What's with all the crying, baby?
BABIES communicate from the moment they're born through crying (well, plenty of crying), smiling and laughter in the first few months.
At about five months of age your little one will start to chatter in their own language of distinctive sounds. But what are they trying to say? How can you tell what they're crying about? What do their babble noises mean?
Pick up on their body language
Getting to know your baby's body language is an important way of understanding what they want or need, whether it's kicking their feet, clasping their hands or a facial expression.
It's your baby's body language that can fill in the gap to help you understand what a particular cry means.
How your baby moves and the facial expressions he or she uses signal when your child is hungry, ready to play, upset or uncomfortable.
Your baby will have their own unique body language and at first you will not know what each action or expression means, but it's a matter of being observant so you can learn what your baby is trying to tell you.
Chatter and babble
Every parent gets to know the sound of their baby making their own unique chatter and babble. This baby language is an important step in your child's development.
If you have already learnt to pick up on signals from your baby's body language, this will help you understand what they are saying during their chatter.
An expressive baby will show enthusiasm and joy while they babble away, and when they are unhappy their whole mood will change.
Your baby will be experimenting with a range of sounds, whether it's coughing, squealing, giggling or early attempts at saying vowels.
Remember they are learning from you
How you respond to your child's attempts at communication is important because it teaches them language skills and helps them along their development. You want to encourage them and communicate back in a fun and expressive manner.
By communicating back and forth, you're sharing with your child and creating experiences that will also, importantly, strengthen your relationship with them.
Also be aware that even when you're not talking directly to them, your child is observing you and learning from how you talk and how you express yourself both verbally and non-verbally.
So if you are having a cup of tea with a friend or you are on the phone with a relative, be aware of what you are saying and what you are doing.