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First Words: Better Baby Babble

By Summer Hunt

First Words: Better Baby Babble

You teach your babies lots of things, including her first words. But moms don’t speak as clearly to their little ones as they do to adults.

This is no surprise, but what researchers supported by the European Research Council have discovered is that in fact perhaps infants are even better than adults at parsing particular sounds even when they’re not as distinct as the real words. Perhaps it’s because you’re effusive with your emotions as you chatter away with baby, they say.

What’s not clear to researchers is whether moms should speak more clearly to enhance learning. Reading aloud is great way to introduce new words and emotions while practicing effective enunciation. Start early and encourage a love of language and communication—and take a breaky-wakey every now-and-then-y from the baby babble, okey dokey?

From Milk to Cookies

Breast milk isn’t just liquid nutrition—it also helps to create a healthy intestinal environment for the transition to solid foods. A new study at the University of North Carolina found that breastfed babies have more of the bacteria that are beneficial for digestion; authors also suggested that non-exclusively breastfed babies could potentially suffer more stomach aches and colic.

“This study provides yet more support for recommendations by the World Health Organization to breastfeed exclusively during the first 6 months of life,” said Amanda Thompson, PhD, the study’s first author. “Including formula in an infant’s diet does change the gut bacteria even if you are also breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding seems to really smooth out the transition to solid foods.”

Build Strong Bonds to Suppress Shyness

Babies with a close bond to their parents may be less likely to develop anxiety as teens, including shyness, say researchers from Canada’s University of Waterloo. Watching children in a variety of situations beginning from 4 months, again as toddlers, and finally at 14 to 17 years old, researchers aid children stressed in unfamiliar environments early on were more likely to be socially anxious teenagers, especially boys. Start that strong bond with baby early: Begin breastfeeding at birth, hold baby skin-to-skin frequently, and lavish your little one with warm, physical contact as he grows up.


Further Reading: Deciphering Baby Talk: What is Your Baby Saying?

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