Communication Development at 7 weeks old?

By | October 26, 2009

I find myself communicating with Nisarg very easily. He is just 7 weeks old. If I have to look back and see what helped me the most, the single biggest thing was observation. Endless observation. Listening. Endless listening.

I found myself constantly putting myself in his shoes and trying to understand the context of his expressions and sounds. He is less than two months old, but I can confidently tell when he is hungry, tired, in pain, excited, scared, etc. Its less easy for him to understand me, but its clear that he understands a couple of things. The first is the most important – he can count on me. The second is more “provable”. He mimics me. He gets it clearly when I make a face and want him to imitate it. He will often attempt after I say “you try it” or similar.

He astounded his massage woman by consistently sticking his tongue out to say “bye” as she left, since she swaddled him and he can’t wave (not that he can if not swaddled). First couple of days, she and the mother in law thought it was coincidence – “babies stick their tongues out all the time”. Sure. But what if they stick it out after you have stuck yours out when they had their mouths firmly closed? We did it and showed, and we still show our tongue on demand. Will post a video.

So far, he will make an “o” with his lips, stick his tongue out, open his mouth wide (convenient for medicines), and tries but can’t wiggle his brows (he frowns).

On a more useful, but less fun vein, he will cry loudly in a certain way when he wants to pee, hold eye contact and make restless movements with his head to burp, and many other actions that I could write down and anyone can confirm. My husband called me when I’d gone to the shop saying that he was crying and wouldn’t stop – kicking out, arching, pulling up his knees…. was he hungry? What to do? Its a sign of his belief in my understanding Nisarg that he asked when I couldn’t really see or hear him. Just the description was enough. Poor baby had gas stuck. Told Raka to put him down, raise his legs and if that didn’t work, pick him, keep changing positions (from one hand to another, on lap, etc) but always horizontal and with legs in the fetal position.

Raka says the baby was relieved almost immediately. Another instance was when I was cooking and heard Nisarg cry. I yelled for Raka to get him to the wash basin for a pee immediately, and that was that.

And I have plans. Plans to help him share more of his world with me. I’m hoping to establish basic yes/no signals. No is easy, crying or frowning, but the yes can be tricky. He needs to realize that he can approve of something and I will pay attention. Well… maybe in a week or two….

Communication makes life much easier for both mother and child. And its not rocket science. All it takes is patience, experimentation and observation. So here is what you can do the next time your baby is telling you something you can’t understand:

  • Make a guess. You’d be surprised at how much you have noticed without noticing yourself noticing (couldn’t resist)
  • Respond based on that guess.
  • Observe your baby. What was the impact of your response? Did the original behaviour change? Become more specific? End? What happened?
  • More than the first behaviour and the new one, its the change and when it happened that’s the key.
For example, baby may be staring at your face. You respond by turning so that more light falls on your face. Baby may wave his hand in your direction – so your guess that he was “exploring your face” was correct. I sometimes even praise Nisarg for telling me so clearly when something really “clicks” because of this team work. Or, baby may whimper – okay, wrong guess – what could it be? Could he want something? You could ask him that and it becomes a response. Maybe he wanted attention and talk and he will quiet. Maybe he is hungry and will start crying louder when he sees you doing things, but not what he wants….
Soon, you get really quick with this.
This is the failsafe method for communication development with your baby. Even a couple of hours have the power to transform your relationship, and you don’t have to do anything drastically different from what you do.

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