Author: Caroline Schaefer
Just because she can't talk doesn't mean your little one doesn't have important things she wants to tell you.
I'm a celebrity-magazine junkie, so I consider myself an expert when it comes to reading the body language of all those A-listers. I know that Angelina's tug on Brad's muscular shoulder is her way of telling the world that he's taken. And it's obvious to me that when J. Lo tilts her head about 60 degrees while judging American Idol, that contestant is so not making it to the big time.
But when it comes to interpreting my own 3-month-old's body language, my skills aren't quite so sharp. Despite the fact that Addy is my third child, I'm often hopeless at reading her hiccups, head bobs, and odd hand positions. Yesterday, for example, I assumed that her intense sucking on her fists meant that she was hungry, so I fed her until she spit up all over her shirt and mine.
Tuning in to your child's gestures is crucial, especially before she can speak. "Baby behavior definitely conveys messages that tell you what your child needs," says J. Kevin Nugent, Ph.D., director of the Brazelton Institute, in Boston, and author of Your Baby Is Speaking to You. "Being able to read and respond will make your baby happier, as well as help you learn a lot about her personality and temperament." For the parents (like me) who get lost in translation, infant pros offer insight into interpreting some common baby moves. Use these tips to understand your own little VIP.
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