Language Development — Infants 1-4 months

It is proven that babies thrive when they receive warm, nurturing care throughout their first year of life. Brain research suggests that warm, responsive care is comforting for infants and is critical for healthy development. Responsive caregiving not only meets babies’ basic daily needs for food and warmth, but also takes into account their rhythms, preferences, and moods. A nurturing caregiver will have an “immunizing” effect on infants by creating a safe, protective environment that shields them against the adverse effects of later stress or trauma. So yes, you will make a difference in the sweet little life that is in your care and you too will reap the rewards and sense the bond that develops between you.

Here is what to look for in ‘Language’ development from birth to 4 months:

Birth to 1 month:

Crying– various types of crying are distinguished by means of sound. Cries reflect need: hunger, pain, anger, attention, diapering. Cries vary in pitch, length, and volume. Listen carefully – you will hear your little one asking for different things.
Playing with tongue – Your little one discovers their tongue. This results in a baby’s first non-crying sound. Sucking sounds begin.
Listening to voices – yes, they may not understand your words but they are listening to your tone, annotation, and volume.

1-2 months

Small throaty noises – you will notice some phonetic syllables amongst gurgles.
Cooing develops into vowel sounds.
Your baby begins to respond to being talked to – your little one may not be able to talk back, but they will respond to your voice.
Begins to distinguish the exact sound of a word – yes, at this early age.

2-3 months

Laughing – your little one may begin to laugh, and so do you!
Vocalizing – Baby continues to vocalize with social stimulus.
Making sounds without bodily movement.
Ability to form their mouth to make open and closed vowels sounds, ie.oy

3-4 months

More rhythmic crying– with mouth opening and closing
Responding to sound stimulation.
Repeating the same vowel sound.
Smiling to express pleasure.
Laughing – some infants begin laughing closer to 3-4 months. Fun time!

“Fun to Flourish” Ideas to help develop language

When you hear your little one cry, call out and say “I am coming”. Baby is learning relief is on the way. Hold him; enjoy the snuggling upon your chest while he feels safe and less “out of control.” You will quickly learn how he responds. Be it a gentle rub, a gentle rock side to side or perhaps a song or talk in soothing tunes.

At this stage he is becoming aware of many sounds around him. For now his response will be generalized and reflexive. It will depend on the type, intensity, and suddenness of the sound, as well as his unique sensitivity to sounds. Use rattles, squeak toys, finger snap etc. to see his “sound awareness.” After creating the sound once or twice, pause for his response, and then repeat the sound. Show your interest in the sound by facial expression and words such as “Did you hear that?” After sound play let him touch and “hold” the toy. Talking to him will help him discriminate your voice from others! Watch for any signs he gives to tell you “I am listening!” : a brighter face, looking at you intently, an open mouth, a foot or a finger movement. It may even be as subtle as an increase in breathing or change in muscle tone.

Enjoy frequent face-to-face “conversations”! At first, he only may be able to listen to your voice for a few seconds at a time. With experience and time, he will be able to focus and listen to your voice for a few minutes. Revel in your part of his success and growth. Watch and listen for responses that are his way of “saying” thank you for making it “Fun to Flourish.”

Child Development/Language/ 8.2016