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First Baby Signs: The "Cuddle" Sign

"A hug is always the right size".

Winnie the Pooh

The sign for "cuddle" is one of the very first signs you need to practise with your baby, as it meets your baby's need for safety, comfort and reassurance. Whether the problem is teething, being tired or overwhelmed, having a nightmare or a tricky bump, a cuddle is always the answer.

And if you think about it, isn't it the same for us as adults? When we feel cared for and loved, we feel happy and excited for the future.

But why is cuddling so important?

Let's have a look at some of the benefits of cuddling.


... can ease both physical and emotional pain. When our little ones are hurt, they lift their arms to be picked up and comforted.

... helps with bonding. Holding your baby in your arms can help you develop a close emotional relationship. It is known that cuddling releases oxytocin, "the feel-good hormone", that promotes attachment and bonding.

... can encourage speech. When you hold your baby close to you, they can see you talking, observe your mouth moves and try to copy them.

... builds a happy brain. Affection relieves stress, by reducing the levels of cortisol, "the stress hormone". We know now that high cortisol levels are linked to depression and other mental problems.

How to sign "Cuddle"

To make the sign for "cuddle", cross your hands on your chest and rock your body slightly from side to side.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of how to sign "cuddle" to your baby. Don’t forget to say the word "cuddle" as you sign it - this reinforces your baby’s learning and helps them to associate the word with the sign.

When to sign "cuddle"

Your baby may ask for a cuddle in a noisy, busy place, when you are out and about and is starting to feel tired and overwhelmed. Also, when your little one is a bit under the weather, teething etc, a cuddle offers the reassurance they need. Keep in mind that some babies, especially the younger ones, when they need a cuddle, lift their arms instead of signing.

Watch lovely Ariadne below signing "cuddle". Ariadne is a bilingual baby and uses the signs alongside Greek with mummy.

Did you know?

If you use more than one language at home, baby signing serves as a bridge between these languages. Because signing is visual, it helps your baby to see the connection between the two or more different pronounced words. Also, you can transfer the signs in any language.

Tips for Starting Baby Signing with your Baby

  • Always say the word as you sign it so your baby can make the connection between the word and the sign.

  • Sign in your baby's sightline - keep the sign close to your face.

  • Repeat! Babies learn best through repetition.

Baby Signing Basics Digital Course is here!

Who is this for?

This is for families who want to learn the basics of baby signing at their own pace. Suitable for babies approximately 5 - 18 months old.

What's included?

  • 6 baby signing topics that will help you communicate with your baby easily and in a fun and enjoyable way. Very First Signs - Family Signs - Getting Ready Signs - Health Signs - Wellbeing Signs - Weaning Signs

  • 48 BSL sign videos that you will find handy and will help you revise quickly.

  • 6 pre-recorded classes to watch with your baby.

  • 1 live Q&A session to discuss your questions and needs.

  • Unlimited support via email.

  • 3 months of access to all the online content.

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