When we are born- we are purely ourselves. It may surprise you, but newborn babies understand a great deal more than you’d expect. I adore Magda Gerber’s philosophy on newborns and babies. I read her book, “Your Self-Confident Baby“ when I was pregnant with my daughter. It changed the way I thought about babies and laid the foundation for how I would treat my own baby, while giving me peace in the many many times I questioned myself as a tired and frazzled new mom.
She says, “We not only respect babies, we demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.” Talk to you baby about what you’re doing when you change their nappy. This not only helps them connect to our language quicker, the rhythm of your voice when you describe their caregiving activities also makes them feel more comfortable.
Next time you change your baby’s nappy, or put on their clothes try saying something like, “I’m now pulling your arm into the sleeve. Here we go, now it’s time to stretch your head through. There you are! I see your little eyes now. Time to snap the snaps. Here we go. One, two, three! Alright, I’m going to pick you up now. Come with me.” You might even try making up melodies to accompany your descriptions. Baby will not judge you if you can’t hold a pitch. There is great connection in song (now that’s a thought for another post entirely!).
Everything is new to babies! Think how you’d like to be treated on your first day at a new job or when learning how to drive a boat. You don’t want people to assume you know things or talk down to you. You’d be more likely to feel comfortable to flourish if you had some guidance. Talking babies through their daily activities and caregiving is one of the easiest ways to make them feel more comfortable in their big new world