Your first interactions with your baby
Communicating with a newborn baby
The first communication between you and your baby takes place well before birth: even in the womb, his senses are sufficiently developed for him to feel your caresses, hear your voice and feel your presence.
When he is born, he uses all the resources he has to establish contact with you:
When your baby looks at you for the first time just after birth, his gaze goes right through you, arousing emotions in you that transform you into a mom – or father. You are coming face-to-face with your actual baby – and he is sure to be different from the baby that you imagined during pregnancy. Your baby's gaze is also a reflection of his antenatal experience. He is finally meeting the people who looked after him so well during his 9 months spent in the womb.
Later on, your baby's gaze will mirror his emotional state and the developmental stage he has reached – irrespective of his age. Over time, the increasingly intimate bond between you will mean that you can understand what he is feeling with just a glance.
At birth, your baby's need for physical contact is as great as his need to eat and sleep. He needs your arms to help him gain awareness of his own body, to soothe him, to warm him up, and to help him feel protected when he is anxious. Physical closeness, skin-to-skin or body-to-body contact and sleeping in the same room as you for the first few months will all help him to adapt to this new world and to gain independence more easily later on in life.
- Voice and sounds
Starting at birth, your voice will reassure and humanize your baby. Together with the vital contact with your arms, the words that you speak and the gentle songs that you sing will soothe him in times of distress.
Very early on, your baby will try and produce his own sounds in order to communicate with you: at 2 months, your baby will gurgle with pleasure, making “err, err”, “aheu” or “areu” sounds to reply to you or to call you. At 4 months, he will start vocalizing, at 6 months he starts modulating his sounds and then at around 8 months, he will start saying “da-da" and “ma-ma". Then finally, at around 1-year-old, he will start talking gibberish and saying his first words.