We tried it with our first daughter more as an experiment than from any real dedication. Baby sign language is different from the adult versions (which are real, fully developed language systems like American Sign Language).
Some moms swear by baby sign language, arguing that it helps cut down on the frustration a toddler feels when learning to talk because it gives them another way to communicate. Other moms say its unnecessary or worse inhibits the acquisition of verbal speech. (Note: There is no research to support the assertion that it inhibits speech acquisition and the American Academy of Pediatrics supports teaching babies sign language.)
We never went beyond a few words with our first daughter, as she never seemed interested in learning it. Once she entered daycare, she enthusiastically picked up language and so the issue was moot. For our second child, I taught her one hand signal that she still uses sometimes but she acquired language early (thanks to the exposure from her older sister) and so we never had a need to go further with baby sign language.
If you are interested, here are some basic tips:
1. You can start teaching signs at around 6 months old but most babies won't be able to repeat the signs until at least 8 months. So don't get discouraged if they don't respond or learn the signs right away.
2. Think from your baby's perspective, what are the words baby needs to know first? Go for simple words like mother, milk, more, hungry, dad, and the like. I taught my daughter a hand sign for 'finished' and she used it often from around 1 year to 1.5 years and then dropped it when she could say the word.
3. Involve siblings, dad and other caregivers so they will know what your baby is trying to communicate when he/she does start to use the signs.
4. Continue talking to your child even if you are using signs. You want to encourage the development of speech regardless.
5. Don't be scared to create your own simple signs if that works better for your family. The key is to keep it simple and fun.
Also there are several websites that offer Baby Sign Language instructions and videos. We liked Baby Sign Language, which offers an intro, videos and basics including printable flashcards for free.
What do you think? Have any other moms in Kuwait taught their babies/toddlers baby sign language? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it to other moms?