Non-Verbal Communication Between a Mother & a Newborn Baby

Your newborn obviously cannot speak, but a lack of verbal skills does not prevent her from communicating with adults who care for her. Nonverbal communication flows two ways between a newborn and mother, with both baby and parent interacting without using words. By learning about the ways you and your baby can communicate, you can deepen your bond.

Newborn Engagement

Newborns possess effective methods of communicating their willingness and desire to interact with a caregiver, according to “Understanding the Behavior of Term Infants,” published by March of Dimes. The newborn might widen her eyes, raise her eyebrows and focus her attention on your face. If you coo, establish eye contact or speak to her, she may increase her focus on you.

Newborn Disengagement

With his immature system, it’s easy for a newborn to become overwhelmed with too much stimulation. When this happens, the newborn will communicate his desire to disengage from you. Disengagement cues include crying, falling asleep, rapid breathing, jerky movements and lack of eye contact. When your newborn gives you disengagement cues, he is usually ready for sleep.

Maternal Touch

Touching and massaging your newborn is an effective means of communication, according to massage therapist Elaine Fogel Schneider, writing for A Foundation for Healthy Family Living website. By using long and slow strokes on the newborn’s skin with only gentle pressure, you can increase the bond between you and your baby, stimulate circulation and help your baby relax. With a stronger bond between you and your baby, you can respond more readily to her nonverbal cues. Your baby will also benefit from a stronger bond between the two of you because she will feel more accepting and trusting.

Other Maternal Nurturing

Attuning yourself to your newborn’s cues can enable you to seize communication opportunities when they arise and interact with your little one. Initially, your newborn recognizes you by your scent and the sound of your voice, according to Dr. Cathy Hamer, with National Literacy Trust. When the newborn recognizes you and responds positively, you might calmly establish eye contact with the baby and smile. Even feeding in response to a newborn’s hunger cries communicates stability and trust. A consistent and positive response teaches the baby that you will be there to take care of his needs.

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