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Communication and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old

Your baby's range of sounds and facial expressions continues to grow, with lots of babbling, squealing, smiling, and laughing — which may mean less time for crying. Your baby is also imitating sounds, which are first attempts at speaking.

How Babies Communicate

Babies this age begin to experiment with the sounds they can make with their mouth, using saliva as an important tool. Your baby will also make more attempts to imitate sounds and spend more time babbling. Make no mistake, these are your baby's early attempts at speaking and should be encouraged as much as possible. If you listen closely, you'll hear your baby's voice raise and drop as if asking a question or making a statement.

Your baby is just now beginning to understand the fundamentals of communication through language. When younger, your baby understood your meaning through the tone of your voice: Soothing tones were comforting, agitated tones told him or her something was wrong. Now, your baby is beginning to pick out the components of your speech and can hear and understand the different sounds you make and the way words form sentences.

Realizing that his or her noises have an effect on you, your baby will enjoy playing copycat games where you mimic what your little one says. Your baby may also make the discovery that crying grabs your attention. This is mostly a good thing, but your baby will also use it on occasion when bored or frustrated. Babies may also try coughing to get parental attention. Rather than punish a baby for this, give extra attention once the coughing or fussing has stopped.

This is the age when your baby is able to reflect your emotional state, which is the beginning of true communication.

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