Why do babies put everything in their mouths?

Babies are known for putting things in their mouths. Even before birth, babies have been seen sucking on their thumbs and once born they continue to develop “oral gratification”. Babies love to suck and mouth for pleasure. As newborns, they can soothe themselves by sucking on a pacifier, breast, bottle, or even thumb and, as they continue to grow and develop, they purposely grab objects and put them in their mouths as means of exploration.

Why do babies put everything in their mouths?

  • Babies use all their senses to explore their world including the sense of taste
  • It allows them to calm and self-soothe
  • Mouthing allows them to develop coordination in their mouth, jaw, cheeks, tongue and lips
  • It allows the mouth to become accustomed to different textures and sensations, which is great for transitioning from breast/bottle to solids
  • It provides comfort when they are teething (note: the mouthing period does not necessarily mean your child is teething)

Is my baby at risk for choking? Continue reading

Owning a pet can protect your baby from obesity and allergies

Whether it’s play or companionship, pets bring their owners’ plenty of joy. But did you know that the benefits go beyond cuddling and fun? A new study showed that having pets in the household can protect babies from allergies and obesity!

At first, it may seem counteractive as most parents want to keep their children away from furry pets such as dogs and cats due to allergies and sneezing. However, a research conducted by the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics found the opposite to be true.

Contact with dogs early on, especially around the time of birth, can help the child’s immune development and reduce the likelihood of certain allergic diseases. In addition, a recent study by the University of Alberta showed that babies from families with pets – 70% of which were dogs — showed higher levels of two types of microbes (Ruminococcus and Oscillospira) associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity.

As a matter of fact, the beneficial exposure can even be transferred to babies who are still in the womb. Yes, you read correctly – moms can reap the benefits while being pregnant! The presence of a pet in the household during the mom’s pregnancy can grant microbial advantages to the unborn baby’s gut microbiome.

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Why are baby boys more vulnerable when facing stress?

As we now know, babies’ brains are highly vulnerable especially during the first months of life.

Opposite as we once thought, every move we make as parents has an impact either positive or negative on our children. For so long we have misunderstood how babies develop, and that explains why we have treated baby boys differently. Cultures and religions have influenced too on how we educate our children. We have developed ideas on how tough we should be with our children and we have been tougher with baby boys, since we believe that if we are too caring or responsive we may spoil our boys. However, the truth is that all babies need responsive care and affection to grow physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.

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To raise a creative child, let them be!

It’s every parent’s dream. Their child learns to read at age 2, play Beethoven at age 4, learn calculus by age 6 and speaks two languages fluently by age 8. Every parent and classmate envies this “gifted” child.

However, child prodigies rarely become geniuses who revolutionize the world. We assume it’s because they lack competent social or emotional skills to excel, however, the evidence suggests otherwise. In fact, less than a quarter of these so “gifted” children suffer from any of this. The vast majority of them have perfectly normal social and emotional skills.

So, what is holding them back? They don’t learn to be original.

Many of these kids are constantly seeking their parent’s approval or their teacher’s admiration. They grow and perform their music in the most prestigious concerts but then something unexpected happens. Practice makes perfect but it doesn’t make new.

The gifted learn to play Mozart and Bach melodies but they rarely compose their own music. Their energy is solely focused on consuming existing knowledge that they forget about producing new insights. Research suggests that the most creative children are the least likely to become the star student at school and thus they tend to keep original ideas to themselves. Continue reading