Newborns are complex little people who see, hear, touch, communicate, receive information and, above all, remember.
Many adults are tempted to treat babies like cute little things. They forget to communicate with them as people. They forget that those cute little bodies house hearts and souls. I discovered early in my mothering career that it is important to treat infants with respect by listening to the sounds they make and watching and interpreting their body language.
Most people have noticed that loud, sharp, or deep voices cause a newborn to jump, but a newborn will also respond to a voice he remembers hearing in the womb. It was amazing to watch my first granddaughter turn towards her mom’s and dad’s voices when she was only hours old. When her parents held her, she calmed down right away because she had been constantly reassured of their love and devotion while she was still in the womb. Out in the world, she knew she was safe and protected in the arms that were connected to the familiar voices.
Conversely, all babies are sensitive to the approach of a stranger.
I was once holding my six-month-old daughter, Mary, when a tall, slender, older priest, dressed all in black, gently reached out to hold her. He smiled and patiently waited while Mary tensed her little body, drew back and looked him up and down very suspiciously. She drew back a second time, even further, and once again glanced from his head to his feet and slowly looked back at his face again. A third time, Mary repeated the process and then suddenly she relaxed, broke out into a wonderful smile and reached her own arms out to lean forward so Father could pick her up.
My baby was receiving unspoken messages from Father’s facial expression, tone of voice, body language, and emotional and spiritual ‘vibes’ which radiated from his inner spirit. Even though Mary was not talking yet, she was still a person with intuition and wisdom because she processed the information she received and made a decision to trust this priest.
Babies are people too, and when we treat them as such, they reward us with connection and trust.