Birth to 6 Months

Mother With Baby.pngBirth to 6 Months


For some reason, the sense of rhythm seems to comfort infants. Walking, rocking, swaying— all of these rhythmic movements are comforting to babies. In the same way, rhythmic sounds are enjoyed by babies. Why? Perhaps the reason is that rhythmic language reminds babies of a much loved sound heard prior to birth: the sound of mother’s heartbeat.

For whatever reason, babies around the world have enjoyed the sound of nursery rhymes chanted softly by parents and grandparents through the centuries. Nursery rhymes comfort newborns and often coax them to relax. Older babies delight in the playtime they associate with nursery rhymes as they are incorporated into their daily routine: “Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub” during bath or “This little piggy went to market” when dressing.

Mother Goose rhymes are for young children and bring great delight in their repeating. Do you remember those rhymes from your childhood? If so, share them with your baby. If you need a refresher, get your hands on a good Mother Goose book to trigger your memory. Here are some excellent examples:

Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose by Tomie dePaola
or The Random House Book of Mother Goose by Arnold Lobel


In the next couple of months your baby will babble in “words” with a consonant and a vowel (“da,” “ba,” “ma”). She will also make noises with the saliva in her mouth and try to imitate sounds you make. She will delight in conversations you share with the sounds she makes, and your response to her will encourage her to experiment more with her voice.

Your baby understands simple words you speak to her, especially if she hears them over and over. That’s why it’s a good idea to “talk through tasks” with her: describing with words the events in her life.  For example,“Let’s put your hand through your sleeve. There. Doesn’t that make you warm?”

Some parents report that they feel a little silly with these one-sided conversations, but the truth is that babies are listening and learning meanings to words for many months before they can respond in conversation.