'ALL SMILES': MOTHER SHARES HOW BABY SIGNS HELP HER COMMUNICATE WITH BABY (INTERVIEW)Read Now
It was such a joy to have a dear young mom and her sweet first baby, Emma, in a recent Sign, Say, and Play baby sign language series. Here are the mother's thoughts about St. Croix Birth & Parenting's Baby Signs classes!
Q: What reasons did you have for wanting to learn Baby Signs (R) with your baby?
A: We wanted a way to communicate with Emma before she was able to do so by speaking so we could better respond to her needs and help her to feel empowered and connected.
Q: Do you think Emma enjoyed the classes themselves? If so, how could you tell?
A: Yes! Watching on the iPad for 45 minutes was beyond her so young, but she definitely engaged happily each time, and she really seemed to enjoy playing pretend dressing her Teddy—all smiles and excited sounds!
Q: Did you ever see Emma use Baby Signs in her daily life? If so, what signs did she use?
A: She is not signing yet, but she seems to watch our hands when we do.
Q: Can you think of a time it helped you or other family members to use signs with Emma?
A: We use them as much as we can, especially “all done” and “more,” which I think has really helped us with feeding but also when we have to change activities or redirect her to say we are “all done”! Emma always smiles when we sign “dog”! We definitely think they will help as her capacity to comprehend the signs and then to use them grows!
Q: Is there anything you would say to parents or caregivers about using baby signs with babies?
A: It is fun, functional, and building strong connections between my baby and me and in her brain as she already develops her neural pathways for language before she can ever speak.
Q: Would you recommend SCBP Baby Signs (R) classes?
A: I already have to several moms!
Thanks so much for this wonderful feedback!
Parents are often the ones who take baby sign language classes so they can communicate with their baby before baby can talk. But learning baby sign language is helpful for anyone who spends significant time with a baby, including siblings, grandparents, daycare workers, babysitters, and other caregivers! Earlier this year, Emilie, a nanny, asked her employer if she could take the Sign, Say, and Play online Baby Signs (R) Class with her nanny charge, Emma. I asked Emilie about her experience using baby sign language with Emma.
SCBP: What reasons did you have for wanting to learn Baby Signs with your nanny baby?
Emilie: I wanted to learn baby sign language with Emma because I knew how much it would help us communicate with each other. I have used sign language in the past in my family growing up and I was interested in trying it as a caregiver.
SCBP: What age was Emma when you began to take classes with her?
Emilie: Emma was seven and a half months old when we took our first class.
SCBP: Did you ever see Emma use Baby Signs in her daily life? What signs did she use?
Emilie: Yes! Emma loved to use baby signs as she grew older. Her favorite signs were "Dog", "More", "All Done", "Book", and "Fish"!
SCBP: Is there anything you would say to parents or caregivers about using baby signs with babies?
Emilie: Using baby signs is a great way to give your little one a way to communicate early on in life. When their vocabulary is bigger than just "cry" and "smile", it will surprise you how much easier it is to care for them! You can simply give them what they tell you that they want, most of the time.
SCBP: Would you recommend SCBP Baby Signs classes?
Emilie: I would definitely recommend SCBP Baby Signs Classes. They are a fun and easy way to learn a great way of communicating with your little one.
SCBP: Thank you, Emilie, for taking the time to answer these questions about your baby sign language experience!
Emilie: I am always happy to help out! And it was so fun to take the classes.
BABY SIGN LANGUAGE RESOURCES
Sign, Say, & Play class series: six fun online classes for little ones 6-24 months old covering the main topics that you need to know to communicate with baby, including mealtime, bedtime, bath time, pets, getting dressed, and playtime
Rumble Tumble Tummy Time class series: four fun online classes for babies 2-6 months old that use signs, song, toys, and games to make tummy time fun!
Featured Freebie class: SCBP offers FREE theme-based baby sign language classes every month for children from birth to age 6! View and sign up for this month's Featured Freebie class here.
Baby Signs Too: a website with a directory of certified Baby Signs (R) instructors from around the world and lots of baby signs resources for sale, too!
August was a busy month for SCBP! The month got rolling with the August 4 session of the Catholic Nursing Mothers' Group, a group co-sponsored by the Catholic Nursing Mothers' League. We discussed "Comfort Nursing." We welcomed nine mothers and their children to this online session.
The next day, August 5, I talked about "The Works of Mercy and Perinatal Loss" at Peace House right here in Stillwater, Minnesota. I was blessed to spend a lovely evening with several of the members of the Catholic Worker movement, who help women and mothers and their children in need of transitional housing, support, and life coaching. I was able to share with the group about our affiliated ministry, Tiny Treasures Perinatal Support. Team Tiny Treasures ships clothing and care packages to families facing or experiencing perinatal loss. It was an honor to discuss how this ministry is a way to "clothe the naked," "comfort the mourning" and "bury the dead".
The following day, August 6, my daughter, Emilie, joined me at the 12th Annual Memorial Walk for Halos of the St. Croix Valley, in New Richmond, Wisconsin. It was an honor to provide support (and demonstrate the resources our affiliated ministry, Tiny Treasures, provides) for the individuals and families who came out to walk to support this wonderful organization that support grieving parents and families.
In mid-August, BeeBo Bear and I had the joy of providing the August Featured Freebie Class, "A, B, C, Sign with Me," online for several mothers and their children. In this class, we had a blast learning all of the manual alphabet signs, while signing songs, and reading the classic alphabet book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
Some of these mothers and kids told their friends about the fun they had in the class and just a week later, BeeBo Bear and I repeated the August Featured Freebie Class, "Under the Sea" Baby Signs Class for a larger group of mamas and littles. In this online class, designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2-5 years old, we created an octopus, sang songs, and told a story to help little ones grow in the virtue of self-control.
I had the opportunity to answer questions and answers about Bonding with Baby yesterday at the free online SuperMoms-in-Training Summit. It was a great experience! Since the actual recording is reserved for summit participants, here's a recap of what I discussed.
To bond with baby (as well as older children!) I suggest new parents look into attachment parenting (AP). I would argue that AP is simply instinctive parenting that has been practiced since the beginning of the human race, but it has been promoted in recent decades by Dr. William Sears and his wife, Martha Sears, RN. In their book, Attachment Parenting,* the Searses promote the "Seven B's" of AP:
In my Summit Q & A, I discussed a little bit about each of these practices. One reason I encourage mothers to work toward a natural, unmedicated birth without routine interventions is because such a birth usually provides the best conditions for normal breastfeeding, and breastfeeding is an important factor in bonding. Another important part of Birth Bonding is skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby -- and also dad and baby! And skin-to-skin is something you can do with your baby anytime, not just at birth.
Research suggests that Breastfeeding is an important factor in mother-baby bonding. It's important to add that breastfeeding doesn't guarantee bonding, and other feeding choices certainly don't prevent bonding! However, breastfeeding releases bonding hormones in baby and mother, and is known as an important factor in bonding.
There was a question about what can be done to prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy. Make sure to get a lactation consultant lined up before you have a need! If needed, it is much easier to make a call for help to someone with whom you have already established a relationship than cold calling in what might feel like a very emergent situation. A second suggestion I have is to make sure you take a good breastfeeding preparation class!
The third B is Babywearing. Babies who are "worn" (carried in a sling or infant carrier) cry less and are perceived as "easier" / happier babies. This can make bonding easier. In addition to babywearing, I also recommend Infant Massage! Infant massage is a wonderful way to promote your baby's physical and emotional health while growing in your bond.
I spoke the longest about the fourth B: Bed Sharing because many have concerns about bedsharing safety. It is important to follow safe bed sharing guidelines! If bedsharing isn't something that you are interested in doing, it can be beneficial to sleep close to baby, for example, with baby in a "sidecar" arrangement or with bassinette in your room.
I add Baby Sign language to the fifth B: Belief in the signal value of a Baby's Cries. The parent or caregiver recognizes that babies want to communicate their needs and it is our job to observe our babies and learn what their signals mean. Baby Sign language facilitates this process by giving babies a way to communicate their needs, thoughts, and emotions before they are able to speak!
A mom asked how many signs to start with. I responded to say that in my Baby Signs classes (designed for babies 6-24 months), I teach about 6 signs per week and that seems to be enough variety without overwhelm. I also recommend starting with the mealtime signs because this is such an important area where parents and babies need to communicate every day!
Similar to the Bedsharing B, I recognize that "Beware of Baby Trainers" is one of the more controversial AP practices. To make this less confrontational, I like to explain this one as avoiding those practices that force you to be less responsive to your baby. For example, there are some methods that are designed to "train" a baby not to cry...ever. This is the kind of practice that should be avoided if you want to practice AP, because it interferes with the previous B: recognizing the signal value of a baby's cries. (This B does not mean using gentle methods of weaning or helping your toddler learn to sleep through the night at an appropriate age. Of course all children should wean from the breast and sleep through the night!)
The final B, which in my opinion is the most important, is Balance and Boundaries. Parents who gravitate to AP tend to be (like me haha) Type A perfectionists. It is important to be gentle with yourself and make sure your own needs are met: physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. AP can be intense and it is something that requires a lot of energy and commitment for the long-haul. You absolutely need to meet your own needs to be a long-term AP parent. You matter! And your baby does, too! Blessings to you and your baby.
Bosom Buddies: tummy to tummy, skin to skin (BONUS Tummy Time Activity Video)Read Now
Did you know holding your baby tummy to tummy and skin to skin counts as tummy time?
In Bosom Buddies: Tummy to Tummy, Skin to Skin (BONUS Tummy Time Activity Video) you will learn:
This video is intended for educational purposes only. Please consult your baby's doctor or medical care provider for specific advice about the care of your baby.
Musician: Alexander Delarge
Musician: Jason Shaw
Musician: Ilya Truhanov
Help your baby's tummy time take off with the Airplane Game! No equipment needed.
In Up, Up, and Away! (Tummy Time Activity Video #4) you will learn:
This video is intended for educational purposes only. Please consult with your baby's doctor or medical care provider for specific advice about the care of your baby.
Musician: Jason Shaw
Musician: Jason Shaw
Musician: Ilya Truhanov
Don't Stop Now
Rock your baby's tummy time by using a large ball!
Rock 'n' Roll Your Baby (Tummy Time Activity Video #3) explains how to:
This video is intended for educational purposes only. Please consult your baby's doctor or medical care provider for specific advice about the care of your baby. Always follow any baby carrier's instructions for safe babywearing and ensure baby's airway is straight so they can breathe freely.
Musician: Ilya Truhanov
Musician: Jason Shaw
Use safe mirror play to make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby!
Who's that Baby in the Mirror? (Rumble Tumble Tummy Time Activity Video #2) explains how to:
Musician: Jason Shaw
Musician: Alexei De Bronhe
Ice Cream Musician:
Make tummy time fun and expand your baby's world by reading books! A complete explanation of the benefits, how to tips, a song, and an alternative position if baby hasn't yet learned to enjoy being on the tummy! Learn to use the sign for BOOK so your baby will learn how to ask you for special "story time" cuddle sessions!
Enjoy what you learned? Want more! Let's get ready to Rumble...and Tumble! 🤣 Sign up for our series of four 45-minute Baby and Me playgroup sessions called Rumble Tumble Tummy Time. 😄
How to Make Tummy Time GREAT!Read Now
St. Croix Birth & Parenting's President, certified Baby Signs instructor, Christelle Hagen, HCHD, ICI, shares tips for making tummy time fun and a great way to bond with your baby in this new video recently posted to our new YouTube channel!
Curious? Want more? Sign up now for our four-session tummy time online playgroup!
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