Baby Sign Language

Vaylee(11 months) happy on the potty after signing diaper!

One of the most frustrating things with an infant can be the lack of communication. Mom can’t understand baby, baby doesn’t understand why mom isn’t listening, and there can be crying on both sides. While my first child may have been exasperated with me, he helped me to get a head start with his siblings. So by the fourth child I feel like this baby is a genius…but really it’s that mama finally figured out all the cues and coos that our little ones give us. A huge tool in that communication has also been baby sign language. It’s an automatic thing in our family now and I forgot that I had to learn it in the beginning. So I thought I would post our favorite signs to help other new mommy’s teach their babies to “talk”. Please share with us if you have any favorite signs that help in your family. 😀

The first sign that we teach is milk.  Then we teach food, diaper, water, please, and thank you.  After we have them down we may learn mom, dad, and special symbols for her siblings.  But she may just say our names by then too.  As of 3/27/12 we haven’t started please and thank you with Vaylee(11 months old) yet.  But she has milk down, as well as food and diaperWater is usually grunted rather than signed.  Sigh, ah well, you can’t win them all.  😀

Milk- put your hand in a fist and mime milking a cow’s udder.  Open, close.  Vaylee looks like she’s almost waving hello with both hands, accepts she adamant, and she is signing to mom.

Food- All five fingers together bring them to your mouth, then away, then back to your mouth, them away, rinse and repeat as needed


Diaper- I just pat my pelvis with my hands flat.  Baby’s with finger positions it more difficult.




Thank You


Please-  Rub your hand on your chest in a circle.

All these signs and more can be found on the website where there is an ASL dictionary and online lessons(free).  Images sourced from

Newborn baby Vaylee

Newborn babies talk too!  While a tiny baby can’t sign to you, they do have their own special language.  It’s easiest to hear what they are saying if you listen before they get frustrated and start crying.

Neh(may sound like Nah, listen for the n sound)- I’m hungry

Owh- I’m tired (mouth tends to be open like a yawn in an oval shape)

Eh(listen for the e beginning sound)- Burp me

Eairh- lower wind pain (lower more urgent r sound)

Heh- uncomfortable (too hot, too cold, diaper change)


Baby Sign Language — 1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the blog info. Really wonderful to hear what’s working for mom’s I know who are on a similar wavelength and parenting style. I agree with the “baby dictionary” words you have listed. I have heard Tristan using these from the start. I remember (all too well) a 3 minute car ride this past summer (hottest one I can remember) ended with him voicing and red-faced “heeh!” For months I’vne be heard “neh” for hunger and “owh” when tired, usually following a yawn. All very cute! The most endering sound all however is “mama” which he uses looking pleadfully at me from his carseat or crib. Great info…we use “more” sign and lots of Spanish. We’ll have to start adding in more sign and see where it goes. Hugs, big and small.