Helping Baby Learn

How You Can Help

Babies do need exposure to language, says Dr. Gilmore. Simple things like talking and reading to your baby -- which most parents do naturally -- can be a good way to introduce your child to language. But if, for example, you're reading to your baby and she's not enjoying it, stop. "There isn't a quota that has to be filled," he says.

One thing parents should do: Be sensitive to your child's interests and needs. Some kids like a lot of stimulation -- from activities, reading, games -- while others don't. By observing your child, you can gauge his capacity for stimulation. Also keep in mind that infants are sensitive to the degree to which their parents are responsive to them, says Dr. Gilmore. "Generally speaking, during the first few months of life, parents should try to be as responsive to their babies as possible -- within practical limits, of course." So comfort your baby when she cries (you don't have to worry about "spoiling" her at this age), but don't beat yourself up if you can't be available to your child every second of every day. "Try to make time for yourself," adds Dr. Gilmore. "Your mood and health are important for your baby's development."

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