Techniques To Teaching “MILK”

MILK is a sign that is easily done before, during and after having given it to your baby. First start off by asking your baby if they would like some MILK while modeling the sign. Do this just a short time before giving your baby a bottle or breast. If using a bottle, make sure it’s ready to go so the sign can be immediately reinforced. While your baby is drinking, be sure to repeat the sign a few times by putting it into a sentence. You might say “Baby is drinking MILK”, “Is the MILK good?” While making the sign be sure that your baby can see you do the sign from their perspective. If you have a spouse handy, they can also model the sign as your baby feeds. This can be especially handy if you are breastfeeding.

Above: Baby signing MILK in different contexts.

Always make sure you use the sign for MILK each time your baby drinks milk to build the association. After a few days signing MILK, try a test. Leave the bottle of milk to one side of the table, or on countertop opposite you, or best yet, put it on the floor with a few other things. After waiting a moment, do the sign for MILK and ask your baby if they want milk at the same time. Does your baby look to the bottle? If your baby does, it means that he is starting to get the idea.


Above: The hand is held vertically and squeezed several times as if milking a cow in the ASL sign for MILK.

Teaching the sign for MILK is not complicated, just continue with the above sequence and sign it each time it’s offered or provided. It’s such a simple sign to do mechanically that eventually your baby is going to figure it out.

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