“How can I connect with my baby? My baby can’t talk or understand!” Parents often ask me.
Yes. Communication lies at the core of all connection.
Communication, however, does not necessarily need words. A touch, a look or an action can say things that words can never convey.
The 3 C principle of communication
Whatever the mode of communication – it must have the following elements.
- Compassion –
It must tell your baby “I understand, and I care”.
- Curiosity –
It must tell your baby “You are unique and interesting. I can’t have enough of you.”
- Collaboration –
It must tell your baby “You are capable and together we make a great team.”
How to connect with your baby
- Hold your baby skin to skin
The skin is the largest sense organ in the body. And when you hold your baby skin to skin your baby really feels you there and feels safe.
Do not worry about spoiling your baby by holding them close. Babies who are secure will never be spoilt.
- Allow your baby to suckle
The mouth and the tongue are your baby’s most sensitive sense organs. And suckling makes them feel a deep connect with you. Babies communicate with their eyes as they suckle because they feel connected.
Suckling also fills your body with the love hormone oxytocin. And when you look back at your baby and smile and talk – you will establish a very deep connection.
Never get impatient because of too much suckling. A baby who suckles a lot will cry much less.
- Be patient and loving during night feeds
Babies are hungriest at night. Don’t get angry when they cry. Fulfil your baby’s needs when they are feeling the most vulnerable and establish a deep connect.
- Respond immediately when your baby cries
Your baby cries when he or she is completely helpless and in severe discomfort.
The deepest connect is established when you rescue your baby from their distress or at least try your best to do so.
- Talk to your baby in a sing song voice
Babies can hear you when you speak in a high-pitched sing song voice. And they can understand what you are saying from the tone and modulations of your voice.
Respond to the sounds your baby makes. These are attempts to talk. Listening and responding is true communication.
- Follow your baby’s focus
When you find your baby looking at something intently – follow their focus. Start talking about the thing that your baby is looking at. Describe it. Talk about what it is, what it does and so on. Show them how it works if possible. And give it to your baby to touch and feel if you can.
- Do not say NO
As your baby grows – they will try to explore and experiment.
Make your house baby safe so that you do not have to keep stopping them by saying NO. Spray the places they inhabit and play in with a baby safe disinfectant.
Babies need to overcome challenges to build self-esteem. And when you encourage them in this – it builds a deep trust and connect between you and your baby.
As a parent, it is crucial that you understand how to connect with your baby, because connection with the parents is the basis for physical, mental, emotional and cognitive development.
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD
Dr. Debmita Dutta is a practicing doctor, a parenting consultant and the founder of the website WPA whatparentsask.com – She is based in Bangalore and conducts online and offline Parenting workshops at schools and corporate organizations. She also conducts online and offline prenatal classes for expecting parents and infant care classes for new parents.