Posted on Monday 11th October 2021 in Blog…
Communicating with Your Baby
Responding to Your Baby’s Communication as a Parent
Lockdown hit new mums hard. Birthlight Baby Massage and Yoga teachers stepped in to fill the void of live classes by serving their families well with livestream sessions. In virtual space we enjoyed the ease of the Zoom Casual while welcoming the family dog, adventurous siblings and the occasionally random appearance of a partially-clothed unexpected family member. Importantly we relished in overseeing the subtle game of conversational ‘serve and return’ when parents respond to their babies’ communication.
Why is Birthlight Nurturing Baby Massage such a powerful communicative tool?
Because, ‘depending upon how you look at it, the skin is the outer surface of the brain, or the brain is the deepest layer of the skin.’ (2)
When lockdown eased my youngest daughter and I celebrated by scootering leisurely through our local riverside gardens in the balmy sunshine. On a neatly laid blanket overseen by a motionless lakeside heron, a lovely young mum connecting with her young baby shouted out, “Marion!” It took a moment to recognise Terri and son Lennon. Connecting with our families online suffers from virtual distancing, a sensory dissonance unavoidable in the world of Zoom. I slammed on the brakes, because I can’t resist a baby! Terri immediately spoke of the beneficial effects during lockdown of our online BabyYogaMassage sessions and relayed to me how a story I’d told her had left its mark:-
A father posted about the joyous sound of a crying baby. Being neglected in an orphanage, his adopted baby daughter sadly had learned that no one listened to her cues, so naturally her communication cues withered, and she never even cried, that is until her new loving family made effective efforts to connect with her. As her adoptive parents diligently responded to her subtle cues, the magical seeds of connection unfurled.
As I watched Terri and Lennon connect in their cosy nest by the heat shimmering water, Lennon’s tongue poked out, not in a typical withdrawing cue, but his clever cluster of communicative cues demonstrated that he was talking to his mum. So we sat smiling and actively listening with glee to Lennon’s riveting story, smartly told through his facial gestures, his physical movements, his soft babblings, and the polyvagal bonding spark of heartfelt connection.
The miracle of the mother-baby connection,
Alena uses Birthlight practices to respond and develop baby’s communication skills, instigated by the wonderful Clever Cluster of Communicative Cues (3)
The Birthlight Integrated Nurturing Baby Massage and Baby Yoga (BINBY) training recognises Dr T B Brazelton’s States of Consciousness (1), uses Still Positive Touch to connect and to respect babies’ Clever Clusters of Communicative Cues. It is the ‘Integration’ in BINBY that draws on the optimum opportunities to use the rhythm of communication through dialogue, poems, nursery rhymes, song, sounds breathings and touch with movement. These techniques shared at the appropriate stage of baby’s development, allow us to discover a mutual rhythmic dance of connection. Within this space a cocktail of hormones surge through the parent-baby pair to create a joyful symbiosis, and in the background, hidden in the myriad of baby’s neurons, this playful connection allows the release of neurotransmitters to produce gazillions of connections in baby’s brain and beyond.
In short, responding to your baby’s communication as a parent is the essence which allows your baby to grow their brain – physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially.
All the theory in the world doesn’t matter a jot for a family in a pandemic, what matters is that communicative play is arguably the best way for the pair to nurture their relationship, health and well-being by engaging in the delight of mutual connection.
Communicating with pioneering Birthlight techniques, Laura and Noah take flying baby to the beach.
‘The experience of movement combined with touch is probably the richest stimulation we can offer babies from birth.’ (4)
- Brazelton, T., 1976. Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale. Philadelphia: Lippincott.
- Juhan, D., 2015. Job’s Body. New York: Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc. (1987: p35)
- BINBY – Birthlight Integrated Nurturing Baby Massage and Baby Yoga Training Manual 2020
- Barbira Freedman, F., 2010. Yoga for Mother and Baby. London: Cico.