Home / How To Bond With A Newborn | Understanding The Facts



THAT LOVIN’ FEELING

From the moment babies are born, these tiny human beings start communicating with the world around them. The vital connection between you and your infants depends on this communication.

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Infant born with hearing loss

Infants will use extensive body language, facial expressions, and all sorts of verbal sounds to interact with you. These movements and sound will eventually evolve into ‘bonding’ language.

But until they do, you may have an incredibly difficult time understanding your infant’s’ attempts to tell you things.

How many times have you wished you could look into your babies’ minds and know what was going on in there? How many parents have felt the instinctual longing to bond, extract a thought, or a word from their troubled infants?

The inability to understand your infant is certainly there because you don’t try hard enough, nor is it because the infants abandon their attempts to express themselves.

Infants have an instinctual need to communicate with you, just as you have an instinctual need to understand them.

Infants are born with abundant intelligence. However, they have a limited means to let you know what their thoughts and needs are. The muscles that allow speech to form are undeveloped, restricting the infant from participating in verbal language.

Imagine how it must feel to be a baby who has many specific needs and thoughts to express, but has no effective way to make those specific needs or thoughts understood.

At times, it must be frustrating for these small and socially dependent beings to live with these limitations.

Communications is one of the highest forms of social interaction. 

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Leading researchers in infant behavior have determined that social interaction is crucial to all infants’ development. They have further concluded that for a caregiver to withhold social responses to an infant’s attempts to communicate is one of the most disruptive things that can occur in the infant’s learning process.

What can you do to encourage this learning process? Here is where SIGN with your BABY contribute to your infant’s development. Imagine how your babies might feel if one day you started using simple hand movements to communicate.

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Little girl suffering from partial hearing loss.

Let’s say you make a particular motion during a certain daily activity, such as eating. Soon your infants associate that movement with the situation or activity that was taking place when the motion was introduced.

They begin to experiment with their own hands and discover they can replicate the movements you make.

Receiving reinforcement from you, babies quickly learn that by making this motion, they can communicate their needs and wants.

The time between newborn birth and when your infants utter their first recognizable words can be a time of miscommunication or a time when your communication is less than precise.

This does not have to be the case. These precious months can be rich in meaningful and effective infant/parent interaction.

Using manual communication with your infants can help build a solid foundation for mutual understanding, dramatically contributing to the bonding process.

Prenatal Issues

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The complexity of the ear means that it is vulnerable to damage from a wide variety of sources – disease, genetic disorders, infection, noise, or accidents.

Each age has its unique susceptibility: the fetus, because the ear mechanism is undergoing rapid development; the child, vulnerable to a host of ototoxic diseases; the adult, prey to the disintegration of the ear due to normal aging.

PRENATAL CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS. Loss of hearing from prenatal causes occurs in between 7 and 20 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Significantly, most of these prenatal causes are preventable. The three major threats to the hearing mechanism of a woman’s unborn baby are viral diseases, ototoxic drugs (drugs that can harm hearing), and the woman’s health during pregnancy.

Of these, the biggest threat to prenatal ear development is viral disease contracted by a pregnant mother.

teaching-sign-language-to babies
New mom with hearing impaired child.

The most dangerous of all the viral diseases from the standpoint of hearing is rubella, though damage also can be caused by the mother’s infection with influenza, mumps, toxoplasmosis (protozoan infection), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and herpes.

In fact, almost any severe infection can damage the developing fetal hearing mechanism, especially during the first trimester, when the fetus seems to be especially vulnerable.

Only the common cold appears to carry no threat to an unborn child’s ears.

GERMAN MEASLES (Rubella):

A mother who contacts German measles during the first three months of pregnancy may give birth to a child with some degree of hearing loss.

Typically, the pregnant woman experiences just a mild rash and fever, but she may have no symptoms at all and not even realize she has been infected.

About one third of children born to children born to mothers who contract rubella may be deaf; especially if it occurs in the first few months of pregnancy.

However, there have been cases in which a baby sustained hearing loss when the mother contracted rubella as late as the seventh month of pregnancy.

The mother can also infect her baby long after she contracts rubella, since the virus may linger in her body and go on to injure an embryo that is conceived weeks or months after the infection appears to have subsided.

In some cases, the child’s deafness may be progressive, because the virus persists in the child’s body after birth.

TOXOPLASMOSIS:

Prenatal infection by toxoplasmosis can also lead to a hearing loss. Up to 45 percent of American women of reproductive age carry this organism, usually passed on by infected cats and their waste, and one baby out of every 800 will develop toxoplasmosis in the womb from an infected mother.

An infected pregnant woman’s doctor can’t confirm the disease unless they’ve had a negative toxoplasmosis test early in their pregnancy and subsequently test positive for the infection.

Most babies born with toxoplasmosis don’t show evidence of the infection immediately, but many physicians advise drug treatment anyway.

CYTOMEGALOVIRUS:

Up to half of all children infected with CMV in the womb will have a bilateral, sensorineural hearing loss of varying severity. Discovered in 1956, cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of the herpes virus family; it’s the largest, most complex virus known to infect humans.

The virus doesn’t usually cause any symptoms in healthy people, but it may set off symptoms like the common cold in a pregnant woman. Hearing loss in infants is most often profound, although some babies sustain milder losses.

Cytomegalovirus infection in the womb is now considered a possible cause of many previously unknown cases of non-genetic hearing loss.

 

(Also See How To Integrate Deaf Culture In Your Family | What You Must Do)

If you feel this article can help others, please share it on your social media platform.

 

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12 comments on “How To Bond With A Newborn | Understanding The Facts”

  • I really like this page simply because I have 5 kids and I always believed in talking or reading to them from day one and I guess it seemed right at the time to talk with my hands to them as well lol.
    Now I know I done right thank you so much. My oldest had surgery at 1 month old and got delayed on her speech but her mother and I both knew what she wanted by just paying attention to her signs. A lot of folks couldn’t understand how we knew. I gotta let them know about this site, I’d have to say this is one of my favorite sites. Thank you again for getting this information out to the world.

    • Hello my friend and thanks for checking in. Always great to hear your comments. In addition, I’m extremely happy that you see value in my post; information you could relate to.

      It’s good you’re communicating with your young children and teaching them at an early age. Reading is an important element in any child’s life. (This is what my mom stressed to us coming up). Spelling and reading was what she found most important to grasp coming up in grade school. James, it sounds as though you’re on the right track!

      Teaching sign language to toddlers is a ‘key’ component in regards to the fact, that once they get older, they’ll be better equipped to use this skill within the non-hearing community. In regards to your eldest daughter, It’s cool that you were able to recognize and communicate through hand gestures. 

      Yes James, I agree we do have to get this information out to as many folks as possible. Help me to let them know about how this crippling disability is affecting more families around the world than we think. Blast my URL link out on your FB or twitter page, or personally email your contacts. Would really appreciate it.

      Thanks again James for checking back in with me. Check back any time. Take care. 

  • First of all, wow. My son had to learn sign language because of his inability to speak words (autism). So, reading about how babies can learn sign language and the myths of hearing loss…wow…I learned a lot from that. It took an emotional and heavy toll on my son, as he reached teen years, to cope with not always knowing how to speak ‘like other people’. What’s even more difficult is having to help him understand he would always be this way but can improve over time. He refuses to believe that Sign Language is just as much speaking as using words. Now I have proof. Thank you.

    • Thank you my friend for commenting, Artisterotica. I’m happy to hear you’ve found value in my articles. Hearing loss or any other disability for that matter, is a devastating thing to families. I’ve learned since creating these posts that many, many families are affected by hearing issues in their family or another close family, and is seeking more information. I try to provide just that!

      Regarding your son and what he’s going through, I applaud you for the continued encouragement with your son. I know it’s not easy, as a young teen, trying to ‘fit in’ and communicate with others of his peers. You are doing everything right. Learning sign isn’t a bad thing. Keep up the good work. Perhaps show him the material here on the site regarding learning and understanding the language. Good luck to you and your son, my friend. Please let me know if I could assist you further with anything.

  • Thank you for providing this very educational article. You made some great points and provided some great information. I feel this article will be very helpful to parents of babies.

    My son is older now and able to communicate with me. I know when he was a baby I always wished I could know exactly what he wanted. I did my best to try and figure out what he needed at every given moment.

    Great job with this article and thank you again!

    • How are you, Makayla? Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you have found my article useful. Regarding your son, It sounds as if he had a hearing issue when he was little. I understand your point of having the right tools, mainly being educated on sign language.

      Any parent wanting to learn sign, regardless if their child needs it or not, is not a bad thing. You never know, through life when those types of communication skills will come in handy. As I’ve said many times before; ‘Education is Key’.

      Thank you again Makayla, for commenting. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

  • Hi, my wife had influenza during the first trimester of pregnancy. That most probably was the cause not only of hearing loss of our son, but of many other defects as well.

    Our son spent the first six months of his life at the ICU, which meant that we could be with him not more than 2-3 hours a day. I cannot even tell you how difficult it was for us that we could not communicate with him.

    When we eventually were able to spend with him more time, it was indescribable joy to see the first signs of understanding in his eyes. We would try to communicate with him in many ways. Manual communication was one of them. It would take too much time and space to describe all our efforts. That’s why all I want to say to whoever is reading this: “Try to communicate with your baby as early as possible. You will be amazed with the results!”

    • Thanks for your comment, Zbigniew. My heart goes out to you and your family regarding the difficulties you endured regarding the earlier years of your wife’s pregnancy and the birth of your son. I can only imagine that it had to be tough spending a lot of time, going back and forth to ICU. (I did the same thing with my wife, before she got too ill and eventually passed away).

      Having an ill and deaf child in the hospital, as you say had to be extremely rough! You can only do so much. All you can do is count the days and pray for a speedy recovery until their release. I can tell by the tone of your letter, how happy you and your wife were to have some early bonding communication with your son. Thank God, it all turned out well!

      Again, thank you my friend for checking in. Good luck to you and yours. Please don’t hesitate to get back to me if you have any other questions or concerns.

  • Great post! I remember when I gave birth to my first son, my biggest concern was that he wouldn’t like me. I think it’s really cool that we as parents can BUILD a strong relationship and bond with our kids. As you mentioned, it is sooo important to use manual communication techniques to bond with our little blessings!

    • Thank you for commenting Ally. I feel it’s every parents intention to display a loving bond towards their children. Especially, like you mentioned, a first time parent concern about different things regarding raising their child and the bonding issue as the child develop and grows in life. When a child is born with an hearing disability, it becomes ever so important to develop a bonding relationship even more so and seek out whatever help you could provide for your child.

      Thank you again Ally. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope you’ve shared my site with others that my also benefit from it.