London: Every baby uses signals to communicate and it is simply up to parents to learn how to interpret every gurgle, giggle and facial expression, an extraordinary new book has claimed. In the 'Blossom Method', psychotherapist and body language expert Vivien Sabel claims that every expression an infant makes can be interpreted so parents can tell if their baby is hungry, happy, upset, windy, wants to play or needs a cuddle.

"All those adorable little shapes a baby makes with her mouth, tongue, lips, eyes and brows are far more than something for us to coo over, it's their way of trying to tell us what they need," a daily quoted her a s saying.

Vivien observed hundreds of babies during six years of research for the book — including her own daughter, the Blossom whom the book is named after — during which time she developed a three-pronged principle - observe your baby's facial expression, mirror it back to them to show them that you understand what they're saying, then respond by providing what it is they're telling you they need.

While her ideas may sound a little far-fetched, there may be something behind them. According to child development experts, babies start to communicate long before they try to form their first words, which is typically from seven months old.

"A child is ready to communicate from birth," Clare Bolton, of the National Literacy Trust, said.
"They will amaze you with how quickly they use movement, facial expressions and noises to try to communicate; it's simply a case of reading the signs," Bolton said.

While everyone can read emotions in other peoples faces or body language — to varying degrees — Vivien says that we don't fully utilise these signs.

"Within days of having Blossom in 2004, I realised that everything from the furrow in her brow to the little shapes she made with her mouth and the different ways she moved her tongue were actually her way of trying to tell me what she needed," Vivien said.

"I watched Blossom closely and began to see patterns to these movements that linked to whether she was hungry, about to fill her nappy, was tired, windy or needed affection. I knew not just if Blossom was hungry, but how hungry she was simply by how far and how fast she moved her tongue.

"When she was going to have a wee or a poo, her tongue would protrude in a pointed fashion, so I'd get a clean nappy ready.

"If she had wind, I'd see it in the fullness of her bottom lip. As soon as I saw the signs, I could get straight on with winding her rather than her becoming distressed, mirroring her expressions so she understood that I was going to help her.

"The mirroring back part came through instinct. I wanted to tell her that I knew what she was saying by speaking her language, just as I always have with Mum.

"You don't need a degree to read these signs, just the capacity to study your baby's face," she added.
Vivien's own non-verbal communication skills were strongly developed in childhood as her mum was born deaf, so even as a toddler Vivien had to read the subtle variations in her body language and facial expressions.


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