Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Backwards WFMW: Baby Sign for Breastfeeding

Using Baby Signs is a great way for your baby to be able to communicate with you before the baby can speak. I was introduced to Baby Signs while working at a daycare center. I had a high need baby in my care, and Baby Signs helped that baby a lot. After learning a few Baby Signs, that high need baby settled down and was a lot less fussy.

I have been excited to start using Baby Signs with the Princess. We have begun using signs for "more," "eat," "drink," and others. While the Princess isn't doing the signs, I know that her exposure to the signs now will help her to communicate with me very soon.

Here is my question: What sign should I use for breastfeeding?

The usual sign people use is the sign for "milk." This involves squeezing your hand like you are milking a cow. I have three problems with this sign. 1. I am not, nor will I ever be, a cow. 2. Have you seen Meet the Fockers? The Princess recently dove into the cleavage of a well-endowed acquantaince. I really don't want her signing "milk" to someone else. 3. I would like to use the sign for "milk" when she has milk (Momma, rice, or cow) in a cup.

Does anyone have a suggestion? Please help!


Anonymous said...

One baby I knew would tap on her shoulder like mom did when unlatching her bra.


Robin said...

I don't know anything about baby signs, but how about something that resembles the sign for love? Seems very appropriate to me.

PS I'd start now also some word for breastfeeding that you won't mind being yelled from across the supermarket - she'll be talking before you know it and that will definitely come in handy. We always called breastfeeding "mommy milk". As my kids grew, no one batted an eye when they asked to nurse, since they assumed they were saying "mommy, milk" - it's all in the comma LOL.

lifeasamama said...

i had the same reaction to you when i was deciding what sign to use for my daughter...

we ended up going with the milk sign because it was so easy for her to do at an early age. one book i had suggested tugging on her shirt... but she can't get in my face and do it.

i've never seen a child in real life ask any one else to nurse them but their mom. i can't imagine that really happening. my daughter was in the room the other day when a polar bear was nursing her cubs (i was watching planet earth) and she came up to me and signed milk! it was so sweet. but seriously, she never asks anyone else to nurse her. even if she sees them nursing another toddler / baby.

i don't think it would be too complicated at all to use the same sign for milk in a cup or milk from you.

oh amanda said...

We did milk w/my daughter. She honestly thought milk was the sign for mommy. ;)

But after I weaned her, she had no problems signing "milk" like milk that goes in a cup.

(but yeah, the cow thing...I see it...)

Vanessa said...

We did the milk sign. It never bugged me, but I can see that it is just like milking. It's a really cute sign when chubby baby fingers make it, though.

If not, I'd think of a sign that involves eating, but is easy for baby fingers to make.

Jennifer said...

The sign for mama is touching your thumb to your chin with the other four fingers pointing up. My friend combined this sign with milk (the fingers moving into the palm of the hand, so the baby's thumb was on his chin while he made the milk sign)to mean mama milk/nursing. It was great.

Anonymous said...

I was originally going to say Milk until your explanation and I totally understand.

The only signs my 15 month old uses is "please" and "thank you". So, I am not the best to offer suggestions.

But may you can try "white drink" or a sign for "cuddle" since you cuddle/hold them while nursing.

I like the shoulder and thumb on chin ideas as well.

I hope you find something that works for you.

Allison said...

Oh, I love these comments! I'm totally going to use the "mom/milk" sign combo from now on. I've been using the milk sign for 4 months with my little guy but he still hasn't caught on yet(he's almost one).

Also, this is kinda related, but I've also used the phrase "mommy milk" for nursing, though sometimes I do ask "Do you want to nuse?" But usually I just say "Want some mommy milk?" And I think he picks up on it, because even though he knows and says and identifies "Dada" the only time he has EVER said "mama" is when he wants to nurse. So I think right now, to him, "mama" = "milk"! But that's okay...for now... :)

jjrm, where did you find the signs for please and thank you? I only have one small board book with "food" words.

Anyone have good FREE signing resources? Thanks!

Miriam said...

My boy did the milking-cow sign because it was easiest, though when he did it it looked more like waving bye-bye or twinkle twinkle anyway.

I like the idea of shoulder-touching, but some of these are getting kind of complicated. Could you just have her touch her mouth? Or make a fist without the pump-action?

If you google around you'll find some amazing ASL (American Sign Language) sites with little videos of each word being signed.

Oh, another friend had her kid rub their tummy and when talking he said he was thirsty or hungry- thereby not mentioning anything boob-related. "Eat" is a simple word and sign to use, too.

Congrats on the cutie-pie! She's adorable.

heddasurfs said...

There is a ASL sign for breastfeeding or nursing. It is on this website, look under the N for Nursing-baby! Good luck!

anuhea said...

My daughter started tapping her chest to "sign", I think because I tap my chest to chest to check which one is fullest