My Baby’s First Words

Babies learn to talk by imitation. We do not need to teach them word by word, all we have to do is talk constantly to them. By naming the objects and people they see they will begin to associate the word with the object or person. Then when they develop the adequate skills for speech they will begin to repeat those words to form their first words.

Generally speaking, a baby’s first word is “mama” or “papa/dada” but when this words are first spoken they are merely babbles don’t mean that they have learned to associate “dada” with dad or “mama” with mom. After babies learn to pronounce disyllables such as the examples above, you might hear them experiment with different sounds, and although none have true meaning just yet they are preparing to communicate verbally. Some babies as early as 9 months begin to form word-like sounds, but if your little one is not there yet be patient, most babies begin to speak words with meaning roughly around 11 to 16 months of age. It’s even considered normal for babies not to speak until 18 months of age. When babies begin to pronounce words with meaning, “mama” or “dada” will actually mean “mom” or “dad” – such a sweet sound to a parent’s ear! Continue reading

Creating a positive learning environment at home

 

Babies’ brains are like sponges – they are constantly absorbing, forming new ideas from stimuli in their environment. That’s how they learn. According to a recent study from NYU, there are a few things you can do to create a strong learning environment at home.

The study followed a group of children from birth through 5th grade, tracking the influence of early home learning environments on later cognitive skills. Researchers found that the learning environment at home plays a powerful role in shaping kids’ cognitive and linguistic abilities. They found that a strong learning environment has three main features: quality parent-child interactions, the availability of learning materials, and children’s participation in learning activities. Let’s break them down.

Quality interactions: Spend quality time with your little one every day. Sit and play on the floor, talk to him or her – engage! When you’re playing together, let him or her lead and then join in on whatever catches his or her attention. Point to objects he or she is watching and name them. Respond to your little one’s cues promptly – like identifying if he or she is hungry or in need of a diaper change. It’s important that your baby feels secure so that he or she is willing to explore his or her environment. Continue reading

Is your child overactive? You might want to read this!

Children are often told to sit still. This happens everywhere, and it’s necessary sometimes like at school, during mealtime, and at home and when they don’t, we often believe that they are misbehaving or that we as parents may be doing something wrong. When children become overstimulated, their high energy levels can often go through the roof. What can you do to help your little one calm down and focus?

  1. Let your child fidget
    • Your child can simply be bored and may feel the need to stand up and move around. A small amount of physical movement can help a child focus more. Loren Shlaes, a pediatric occupational therapist in New York City suggests allowing a child to hold a fidget toy such as a stress ball.
  2. Go outside
    • Moving around is a good way of helping your child pay attention so the more activity the better. Playing outside stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin – both neurotransmitters that are critical for attention, focus, impulse control and learning. Some children focus and listen so much better after taking a walk or just being around nature. Dr Swanson suggests children spend at least an hour a day outdoors. A recent study at Auburn University found a single 30-minute stint of exercise helped preschooler’s ability to pay attention in class, compared with being sedentary. Continue reading

Exactly how big a deal is drawing?

With the sudden boom on computers, tablets, and phones as convenient playtime devices, it seems we’ve lost a little touch of one of the most basic activities that can further develop your little one’s fine motor skills.

Between the age of 12 and 18 months, it’s possible your baby will want to write and draw anywhere he finds, be sure to encourage him to give it a try, directing his attention to an appropriate canvas! There is endless research that suggests drawing, doodling and scribbling play a larger role in child development than we first thought.

What are some of the benefits of drawing? 

  • Further develop your little one’s motor skills such as holding and hand-eye coordination, both of which will ultimately help him dominate writing and drawing on a higher level.
  • Get those creative juices flowing!
  • Even though they’re still young, children need outlets where they can express themselves, drawing is a perfect way to do so.
  • They can learn in a visual and easy way differences and similarities in shapes, colors, and sizes.
  • Understanding that when pen hits paper a mark is made, your little one gets to experience cause and effect first hand.
  • Drawing can serve as a great distraction and has been shown to improve mood.
  • Encouraging your child’s creativity has benefits in their ability to solve problems later on.
  • When kids feel good while creating something totally new it helps boost their self-confidence and later on, will feel the freedom to experiment and create new ways of thinking or doing something.

There are different ways to encourage your child’s creativity, independence and artistic skills. The following are just of a few of the infinite possibilities: Continue reading

Types of Growth Formulas: Choosing the right one

Feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s common to stumble upon a wide range of information and therefore have many questions ranging from what to feed your child to when, where and how. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. There are many studies that back this up, if you wish to learn more about it click here. After the first year, you can start introducing solid foods or even growth formulas. But what should you look for when choosing it?

  1. Type: There are 3 main types of growth formula, either cow milk protein-based formula, soy-based formula or protein hydrolysate formula. You should consult your pediatrician when considering the type of growth formula since he or she may be informed of allergies and potential side effects for your little one regarding a specific type.
  2. Preparation: Growth formulas can be prepared using a powdered formula, concentrated liquid formula and ready-to-use formula. Choose the one that’s the most convenient for you and fits your current budget.
  3. Important components:
    1. Carbohydrates: One of the main sources of energy for your little one. Most growth formulas use some of the following carbohydrates: lactose, maltose, sucrose, glucose, maltodextrin, glucose syrup or dried glucose syrup.
    2. Probiotics and Prebiotics: They help the absorption of neuronutrients and strengthen the immune system of your little one.
    3. Vitamins: These are present in almost every growth formula, some of these vitamins include folic acid, thiamine (B1 vitamin), riboflavin (B2 vitamin), niacin (B3 vitamin), biotin and pantothenic acid.
    4. Iron: Essential mineral for the development of your little one since it is the one in charge of transporting oxygen in the blood. It is also the main producer of hemoglobin.     
    5. DHA: DHA is omega-3 fatty acid found naturally in certain foods like fish that aids in cognitive and visual development. Some growth formulas include this key ingredient.
    6. No Added Sugar: You will avoid modifying your child’s sweet food preferences and promote healthy habits.

When choosing a growth formula that contains some of the key ingredients we mentioned, such as Nestlé ® Excella Gold ®, make sure to talk to your pediatrician to know which may suit your child best.

Sources:

http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/