While I was pregnant with my first son I decided I wanted to work on baby signs with him. I didn’t buy any materials; I just looked up the signs I wanted to use online.
Starting at 3 months I began signing “milk,” and when he began eating solids we started working on “eat,” “more,” “all done,” and “drink.”
I have pretty consistent signed these few words to him almost his entire life. But I didn’t see any signs! While I knew other babies typically can pick up signs by around 9 months, Fletcher wasn’t having it. Then he turned a year, and still no signing. I was discouraged but I kept up the few signs we did. I would have added more but since he hadn’t picked the ones I was showing him up I held off.
2-3 months ago he did start signing “all done” which of all of the signs, wasn’t the most helpful! I was still excited to see him pick it up though. Instead of flipping his hands front to back, he just holds them up.
Then this month, he started signing “more” back to me. It was a very exciting day! For “more” he also adapted the sign to his own use and puts a fist to an open hand, versus bringing it finger tips together.
I began really pushing the signs after that, and just a few days ago he finally signed “milk.” It was the one sign I really wanted him to learn, since I sign “milk” for nursing. In recent weeks he has already come up with his own sign for milk. But it is something I hope he stops. He smacks his lips and either points to my boobs or lifts my shirt down. It is less than polite! “smack smack smack” mommy give me boobies!
The irony is that I always signed “milk” to him when we nursed. Now, it is the most beautiful and exciting thing to see. I love how gingerly he opens and closes his fist. Friday night while I rocked him and nursed him before bed he gently signed milk. It was so sweet, and I was so proud of him.
The reason I wanted to share is because I hope our story will encourage any mamas out there who think their baby isn’t picking up signing. I did think he understood, but was worried he would never sign back. Now that he is picking the signs up we will continue working on these and will introduce a few more. I believe signing is great for helping non speaking babies to communicate. I am just so glad we stuck with it!