By Chick Moorman
When do babies begin to understand language? Maybe it's three months. Perhaps one month. Maybe they understand language on some level after one week. Understanding might even occur before birth. No one knows for sure.
One thing is certain, though: The communication pattern you establish with your baby before birth and immediately after sets the stage for the lifetime of communication that follows. So talk to your baby before birth and immediately after. Lovingly, soothingly share your feelings and desires with your baby.
Before birth, tell your baby:
"We are waiting for you. We want you and look forward to your arrival."
"We have a room all ready for you. We want you to feel as safe on the outside as you do on the inside."
"You have selected loving parents. We love you so much. You have already brought incredible joy into our lives."
"We are a little nervous about your birthing. We intend to make it as easy on you as we can."
"We wonder what you'll think of all this light, action, and attention. We wonder if you'll want to run right back to where you came from."
"This world will be a lot different from where you came from. We will do our best to help you adjust and find your way."
"We are reading books and articles on the Internet so we can be good parents to you. We have so much to learn. We will learn from you and with you."
"We are going to do our best to allow you to grow into the very best YOU that you can be. We have no preconceived notions of how you should be."
"You are welcome in our lives. You will change our lives in ways we are not even aware of. Although that's a bit scary to us, we love you immensely!"
After birth, tell your baby:
"We are so glad you are here. We love you very much."
"If we can make your first few days easy, we will do it. We will hold you and feed you and sing to you and hope that eases your transition."
"Sometimes we're not sure what you want and we feel helpless. But we'll keep right on loving you as we learn about you and your needs."
"There is a little child in each of us who needs to feel loved too. We will remember to love and nurture both you and our inner children."
"You are such a beautiful, sweet baby. We feel so honored to be your parents."
"We are so happy and also scared. Help us learn to be less scared and more joyful."
"What a blessing you are to our family! We are so glad you are finally here. You were certainly worth the wait."
No one knows for certain if your child understands the words you speak. No matter. Talk as if your baby does understand. Add appropriate gestures and facial expressions. Touch. Snuggle. Sing the words. Be loving as you speak to your baby. Keep your feelings congruent with your words. In time your baby's reactions will convince you that your words are getting through.
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