5 Baby Sign Language Basics To Get Started

Baby sign language has been gaining momentum in the past few years. But, it’s still somewhat a gray area. Getting started with baby sign language basics is not difficult.

Some parents fully support the concept. This lot of individuals claim that it helps to reduce the frustration that arises when they can’t understand what their babies want and vice versa. But, there are those who are against it. In their opinion, teaching a baby sign language derails their ability to speak and learn the language. 

In the following post, we’ll highlight the hard truths surrounding this subject and explain a few baby sign language basics for those planning to train their kids on the same.

Baby Sign Language – Is It a Good Idea?

Here’s what we know so far:

Based on these research studies, it makes sense to teach your toddler sign language. But how does this work? 

How to Get Started with Baby Sign Language: Starter Signs

You can start training your baby sign language as early as you prefer. Some parents even start when their babies are just 5 months old. But according to the AAP, many parents succeeded in teaching baby signs by starting training at 6 to 7 months.

Your First Five Baby Sign Language Basics

1. Sleep

Doing this sign requires you to put your hands together, tilt your head, then support it with your hands. 

2. Hungry

To perform this sign, place your dominant hand in the air, and form a “C” shape with it. First, bring your C-shaped hand around your neck, then gently lower it down towards your stomach. It’s almost like you’re illustrating the way food travels down through your gut, ending up at the stomach. 

3. Milk

With this sign, all you need to do is squeeze your fingers in and out. This is similar to what you’d do if you were squeezing a cow’s udder. 

4. More

This sign requires you to pinch your thumbs and fingers together on both hands. You should be able to form two “O” shapes by doing this. Next, tap your fingertips together a couple of times.

5. Water

To sign this word, extend the three middle fingers so that they’re pointing towards the ceiling. Next, tuck in your thumb and pinkie, then use your index finger to tap on your chin.

To see most of these baby signs in action play this video:

Baby Sign Language Basics: Useful Hacks

Baby sign language is, to a great extent, beneficial for both the parent and child. But for this training to be a success, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:

Don’t waiver

If you want your child to learn signs, and learn them the right way, then you have to keep up with the signing routine.

Let’s say you’d like them to learn the “milk” sign. You’ll need to sign each and every time you mention this word. More importantly, ensure you’re signing correctly whenever you mention that word.

Invest your time

On the surface, teaching baby sign language may seem like a walk in the park. But it’s a taxing process that requires a significant investment of time. 

The good news is, it’s equally rewarding. Think of it this way, you won’t have to put up with your child’s non-stop crying and whining every time they want to sleep or feed. 

A Baby Signing Kit

Baby signage has already become popular, which means you have a ton of training resources at your disposal. Here are a few things that can make the training easier:

  • DVDs- consider teaching signs to your child while they’re being entertained by music
  • Flashcards- these are great for noting down all the words your baby has/ is yet to learn
  • Signing dictionary – a baby signing dictionary is great as it helps you learn the correct way of signing every word
  • Wall chart – this resource is more of a benefit to third parties, such as your baby’s grandparents, babysitter and caregivers


Gesturing is an integral part of communication. It’s particularly important for kids under the age of 18 months. 

It can help babies communicate their desires and emotions to their parents/guardians instead of resorting to incessant crying. 

Now, if you’ve decided to train your toddler about these gestures, get acquainted with baby sign language basics. This entails learning the most common signs and following a few rules such as being consistent.

If you need some more help, there is a baby signing bible which has a whole lot more signs.