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Baby Sign Language: Does It Work?

Month 7, Week 2

Your baby probably won't start talking until around his birthday. But baby sign language helps many babies communicate with their caregivers at a much younger age, and it doesn't delay speech.

Here's how to begin:

  • Most babies won't be able to sign until they're 8 months old, but you can start teaching them signs as early as 6 months.
  • Teach signs for practical words like more, mommy, nap, diaper, and done.
  • Practice regularly to help your baby remember the signs.
  • Keep talking to your baby so his speech isn't delayed.
  • Ask your partner and other caregivers to use the signs that you've taught your baby so they'll understand what he wants.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your baby is still probably going through separation anxiety. By now, you may have your own strategies to deal with it.

Remember:

  • When you're about to leave, say good-bye briefly and lovingly. It won't stop him from crying, but it's easier for both of you than a long, drawn out good-bye.
  • Come back when you say you'll be there -- before dinner, for example -- so your baby can be confident that you'll always return.
  • If you feel upset that your baby cried while you left, arrange to call your babysitter 15 minutes later for an update. In most cases, your baby should be playing happily.
  • Resist the temptation to go back and check in-person. If baby sees you, it will make separation worse next time.

Month 7, Week 2 Tips

  • If baby sign language frustrates you or your baby, stop. It should improve communication, not cause additional stress.
  • Ask your dentist, pediatrician, or local utility whether your town has fluoridated water and if your baby gets enough fluoride for healthy teeth.
  • Your baby sees how you interact with people, so be friendly and agreeable instead of stubborn and difficult. It's never too soon to model good behavior.
  • Your baby should be teaching himself to transfer an object from one hand to another. Help him practice by keeping palm-sized soft balls nearby.
  • When your baby is tempted by objects out of his reach, encourage him to go for it; this helps prepare him for crawling.
  • There's no need for babies to wear more than socks on their feet. Shoes can keep your baby from moving around and could even interfere with proper foot growth.
  • Make sure the house is safe since your baby will be crawling soon. Putting gates at the stairs and covering up outlets are just a few of things to do for safety!

WebMD Medical Reference

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