Additional Resources

A library of helpful articles from leading infant and toddler experts.

How Does Your Baby Communicate?

November 12, 2015

How Does Your Baby Communicate?

Reposted from: Too Small To Fail

Does your baby communicate? The answer is yes—from the moment he or she is born! Even though your baby might not be talking yet, your baby is communicating through crying, babbling, cooing and body movements. During all these interactions, your baby is communicating his or her needs, thoughts, and feelings. And as you build trust and strong bonds with your baby – whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or grandparent – you’ll be able to learn and better understand what your baby is trying to communicate to you.

We know that it’s not always easy to guess what your baby is trying to tell you. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 7 helpful parent and caregiver tips to help you tune in and better understand and respond to your child’s cues, as well as foster your little one’s communication skills as you talk, read and sing to him or her!

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Introduction to Attachment

Introduction to Attachment

John Bowlby described attachment as a fundamental need that has a biological
basis. Attachment serves as a protective device for the immature young of many species,
including humans. Babies need the care of adults to survive, and they have many built-in
behaviors, such as making strong eye contact, cooing and vocalizing, and smiling, that
attract adults to them. The primary function of the infant’s attachment behavior is to keep
close to a preferred person, in order to maintain a sense of security. When an infant
becomes distressed both parent and infant take actions to restore the sense of security.
For example, an infant becomes upset and communicates this by looking anxious, crying,
or moving closer to her mother. The mother moves towards the baby, soothes her with
her voice and picks her up. The baby continues to fuss briefly, then molds to the mother’s
body, stops crying and soon begins to breathe more slowly and regularly, indicating a
decrease in arousal; her sense of security has been restored. In Bowlby’s terms, the
infant’s distress signal, which is functionally an attachment-seeking behavior, activates
the mother’s side of the attachment system and the mother takes steps calm the baby’s
distress.

Although the behavioral expression of attachment varies across cultures,
attachment is a universal phenomenon in humans. What factors seem to be universal? A
baby needs to have an attachment to a primary caregiver (or in many cultures, to a set of
primary caregivers). Consistency, sensitivity and contingent responsiveness on the part of
the caregivers are essential to the baby’s psychological development. Across cultures,
secure-base behavior–the child’s ability to use the caregiver for relief of distress and
support for exploration–has been identified as a marker of secure attachment.

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Doug Davies (2005, July-September), “Introduction to Attachment,” The Infant Crier, #109,
Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, 4-7.

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