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When Do Newborns Recognize Their Parents' Voices?

by Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell

Your newborn adores your voice even though he's unaware that it's you who's talking or singing to him. A newborn will also look at you when you speak to her. Your baby will respond to familiar voices with sounds of his own a couple of months after birth. By the third month, your infant will recognize your voice and face, explains the American Pregnancy Association or AAP.

Significance

All sorts of sounds peak your baby's interest but she's especially intrigued by the spoken voice, explains FamilyDoctor.org, a website published by the American Academy of Family Physicians. The calm, comforting sound of a parent's voice is soothing to a newborn -- even though he has no clue as to what's being said -- because it represents safety and security. Babies get a charge out listening in on your conversations with others and take pleasure in trying to get in on the action by vocalizing herself.

Conversations

Spend as much time as possible conversing with your baby by talking and singing. Ongoing communication is how your baby learns important lessons about pacing, tone and waiting to "talk" -- which in the early months is limited to babbling and cooing -- until you are finished speaking. When your baby makes a sound, repeat it and wait for her to respond. The sound of your voice can make your baby quite excited which becomes evident when he moves his arms and legs about. Respond in kind by showing enthusiasm when your baby makes sounds or smiles. Much to your delight your 2 month old may make a few vowel sounds like "ooh-ooh" and "ah-ah"

When Mum's the Word

Your baby won't always be in the frame of mind to vocalize. An infant -- like everybody else -- needs a little space from time to time so she can withdraw from stimulation, explains KidsHealth.org, a website published by the Nemours Foundation. Fussiness, irritability, turning away or closing his eyes can be clues that your baby needs a time-out from talking. Your baby may be comforted by cuddling or rocking or prefer to be left alone for a time.

Considerations

Even though your baby is partial to the human voice (yours in particular!), he may also find all types of music and routine household sounds like rattling pots and pans captivating. Have your little one nearby as your prepare meals and offer him a rattle or musical toys like a toy radio to help keep him entertained while helping him learn about various sounds. Take your baby along in the car when running errands to expose him to traffic noise and an abundance of interesting sounds in the supermarket -- not the least of which is the beeping cash register.

About the Author

Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.

Photo Credits

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