Your competent newborn
Not too long ago, young babies were described as having few competencies at birth. We now know that they are capable of so much! Babies are born with reflexes to help them get along in the world. These include turning their heads toward a touch to the cheek (helps them get nourishment) and thrusting their arms out and grasping to hang on when their head and neck support is suddenly taken away. And we know that infants are capable of learning—hungry babies may quiet down when they are picked up because they have learned that being picked up is frequently followed by being fed. Congratulations on your competent baby! Newborns can even distinguish sound patterns such as those in repeated syllables (like da-da-da) or in words without repeated syllables (like the word sister). Parents make fantastic language teachers, because you can provide ample opportunities for your baby to hear and practice speech! Talk about everything from a diaper change to the colors, the textures, the sounds and so on of your baby's new toys. Even though your baby doesn't yet understand the words, he's quickly learning the rhythm of language. Soon he'll be copying the sounds you make by babbling ba-ba-ba and da-da-da.