Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Our experiment with solid food was a total bust. We brought the high chair down from the attic, got out the video camera, mixed up some warm rice cereal, and sat Jack in the chair as our entire family stood by expectantly, excited to witness his ceremonial first meal. Will manned the video camera while Julia stood by with a spoon and Charlie ran around in excited circles.
Something has got to give. I’ve been up with Jack approximately 27,000 times in the past few nights. I’ve seen every single hour flashing on the clock for too many nights straight. It’s been like having a newborn all over again: Jack wakes up every hour or so… I nurse him…he falls back asleep…we do it all over again…and again…for the rest of the night. He finally settles down a bit around 6 or 7 a.m., just in time for Charlie to wake up.
Though you may expect your baby to start talking at about a year, communication starts much earlier, with the first social smile at around 6 weeks. Then comes cooing, that soft sound that’s music to new parents’ ears, usually between 2 and 4 months of age. Next is babbling. “This starts between 4 and 8 months with the easier consonant sounds combined with vowels, such as ‘buh-buh-buh’ or ‘dee-dee-dee,’ ” says Julie Masterson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Missouri State University in Springfield.
I think everybody should take probiotics. These microbial supplements boost the “good” bacteria in our intestinal tracts, improving our gastrointestinal health and enhancing our overall immunity. Current thinking is that even babies can benefit from them; ask your
doctor what she recommends.
Because the influenza virus can be dangerous, the American Academy of Pediatrics and virtually all other official medical groups recommend the flu shot every fall or winter for children 6 months of age and older. I almost never recommend getting the shot; I just don’t think it’s that effective. (Each year, the vaccine is formulated for the particular strains of influenza virus health experts think will strike that season, and it often misses the mark.) Instead, I believe the more important approach is to keep people from getting sick in the first place by staying healthy.
Although obesity rates among U.S. children have doubled in the past 20 years, most parents don’t think twice about a little baby fat. But new research says they should. A Harvard University study found that babies who weighed the most at 6 months old were 40 percent more likely to be overweight or obese at age 3 than those who weighed the least. Researchers believe that multiple factors, including the parents’ weight, genetics and a lack of activity, play a role in determining a child’s weight.
Feel silly talking to your newborn? You shouldn’t. “Exposure to intonational patterns, as well as the repetition of common words, helps infants learn to communicate,” says Mellisa Essenburg, M.S., C.C.C.-S.L.P., a speech pathologist in San Diego. Chatting with your baby won’t help her talk sooner, but it will support her ability to say words when she’s developmentally ready (around 1 year). It’s also a great way to bond with your baby from Day One. Convinced?
Here are some fun ways to help your child develop the gift of gab:
As exciting as new milestones can be, they also can present new challenges. “Around the age of 5 or 6 months, when your baby has mastered rolling over, she’ll want to explore and see what’s going on, not stay still,” says Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician in Austin, Texas, and co-author of 2007’s Baby 411. “This can make diapering a chore.” Try the following mom-tested strategies to keep a busy baby still—and you clean—while cleaning a messy bum.
1. Keep a favorite toy nearby.
For many men, breasts represent their young male desires and turn-ons. For women, too, breasts epitomize our sexuality and sensuality. However, as we approach motherhood, many of us begin to feel differently about our breasts. They now serve an evolving, biological purpose. So it’s no surprise that both men and women can have an ambivalent response to breastfeeding.
Most babies learn to walk at around 12 months of age, but depending on your child’s development and personality, those first unassisted steps can happen anywhere from 9 months to 15 months.
Laid-back tots may be on the latter end of the spectrum, while “search and destroy” types might be chomping at the bit much earlier; bigger babies may also lag a bit compared to leaner types.
Don’t wait. A good occupational therapy evaluation will give you a lot of information and can be fun for your son. As often as not, this type of visit is not only 100 percent reassuring, but you’ll also get tips for encouraging and recognizing normal growth and development. If there is a problem with your son’s motor skills, early diagnosis and therapy can make a huge difference.
At first, your newborn will likely fall asleep whenever and wherever he wants. “His governing factors are sleep and hunger, and they override everything else,” says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., author of Sleeping Through the Night (2005). You won’t get him on a nap schedule yet, but you should make sure he wakes for feedings every few hours during the day. When he’s 3 months old, you can start to get serious about snoozing.
Many parents view crawling as such a significant milestone that they experience great excitement when it happens—and great worry if it seems to be delayed.
But a small percentage of children never crawl at all and move right on to walking, and this is perfectly normal, according to Marilyn Bull, M.D., F.A.A.P., a professor of pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Research shows that skipping crawling has no effect on a child’s development; but if your baby hasn’t begun moving by 11 months and you’re concerned, talk to your pediatrician.