Look at your baby when you are getting him dressed, feeding him or bathing him. Then make a connection between what you are doing and the words that describe it by saying, for example, "Let's go into the bathtub," as you are putting him into the tub. Or say, "Now I'm going to change your diaper," as you do so.


Don't worry about correcting your baby's pronunciation, grammar, or choice of words. He might use the word "baba" to refer to "blankie". Or he may also begin to babble in a way that just resembles real speech, but is not the exact word. All you need to do is use the correct word to refer to these things...and soon he will, too!


At about 6 months of age, most babies can understand simple names and ordinary words, such as Mommy, Daddy, dog, and cat, for example, through hearing you say them. 

Brain Science for Your Baby

Research shows that social interaction and exposure to infant-directed language is really important to building the connections between neurons in the brain - even before infants speak their first words!  When babies are - well, babies....they prefer "baby talk" or motherese.  Baby talk has a higher-than-normal and more varied pitch, a slower rate of speaking, simpler vocabulary and lots of repetition.  This helps babies begin to figure out conversation long before they have words to use.  "Baby talk" doesn't mean skipping appropriate grammar (using "telegraphic speech").  Marc Fey, PhD. At the University of Kanas says that saying things like "where coat?" instead of "where's your coat?" can make it harder for children to learn grammar and the meaning of words.  So - when you use baby talk, make sure you use short, simple phrases or sentences with proper grammar.


A fun video on language development

More on how babies learn to talk

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Your baby looks at your mouth for a reason!


Your 6-month-old looks straight at your mouth when you talk because he is learning to imitate you. In another 3 or 4 months your baby will start uttering those words back at you. The babbling sounds that your 8- to 10-month-old baby makes and the "words" that 9-month-old babies make are all imitating the language that he hears.


Make different sounds to interest your child.

This can be the sound of your voice or things like a rattle or squeaky toy.


Read books together! Although your baby is not "reading" yet, she will love the stories you read, or the pictures you point out and describe. 


Copy your baby when he is babbling. This is a good way to take turns talking with your baby and encouraging him to make even more sounds back to you.  By babbling, babies practice the rhythm, sounds, and flow of language.  

A Baby Buffer Prescription for You        


Use actions with words. Wave as you say 'bye-bye', or pick up your baby's cup as you say 'drink'. This will help your child use words to describe what he sees and does. Have fun as you realize that all of these simple naming games are not only play-time for your baby, but can lessen your stress and keep your baby (and you!) happily occupied in a healthy way!


Sing action songs and play games like 'peek-a-boo' to encourage communication and attention skills. Make this fun activity a way to lessen the stresses that come from the day-to-day responsibilities of taking care of your growing baby.


Read, read, read! Reading simple picture books with your baby is a wonderful way to snuggle up close to him, help him develop language, and relax! 




What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby is changing quickly during this period. Know what to look for to make sure your baby is growing and changing in a healthy way.  Click on the links below for information from the CDC on what your baby can do now.  

Gene's Research Tip of the Week
A study from the New York University School of Medicine looked at women and the habit of watching TV while eating during the third trimester and then again when the babies were 3 months old.


They found that 70% watched TV while eating during pregnancy and that 30% of infants were fed in front of the TV.  Those mommies under 25 years were more likely to feed the babes in front of the boob tube, and bottle fed babies were also more likely to experience media.  So, is this bad? Well, numerous studies show that when our attention isn't on eating, we have a tendency to eat more.  One theory of this is that we aren't paying close attention to the signals the body is giving, so we just keep "shoveling it in!"


And the concern can be, that we get in the habit of "shoveling it in" to our babies, as well, especially, if we are thinking of something else, like that TV show, or that new text message...rather than really watching TSK (that special kid)! Read More

Baby Buffer Blog

Written by Katrina Ostmeyer-Kountzman, PhD, BCBA  


It happens almost every day.  I walk in the door with my 2 year old son after a long day at work, and he turns around and says, "Mommy, pay with me."  This is usually followed by a large arm gesture, and a "come on" to get me to come to the toy he has wanted to play with all day.  When this happens, many thoughts go through my head.  I think about how cute and special he is, but I also think about everything I need to do.  There's unfinished housework, paperwork I brought home, dinner that needs to be cooked, and sleep that I desperately want. 


Usually, one look at that sweet little face helps me forget about some of those things.  Other times, it's knowing how important it is for my son (an only child) to be able to play with me. Read More

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