Author: April Duke
Nothing is more frustrating than having your baby try to communicate a need to you, but having absolutely no idea what he's trying to tell you! I have found that baby sign language is a fantastic way to become further in tune with your baby's needs.
While every baby is different, most babies have the ability to communicate via signing by the time they are nine to twelve months old. If your baby is beginning to point to things, wave bye-bye, and shake his head, yes or no, he is probably ready.
Let's look at some basic signs to get you started. I have found that the most helpful signs for me have been “nurse” and “more.”
Nurse: Tug the front of your shirt while saying your word for “nurse.”
More: Tap your fingers together. Alternatively, you can tap your fists together.
After they master these two baby signs, I like to introduce “diaper” and “eat” (if your baby has started solids, if not, “nurse” will suffice).
Diaper: Use on hand and tap on your hip.
Eat: Place your fingers on your lips.
At this point, I feel that I can introduce more abstract signs like “hurt” and “help.”
Hurt: Touch your index fingers together. Then point to the hurt area.
Help: Place your fist on your palm, then move your palm and fist upward.
You can begin using baby sign language with your child anytime, regardless of his age, because he will absorb the information to be used when he's ready. Remember to always say the word while you sign, and try to sign every time you say the word. The result will be a less frustrated baby and a more informed mommy.