Five ideas for supporting your newborn baby’s communication

Last week was baby communication week, with a focus this year on listening to newborn babies.  

Our app is full of information and ideas about supporting your baby’s development from the moment they are born. In this blog, we give five tips that will help you support your newborn baby’s communication. 




What is your baby telling you? 

From the moment they are born, and some researcher suggests even before birth, your baby is interested in looking at faces.[1] When you hold your baby, you might notice they look at your face, or even watch your mouth as you speak.  

Some studies have found newborn babies copy simple expressions, such as sticking out their tongue when you do.[2] However, others suggest this is not imitation, simply babies practising movements.[3] 

Five ideas for supporting newborn 3

We do know that spending time face-to-face with your baby, smiling and chatting with them supports their development. And that babies learn by copying those around them, so even if the first movements are not copying, your baby will copy your expressions, sounds and gestures in the future.  

Your newborn will communicate many of their needs by crying. You might begin to recognise differences in the way they cry when they are tired, hungry or overstimulated. Your responses to your baby’s cries help them to understand that their needs will be met.  

Five ideas for supporting newborn 2

As you get to know your baby, you will begin to notice other ways that they communicate with you. You might notice movements or expressions which they make when hungry or tired. You may see them smile or wriggle with excitement as you chat with them.  

Your interactions with your baby support their development, so here are our five tips to help you support your newborn baby’s communication.  


Five tips to support your baby’s communication

Notice and respond to your baby’s cue

Your baby will have their own unique cues which they will use to communicate their needs. Give yourself time to watch them and learn their cues, especially in the first weeks when you are getting to know each other.  


Spend time face-to-face chatting with your baby 

Chatting face-to-face allows your baby to watch your mouth as you speak and to look at your expression. This helps them to learn about language and communication. 

Five ideas for supporting newborn 4 

It's never too early for stories

It might feel strange reading a story to your newborn baby, but reading stories to your baby can be a brilliant way for them to listen to your voice and might be the start of some lovely interactions.  


Become a commentator

Chat with your baby about what you are doing. Give a commentary as you go about everyday activities, such as changing their nappy or changing their clothes. If you notice them responding, pause and give them a chance to respond with a wriggle, coo or smile.  


Don't forget breaks

Lots of interaction is great for babies and sometimes we are so aware of how amazing these interactions are that we forget that we all need a break sometimes. So, remember to notice and respond to your baby’s cues that they are ready for a break.  

For more ideas about supporting your baby’s development download our app today. 





[1] Reissland, N.N.N., Wood, R., Einbeck, J., & Lane, A. (2020). Testing fetal abilities: a commentary on studies testing prenatal reactions to light stimulation. SSRN Electronic Journal  

[2] Meltzoff, A. and Morre, K (1977) Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates. Science 198, 75-78 

[3] Oostenbroek J, Suddendorf T, Nielsen M, Redshaw J, Kennedy-Costantini S, Davis J, Slaughter V (2016). Comprehensive longitudinal study challenges the existence of neonatal imitation in humans. Current Biology, 26, 1334–1338 


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