When I was in N.H. to visit my grandfather at the hospital last fall, I met a nurse with her six-month old baby. This little girl usually goes to daycare while her mom works. Her mom told me an amazing thing about this daycare her daughter attended. They teach the little girl sign language! I found this kind of unbelievable at first. She was only six months old, after all, but she could sign several different words. She signs "milk", "eat", and "mom".  It was amazing to see this little baby communicate with her hands! She didn't even know how to say any words yet, but she understood that when she signed "milk", she would get what she wanted.

So, Chris and I have decided to give this a shot with Zoe. Apparently, five months is a good time to start. I'm not going to lie, I feel incredibly ridiculous doing it. Zoe just stares at me when I make the sign for "eat" like I am completely crazy.
Here is what we do during meals:
1) we make the sign for eat (by putting our fingers to our mouth like we are chomping on a cracker), and then use her own hands to make the sign, and then give her a spoonful of banana puree, then make the eat sign again and act REALLY happy.

I think so far she is more confused by how complicated eating, drinking, etc. have become. Chris and I both look at each other like: "this is going to take a LOOOONG time." The hardest part is, we are just going off of what we have seen on youtube videos.

 For example, since I am not trained in doing this, we aren't entirely sure which signs to introduce first or to just go for 4-5 all at one time. The "milk" sign has also been super frustrating because Zoe flips out before I can get her attention and have her concentrate on the sign!
I think our best bet right now is "eat." We have just started her on baby food anyways, so maybe all of this "newness" will start to sink in with the new signs. 
If you want to see the most amazing lengths that signing can take you, check out this video. This video actually convinced me, because it's not just about your baby "doing something cool". You can see how it's a valuable tool to understand what your baby wants and needs before she gets frustrated and starts screaming. I love that this little girl can say "cheese!"

This video is linked back to the following site. The lady in the video teaches classes to parents on how to start baby sign language. Very cool.