We talk to our babies. We talk to them all the time.
We don’t know how much they can hear, or how much they can understand, but still, we talk to them.
We talk to them gently, quietly.
We talk simply, we talk about the world around us - the blue sky, the storm coming in the distance, the wind, the hot, sticky heat.
We talk to them with respect, person to person.
We ask permission, and wait to see if there is a response. If there is a response, it is a subtle response like muscles relaxing, or breathing slowing, or eyes stilling.
We talk to them honestly.
We talk to them about what’s about to happen.
We tell them we are going to turn them, or move them, and that we hope it doesn’t hurt. We tell them that their nappy needs changing and that we will change it carefully.
We tell them if we don’t know what is causing them such upset and discomfort, but that we are trying hard to work it out so we can fix the problem.
We talk to them about what is happening to their bodies, when new symptoms are developing, or old symptoms are worsening.
We talk to them about what it might be like at the very end of their life. That it might be harder to breathe, that they might feel very, very tired but that it is okay to go when they are ready.
We talk to our babies all the time, whether or not they know what we’re saying. We talk to our babies because we feel like we can give them dignity and respect, which could be so easily overlooked for such vulnerable, medically complicated children.