Your first interactions with your baby

During his first year, your baby takes in the world around him at astonishing speed. Long before he can speak, your baby communicates with you in a thousand different ways!

During his first year, your baby takes in the world around him at astonishing speed.

Long before he can speak, your baby communicates with you in a thousand different ways!

Your communication with him is key to the harmonious development of his personality and defines your role in his life as a parent. Find out about these first interactions with us and learn how to understand your baby's behaviour so that you can better understand his needs!

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:

• Looking 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 mother – 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.

• Touching 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. Encouraging communication with your baby

• Your baby is completely dependent on you. The more you meet his demands over the first few months – particularly when it comes to breast- and bottle-feeding, and holding him in your arms – the more emotional security you will give him. This will help him become independent and tackle any difficulties he will encounter.

• You need to take the time to watch, listen to and understand your baby. His behaviour is an exact reflection of what he feels inside. His reactions will guide and help you respond.

• Also try and talk to him "genuinely". This means not lying to him and speaking to him normally without using "baby" language.

• If you lack conviction, he will not be taken in. A baby knows if you are there for him. He needs to be able to count on you. He understands from the tone of your voice whether your intentions are good or bad well before understanding the precise meaning of your words.

• Show a positive attitude – because in order to grow and flourish, your baby needs his father and mother to be impressed by his progress, no matter how minor it may seem. Give him encouragement to help build up his self-confidence. Applaud him at every stage of his development: be it for a smile, when he starts playing, walking, pointing at something with his finger and so on.

By paying attention to his achievements, you can help him forget and get over any difficulties or clumsiness he may have.

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