Talking to your infant seems like a natural response. A soothing voice talking a baby through a diaper change can help a baby who might otherwise be uncomfortable. As you get to know your baby there are so many things to notice, to say. I remember being in awe of this creature I created, and marveling at her in the first few months. “Hello tiny fingers! Tiny toes! Little cute nose!” After falling in love with her I spent time professing that love—it was great-- no rules at all—I could tell her as much as I wanted without the fear that she would be scared off and break-up with me! There’s a lot of talk with a baby-- narrating walks, thinking aloud about life and parenthood.
I believe these moments are our first forays into parenting. You are establishing your relationship with your baby. The challenge is to start with respect and love. The tone of your voice is most important, (I know, we’ve all chuckled once or twice at someone saying something dreadful in a sweet voice). In your own life I would challenge you to be mindful of your words.
The goal is to understand your child, and talk to him as if you understand him—while someone might say, “You never want mommy to sleep again, do you?” it is probably in your best interest to think and say, “You are an infant and you are learning to sleep—I hope your very tired mommy can help you learn quickly!” It’s a subtle shift but you are setting the pattern for your relationship.
Talking aloud also helps your brain shift out of that inner monologue to direct experience—being present in the moment is amazing when you are with a baby. There’s a balance between moment-to-moment and big picture in parenting—these are your first chances to practice that balance.
To read more about the language we use with our children throughout their lives please visit www.askyourfriendkira.com