becoming much more alert and learning to keep his head up more easily.