Your Baby is Speaking to You

Your Baby is Speaking to You

Your Baby Is Speaking to You: A visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby
by Kevin Nugent with photos by Abelardo Morell, Published by
Houghton Mifflin, 2011

From an international expert on infant-parent communication, Your Baby Is Speaking To You is destined to become a parenting classic. Through intimate access to babies and their families, Dr. Kevin Nugent and acclaimed photographer Abelardo Morell capture the amazingly precocious communications strategies babies demonstrate from the moment they are born. (From the publisher’s blurb).

“No other book so beautifully captures and decodes the way babies ‘speak’ to us. A new parent classic”  T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

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YouBaby Is Speaking to You illustrates the full range of behaviors—early smiling to startling, feeding to sleeping, listening to your voice and recognizing your  face. The newest research—including information on subtle and fleeting behaviors not seen or explained in any other book—illuminates the meaning of the things babies do that concern and delight new parents – the language of yawning – the rich range of cries, and how to understand their meanings – baby’s earliest “sleep smiles” and sleep states, and what they signify

Your Baby Is Speaking To You delivers the information parents crave in gentle, accessible style while giving parents the confidence they need to respond to their own baby’s way of communicating during the very first astonishing days and the months beyond.

Marshall Klaus, MD and Phyllis Klaus, MFT, Co- authors: Your Amazing Newborn, Bonding and the Doula Book write:

“This is a wonderful book.  With his vast experience working with mothers and their babies, Dr. Kevin Nugent has captured with exquisite sensitivity the myriad of behaviors of the human infant. With the beautiful pictures of Abelardo Morell and the detailed explanation and poetic descriptions of Dr. Nugent, the world of the baby makes sense and becomes delightfully available for parents to discover”. 

Arts Book Review: Your Baby is Speaking to You from 

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Also available in Japan at

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Cosa dice il mio bebe

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Bebeginiz Sizinle Konusuyor

More Reviews

Library Journal Review

Bella bambino! In this gorgeous book on early infancy, physician Nugent and photographer Morell provide a stunning layout combined with rich, graceful text. From the different looks (and purposes) of light and deep sleep, to the “fencer response” (picture baby on back: en garde!), to the sleep smile, the authors beautifully capture these universal reactions and explain their role in infant communication and development. Parents of colicky babies can play, too: there are wonderful images and descriptions of “not very cuddly” and “not easily settled” babies, as well as distressed and startled infants. Each page features a large photograph with three to five paragraphs of text, which render the book easy to read and browse. This is, quite simply, a beautiful and elegant book, appropriate for anyone who has ever loved, or wants to love, a baby.

Julianne J. Smith, “Parenting ShortTakes,” BookSmack! –

“If you bring a book to the hospital with you when you give birth, this one would be perfect as it can be read in short little parts whenever you have a few minutes……..It’s a great book for parents to be, either new or seasoned, especially if its been a while”

SMS Book Reviews

“One can tell this book was created with love and deep patience. The best word I can think to associate with the experience of perusing is “gentle.”

Reviewed by Katherine Kuzma-Beck at Artworks Suite101 –

 “A baby book is not something that readers will typically associate with art books. However, the photography included in Your Baby Is Speaking to You is heart-warming and makes the book a great one to leaf through, even for those of us who do not have children and for those of us who are not usually captivated by other people’s off-spring”.

International Association of Infant Massage Review

“Forget the traditional books written by so-called parenting experts – Kevin Nugent, colleague of Berry T. Bazelton and Director of the Brazelton Institute is an international expert of a very different kind…… ” Read more at IAIM page.

Bookreads –

“Easy to read with short chapters and lots of lovely pictures to illustrate the text.  I think this would be a great book for those expecting their first born, a perfect gift for new parents.

Escape in a Book Blog review –   

 “First off, the pictures are gorgeous. You can absolutely see what emotions Dr Nugent and Mr Morell were trying to capture in every single shot. Dr Nugent’s text is also gentle and illuminating, and provides quite a bit of insight into the ways babies communicate”.

Review from Goodreads –

“Love this book. Beautiful pictures, beautifully written…babies do communicate with those around them and this book captures those precious moments is a very sweet way”.

Book of the Month – the Columbia Center (Reviewed by Columbia Center’s Ann Grauer)

“Every once in awhile I find a book that not only delights me but makes me want to give it to every pregnant and new family that I know. I met Dr. Nugent almost 10 years ago and fell in love with his approach to helping new parents understand who their babies are.  Want to know about newborns? Open any page. Look at the gorgeous photographs and the description of what baby is saying. It’s a perfect book for parents-to-be, grandparents and caregivers.  May you sigh in joy.”

Review from Goodreads –

This book is incredible and a must for first time parents. Your Baby is Speaking to You is a visual guide to the amazing behaviors of your newborn and growing baby. This book has helped me in countless ways. As us mamas know you eventually learn to distinguish babies cries from pain, hunger, boredom etc…but this book helps offer up cues to babies wants long before a cry is reached. Is your baby overstimulated, focused intently on learning, enjoying your gaze and interaction or finding it all just too much? By watching the movements, eyes and even the corners of our babies mouths we can more easily enjoy, troubleshoot and provide the best environment possible for our littles”.

From –

“a brand spankin’ new release that is going to be added to my default baby gift list. It’s a great addition to the library of new parents. It’s tenderly written, easy to read and the photography is stunning.

Each two-page spread has a full-page photo of an infant smiling, sleeping, crying, holding a finger or gazing into space, with an eloquent and non-judgemental explanation of what the child is communicating to you non-verbally. As a new parent, it provides invaluable knowledge and just may keep you off the phone with your pediatrician or health-link nine times out of ten”.

From –

“I loved the fact that this book was an easy read. The chapters were nice and brief. I love the fact that Dr. Nugent did not use jargon-filled text that was dry. As I read this book, I imagined my son throughout! As I read the chapter on crawling, I watched as my own son was learning to crawl! I have read many baby books, but I still learned some new facts from Dr. Nugent’s book. For example, I couldn’t understand why my son fusses when my daughter is trying to play with him on the floor. I realized after reading this book that he’s fussing because he’s overstimulated. My daughter tends to place numerous toys in front of him and he must be fussing because he doesn’t like it. Since I read this, I have been quick to intervene and remind my daughter about this. I then give him one toy and remove the others”.

Reviewed by –

“It’s hard to explain exactly what this book is. In the intro, the author says, “Parents and other caregivers lament…that babies do not come with an owner’s manual.” In large part, that is really what Nugent has created here. It’s a simple “technical manual” that tells you, and also, with breathtakingly gorgeous photography, SHOWS you what to expect from a newborn.  He hits all the major reflexes and explains what they are and why they occur (stepping, fencing, crawling rooting, etc.). He shows phases of sleep, basics of activity — overstimulation, gazing, reaching and more. He deals with variation in babies — this is not a “one book fits all babies” manual.

The “parenting advice” woven into the text is outstanding. As a student of Berry Brazelton who is now the current director of the Brazelton Institute, and an unqualified expert on newborn behavior and infant development, Dr. Nugent provides such a lovely guide to approaching infant behavior (and how NOT to interpret it, which is just as important). This is not some corny “baby language translation” book — but a subtle examination of what babies do and why”.

Review by Erin Sheehan

“We’ve all wished, at one time or another, for that ever elusive infant manual; the one that clearly and successfully decodes your infants every cry, every expression, and every need. While such an oracle does not exist, Your Baby Is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby begins to unlock the mysteries of babies’ behavior”.

From Baby Know How, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School

When I first laid eyes on the beautiful book “Your Baby Is Speaking To You: A Visual Guide To The Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby” by Dr. Kevin Nugent, I knew I would be reviewing it. I also knew exactly who I would be passing it on to……. I appreciated a disclaimer offered in the introduction: “This book does not set out to offer advice on how to care for your baby. There are many wise books for parents, and indeed, many wise people in your community to whom you can turn for advice.” This is not a parenting manual. It’s different, and it’s more. As I flipped through, reading passages here and there, it made me wish that this resource had been available to me when my girls were first born.   ”This is a must read”.

From Behind Spirit’s March Issue by Jay Heinrichs

The Big Theme this month is how the brain works (and, in my case, how it often doesn’t). Like most magazine staffs, we love to argue about what should go on the cover. Our choices narrowed to two approaches: a pixilated photo of Albert Einstein, and a baby. We chose the baby.

The Einstein picture is cool because it’s part of a gallery of barely recognizable historical figures and celebrities. Our brains are able to recognize complex objects like faces with very little data. The eyes see stuff, and the brain fills in any gaps. Still, the baby won out because—well, because it’s a baby, but also because babies are much smarter than we give them credit for. Veteran writer Nat Reade spent some quality time with Kevin Nugent, a pioneer in baby-speak. He helps parents interpret what their newborns are trying to say. Which, it turns out, is a lot.

Click on Baby Gaga by Nathaniel Reade, Spirit Magazine, March, 2011 for full Spirit article.

For on-line reviews click here:–book-review-a339902!/urbanbabyreads–book-review-a339902

6 Responses to Your Baby is Speaking to You

  1. Liz Hamilton says:

    This is a wonderful book but I can’t find a Spanish language version for sale. I have seen an Italian and a Turkish version. The new mothers in our parenting group who can read English love reading through the book again and again. Please, please publish this in Spanish!

  2. Dear Liz,

    I am afraid there is no Spanish translation – at least not yet! Thanks for your kind comment.

  3. Dear Liz,
    Thank you for your very kind remarks about the book. Yes, I, too, was surprised they did not make a Spanish edition.

  4. Izabela says:

    Hi. I just wondering is there any Polish translation of this book?

  5. Pingback: Why a baby’s mental health really matters – The Good Childhood Blog

  6. Hi Kevin, your work is incredible. I’m in Australia and want to ask you for permission to use Your Baby is Speaking To You in my cue-based infant communication classes, which teach parents how to recognise their infants earliest communication. I’d love to hear from you.

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