Helping Your Newborn Learn

Skip to the navigation

Topic Overview

When you encourage emotional bonding with your baby by cuddling, talking, and playing with him or her, you also stimulate brain development and communication. To further promote learning and communication:

  • Learn your newborn's cues and recognize when he or she is most alert and receptive. Newborn communication can be subtle. Look for signs that your baby is happy and eager to interact, such as bright eyes and wiggling arms and legs. Pay attention to the sound of your baby's cries; eventually you can distinguish between them and respond appropriately. For example, you will learn which cry means "I'm hungry" and which cry means "I'm bored." This process helps teach your baby to communicate.
  • Frequently interact with your baby, such as by talking and reading to him or her, and offering new and interesting things to look at. For instance, carry your baby around the room and show him or her pictures on the wall. Talk to your baby about the people and things in the picture. Take your newborn outside for walks and talk about the things you see.
  • Play soft music and sing to your baby. Toys that newborns are most likely to respond to include brightly patterned mobiles, mirrors (unbreakable), and soft toys in bright colors or patterns. Toys that make soft, soothing sounds are also appropriate.footnote 1



  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). The first month. In SP Shelov et al., eds., Caring For Your Baby And Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 5th ed., chap. 6, pp. 149–191. New York: Bantam.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics

Current as ofAugust 21, 2015

Current as of: August 21, 2015