Signing with your baby is a great way to communicate with her while she is still learning to use words to tell you what she needs.  Your baby is becoming more familiar with activities that are part of daily routines. She understands more of what you say and might be using some words. This is an exciting time for you and your baby, but can also mean some frustration as she understands more than she can express. 


You might see whining, crying, or even tantrum like behaviors. Sign language can give your baby the ability to let you know what she wants or needs and can make your daily routines less frustrating.  Use signs that are part of daily routines like: more, milk, drink, play, all done, bath, finished, diaper. Sign TO her during these routines so she is used to seeing the sign as you say the words and do the activity. Show her the sign and help her make the sign using gentle hand over hand guidance. Most importantly, show your baby that her communication (the sign) tells people what she needs and give her what she requested (e.g., food, more, drink). 


Learn signs here


How to sign with your baby

Brain Science for Your Baby

Signing may help your baby "talk" to you before she has words!   It is still unclear whether signing will increase IQ.  But there is some evidence that using signs (symbolic gestures) enhance parent-child interaction.  This may be because teaching sign to your baby or toddler takes time and attention!   Some parents worry that if they teach their children "baby sign" that that will make them late to talk.  There is no evidence that toddlers using sign language are later to learn to talk.  Actually, there is some research that shows that baby signers may help toddlers talk a little earlier!


Watch a baby using sign language

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Practice signing with your baby at mealtime. Mealtime provides lots of opportunities for communication making it a great time to practice sign. 


Start by keeping practice times very brief and when she is still hungry, but after she's had an opportunity to eat part of the meal. Sign TO your baby throughout the meal. Take advantage of the naturally occurring attempts to communicate and try to determine what she wants. Prompt her to sign to you by modeling the sign for her.


Pick one sign to practice at a time.


Prompt baby to sign what she needs and model the sign for her ("tell me more bread").


Use hand over hand guidance to help her make the sign.


Give her specific praise for signing and most importantly give her what she requested. Give individual pieces or bites to create more opportunities for practice.

A Baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Establish routines that help you stay organized and feel good about what you've accomplished. Be creative in how you set up routines and what routines you create. Build new or fun activities into existing routines and be flexible about changing them. Try one of these ideas and come up with your own!


Create play routines into your day and be creative about the types of activities you can do.

Build chores or housework into your existing routine or throughout your day. Breaking it up into small pieces makes it more manageable for you and allows you to build play into the things you need to do.


Create routines that build in time for YOU. For example, include exercise within an important routine or schedule to ensure it is a priority and gets done.


Make time for self-care routines. Taking care of you will make you feel better about yourself. Feeling better about you helps you interact with your baby!

What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Emotionally, one-year-olds are just learning to recognize and manage their feelings. They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated. They may also respond to conflict by hitting, biting, screaming, or crying. One-year-olds want their independence, and may say, "No!" to adult suggestions or insist that they, "Do it!" Then, moments later, they might cling to an adult's leg or ask for help.

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Barbara Unell

I distinctly remember the feeling of softly holding my newborn babies in my arms for the first time.  A warm glow flooded my heart that seemed to flow throughout my whole body. That's the feeling of "bonding"-the term researches have given to the close emotional tie that develops between parents and their baby at birth and in the first few months of a baby's life. 

But the truth is, you may feel this instant bond the second you hold your baby, and you may not. You may feel confused, scared, and disconnected at first, and that's completely normal. Like many relationships, it may take time to bond with your little one.


I learned that an important secret to bonding with my babies was to relax and be "in the moment" when doing everyday activities together. Read More


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