Hello I am Heather and I teach baby signing in the UK, I am lucky as I teach TinyTalk and our founder Katie Mayne was a teacher of the Deaf but also a primary school teacher as well. Every week we teach some core signs and have a structured lesson plan that has been all done for us covering important vocabulary for a baby's life.
Communication is vital for you to bond with your baby and also as your baby grows into a toddler, starting from as early as you can is great also, perhaps you might not be ready to leave the house quite so early but having some very basic core signs to sign with your baby will really help in those first few months of life such as 'milk' 'mummy' daddy' 'more' nappy' 'bath time' 'bed time' etc etc. Our baby signing classes cover all of this and more such as the foods we eat, bed time routine, clothes we wear, all about the weather and going to the park and animals etc.
It is never to early to sign like I have already said and also never to early to communicate with your baby, sometimes non verbal communication is nice such as the feeling of love and having wants and needs met but also it is really good to talk to your baby as well and when we sign we talk at the same time.
We sing lots of nursery rhymes and action songs within our sessions that are focused around the signs we teach that week so the starter sign week will probably have 12345 once I caught a fish alive, then at the end we will sign pain as the fish bit the finger and we give the baby a kiss. Family sign week is a good one as we have mummy duck etc and so on .
This day and age we are all so busy with our lives, take some time out for your children, use the signs you know within your everyday life, put some time aside to read a story with your little one and again you can use the signs you know, if you do not know the signs of the words you can use the signs for the pictures that are in the book.
Communication is such a lovely gift to give to your little one and if you are a hearing parent of a Deaf child baby signing is just the start for your journey, I do not know what the grammar is like for ASL but in BSL it is very different to English as a spoken language but using signs from BSL that are important to a baby's wants and needs are a great way to start communicating with your baby and you can continue to learn the wonderful language together and communicate with your little one. You will then need to go on to learn more in the future.
if you have a hearing baby signing is a great way to communicate before your child can talk, signing and talking at the same time will encourage signing and also encourage speech, then when your child hits the 1 year mark they will attempt to both speak and sign and will more than likely say just the beginning sound and attemp to sign but we will have more chance of understanding what our chil is trying to say to us with both the signing and the sound.
When my son was very small he made the m m sound a lot which I was really pleased as I thought he wanted mummy, perhaps he did most of the time, one day though I said mummy is here so then is signed 'more' so I realised he wanted more. He first tried to vocalise what he wanted and I did not understand correctly so he then signed to me. This is common as a child may point or try and ask and some will only sign as a last resort or if you forgot to feed them or distressed if very young, as usually they are fed, warm, dry etc they do not need to sign they want food. Its when they get that little bit older that they will sign more for fun and for communication as their wants and needs multiply but they are just not able to pronounce the words correctly.
Do practice some signing my dears and have a great week.
I am a mother of 4, teach baby signing and also BSL level 2 qualified, love TKD and much more.