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Further information

Say hello to your new baby

Talking to your baby from day one will help the two of you get to know each other, and gives your child a great start in life.

  • Babies just a few minutes old, if content and alert will seek out faces and look at them intently.  Try slowly opening your mouth or sticking out your tongue – your baby may copy you.

  • As soon as your baby is born, they can recognise and turn to the sound of your voice.  From birth your baby is listening, so keep talking.

  • Babies are born with a wide range of emotions; from birth their faces will light up with pleasure.  Your baby's facial muscles will soon develop, enabling a full blown smile.

  • When your newborn is in the mood to chat, they might move their mouth a lot, as if they are talking.  Answer your baby by saying something like "What a good story you’re telling me".

  • As the weeks go by, your baby will look at you for longer and make little cooing sounds.  Have a conversation by copying their sounds.

  • Games are a great way to talk together.  You don't need any toys; just each other.  Count your baby's toes or play tickling games.

  • Sing to your baby, even if you don't think you sound great.  Your baby will love hearing your voice, and any song will do.

  • Like adults, babies don't always feel like being social, especially if hungry, tired or uncomfortable.  Respect your baby's need to take time out.

  • If you have a buggy that can face either way, have the baby facing you when it's very young – it's a great chance for chatting.

Reproduced by kind permission of Words for Life, a National Literacy Trust initiative.  This and other tips are available in a number of languages on their website.

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