Your Words Count

Talk to your baby! Look at her when you are talking to her and let her see your face. Keep up a running conversation whenever you change her diaper, feed her, and take her with you on errands or out for a walk in the stroller or baby carrier. Even though you won't get any answers in words, your baby is learning how to speak listening from listening to your voice.


Singing songs like "The Wheels on the Bus" or "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is another way to help your baby learn the patterns of language. Rhyming songs help your baby hear small differences in sounds, a skill she will need when she learns to read.

Brain Science for Your Baby

It is true that your baby isn't going to really understand everything that you are talking about!  But it appears that a directing conversation to your baby helps to train her brain to understand meaning of language faster than just hearing lists of words.  Erika Hoff, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University tells parents that "...children can hear lots of talk that goes over their heads in terms of meaning, and they still get benefit from it."  Anne Fernald, PhD studies language at Stanford University.  She found that it isn't just the quantity of speech a baby hears - it's the quality too.  So describe what you see and explain what you are doing to your baby.  The TV won't work.  Research has shown that hearing language on the TV does not help children learn language.  They need to hear language directed at them from you. 


Before birth, babies inside the womb hear their mother's voice and become familiar with it.  So - it's never too early!  A recent study (Vohr, 2014) looked at babies born two months before they were supposed to be born. Premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) often don't hear much language.  Dr. Vohr and her colleagues found that premature babies whose parents talked more to them (or sang to them) in the NICU had talked more at 18 months.  So start talking to your baby as soon as you hold her for the first time!   Pretty soon, she'll be talking back.

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Crying is your baby's first "words" of communicating with others. Your baby cries because she wants to be held, fed, or changed. A quick response to her cries at this age reassures your baby that


Talk to your baby, just as you would talk to an adult. Tell her about your plans for the day, show her what you are seeing in the room or out the window, and ask her questions.


Play games and read simple picture books to teach your baby new words. Babies love to connect with you through games and cuddling, and you can teach your baby new words through doing both.  Make up a game about body parts, asking your baby, "Where is Amy's nose?"; "Where is Mommy's nose?"; "Where is Amy's tummy?" and "Where is your foot?" Also, don't forget to read aloud picture books that use simple words while she is on your lap.


When your baby plays with toys, talk to her about what she is doing. You are teaching your baby new words by saying, for example, "That's a big truck!" and "That cat is sleeping!" Asking your baby questions such as, "Where's the green truck?" while he plays will help him to practice using new words and ideas.

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


What you say, your baby will say. The "aahs" and "oohs" that your baby says are actually imitating the language she hears from you.  So don't be surprised if these simple sounds that your 2-week to 5-month-old baby says sound like the sounds you make!


Your newborn baby is looking at your eyes as you talk for a good reason. You connect what you hear people say to what their faces express...and so does your little one! So make sure you look at your baby when you talk, as often as you can, to help make that connection.


Have fun making sounds with your baby...and watch her do the same! Watch her blow bubbles with her mouth, for example-another way she learns while she is playing! 





What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby will love being held and touched by you from the very beginning, this is the beginning of your relationship with your baby. Click on the links below to find out what your baby should be able to do:

Gene's Research Tip!
Does your child have a "magnetic personality?  Well, what we definitely don't want is a magnetic gut from sizzling magnets or Neodymium super magnets. They sound like fun... unless they get swallowed.  These come as small enough pieces that if swallowed, may go through the intestines at different speeds.  Being magnets, they may attach to each other with the intestinal wall in between. Read More
Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Denise Dowd, MD, Emergency and Urgent Care Physician at Children's Mercy Hospital, serves as an advisor for Charlie's House, a non-profit dedicated to preventing childhood injuries in and around the home.

As the weather starts to warm up and we all look forward to more time outside and afternoons by the pool, it is important to keep water safety in mind.  Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for young children (ages 1 - 4); most of those deaths occur in swimming pools.  These tragic deaths are preventable through proper environmental safety-proofing and supervision. Drowning happens so quickly and small children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so take the time now to develop a safety plan. 


If you have a swimming pool, proper fencing is the most important prevention action to take. Fencing should be at least 4 feet high and should isolate the pool from the yard and house and be self-latching. Small plastic or inflatable pools are fun for the family and great for kids' development, but when you are done playing, the pool should always be tipped over and stored upside down and out of the reach of children. 


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