Can you read a baby’s mind?

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1. How to be a baby detective

Looking after a baby, especially a newborn, can leave you feeling like you need to be a code-breaker, a psychologist and Sherlock Holmes all rolled into one. You solve one problem only to find another one has replaced it. Your little one becomes totally frustrated at being unable to get their message across, and you start feeling guilty for being at a loss to know what they need next.

Supporting your baby’s emotional development at this age is all about building a strong relationship. You must become attuned to your own child’s 'language', and decode what they are trying to tell you.

2. Tune into your baby's emotions

Meeting your baby’s emotional needs and helping them to understand the world hinges on building a strong, rewarding relationship. Child psychologist Laverne Antrobus explains more in this video.

3. What does this cry mean?

While babies can’t talk, their cries can tell you what’s upsetting them. Babies use different pitches and tones to let their parents and carers know something’s wrong.

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4. Talk the talk

Communication is vital to a baby’s development. Even though your baby might be too young to talk yet, the way you talk to them is really important – start naming feelings and giving them a framework for their emotions.

Adjust your tone of voice to the situation and make sure you are physically holding them close and making direct eye contact. Babies loved to be talked to – you can talk to them about absolutely anything!

There’s lots you can do to strengthen your relationship/bond with your baby, and reassure them that you’ve got their back; give them periods of undivided attention each day and talk to them.

Try to get attuned to your baby's cries and how they respond.

5. What is my baby trying to tell me?

Look for cues and anticipate their needs. Is she sucking her fingers? She’s probably hungry. Is he whiny and looking away from his cot mobile? He may find it bit too much right now.

6. Choose an activity and find out how it helps

What things can I do to support my baby's emotional and social development?

Play some simple games

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Play peekaboo

Playing games such as peekaboo is an easy way to engage your baby. Your baby will emulate your playful tone by gurgling, cooing, smiling, waving and kicking.

Encourage them

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Praise them often!

Give your older baby lots of praise when they are trying something difficult such as rolling over or stacking objects.

Hold them close

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Give them lots of cuddles.

Close physical contact is crucial to a baby’s emotional development. Holding and rocking helps them feel secure.

Look into their eyes

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Hold their gaze.

Maintaining eye contact with your baby is vital for their communication and social skills.