Archive for the ‘ Parenting News ’ Category

Do You Know How to Boost Your Baby’s Motor Skills?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

When you go to the store and pick out a new toy for your baby, do you consider how it will benefit her development? And have you ever considered how items that are already in your home, like your coffee table or couch, can help improve your infant’s motor skills?

According to new research, many parents don’t know just how much toys and household items aid in the development of their baby’s motor skills. But a simple questionnaire could help change that.

In order to encourage parents to look at toys and everyday objects differently, researchers at the University of Texas Arlington developed the Affordances in the Home Environment for Motor Development-Infant Scale (AHEMD-IS) to help caregivers analyze the items children are exposed to. The AHEMD-IS questionnaire focuses specifically on infants between the ages of 3 and 18 months, and its questions evaluate physical space in the home, variety of stimulation, and the presence of both gross- and fine-motor toys.

“When parents buy toys, they’re rarely thinking ‘I wonder if this is going to be great for my child’s fine or gross motor skills,’ but if they look at each AHEMD-IS question and each separation of the question, they can choose to buy toys that are different or that offer different opportunities for their infants,” researcher Priscila Caçola, an assistant professor of kinesiology in the UT Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation, said in a press release.

Recently, experts examined questionnaire responses from the parents of more than 400 infants over the course of five years, and found that AHEMD-IS is, in fact, a reliable tool for both parents and professionals to use in order to promote motor skill development. So take a look—and see if it spurs any new ideas for you and your baby!

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Playing With Baby: Baby Toys
Playing With Baby: Baby Toys
Playing With Baby: Baby Toys

Image: Shutterstock.com

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Fewer Moms Are Getting Formula When They Leave the Hospital

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Since the late 1950s, hospitals have been sending new mothers home with more than just their adorable newborn. In many hospitals across the country, new moms are gifted with free formula “packs” that include samples, coupons, promotional materials, and other goodies.

A new study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of hospitals providing moms with formula as they leave has fallen, although one-third of hospitals in the United States still do so.

The new research, which was published in Pediatrics, found that fewer than 25 percent of hospitals in 24 states distributed formula packs in 2013, compared to just one—Rhode Island—in 2007. Conversely, in just two states—Iowa and South Dakota—did more than 75 percent of hospitals hand-out formula in 2013, compared to 30 in 2007.

Previous studies have found that mothers who received free formula from hospitals had lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life.)

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding

Image: Newborn with formula via Shutterstock

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So Cute: Babies Love to Hear Each Other Babble

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Baby babbleSure, your baby loves to hear your high-pitched coos and murmurs—and engaging in such baby talk with your wee one is actually good for her.

But new research from McGill University found that your infant is more likely to be interested in the sound of another baby — even before she’s able to babble herself.

To determine which sound held infants’ attention longer, researchers had 6-month-olds listen to vowel sounds from an adult woman and a baby (watch the adorable video!). While the babies’ faces were often neutral when they heard the adult, they often responded by smiling when they heard another baby’s sounds.

The study, which was published in Developmental Science, concluded that infants listened to the vowels made by other infants about 40 percent longer than the sounds made by an adult.

“This is not a preference for a familiar sound because the babies who took part in the experiment were not yet babbling themselves,” the press release stated. “So the infant-like vowel sounds that they heard were not yet part of their everyday listening experience.”

Researchers believe this could lead to further investigation into the processes that are involved in baby’s language development, which could potentially alleviate problems (like hearing impairment) that interfere with development.

Related: Ways to Encourage Language Development

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

The Dos and Don'ts of Baby Talk
The Dos and Don'ts of Baby Talk
The Dos and Don'ts of Baby Talk

Image: Babbling baby via Shutterstock

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Are You an Accurate Judge of Your Child’s Weight? (Answer: Maybe Not)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Boy on scaleHere’s one issue when it comes to battling childhood obesity: Parents, it turns out, can be pretty poor judges of whether their kids have a weight problem or not.

New research, led by the NYU Langone Medical Center and published last week in the journal Childhood Obesity, found that even as childhood obesity rates rise, parents tend to think their kids are at a healthy weight—and that perception hasn’t changed much over the years.

The findings were based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and based on physical examinations and interviews. The researchers studied two different groups of more than 3,000 children each, from 1988 to 1994, and 2007 to 2012.

Parents were asked whether their children (who were all between the ages of 2 and 5) were overweight, underweight, or about the right weight. Nearly all parents in both groups reported that their child was “just the right weight”—especially the parents of overweight boys.

In the first group, 97 percent of parents considered their overweight sons to be “about the right weight,” and the results of the more recent group yielded basically the same results (95 percent).

As for the parents of overweight girls, 88 percent of parents in the earlier study group reported that their daughters were at a good weight, followed by 93 percent in the second group.

Most important to note is that children who participated in the second, more recent group were substantially more overweight than the earlier group; however, parents’ views of their children did not reflect this difference.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns

Image: Boy on scale via Shutterstock

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Division of Household Labor May Not Be As Equal As Parents Think

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

New parentsAs a modern mama, you probably expect (or at the very least hope) that your partner spends as much time on household chores and various other duties as you do. But new research suggests that the division of household labor grows unequal once the couple enters parenthood.

Researchers at the Ohio State University studied 182 opposite-sex couples before and after having their first child. During the “before” interviews, couples were able to accurately measure how many hours of housework and paid work they were doing— and men and women spent approximately the same amount of time on each duty.

Unfortunately, that didn’t hold true once they became parents. The couples were reevaluated when their babies were 9 months old. Once child care was added in, each partner reported performing approximately 90 hours of total work (that includes paid work, household chores, and childcare) in each week. And while that was an overstimation—both parents actually worked less than that—it turns out that the new dads overestimated their workload more than the new moms, and actually did less. Men reported doing 35 hours of housework and 15 hours of child care, but were actually only doing 9 hours of housework and 10 hours of child care. Women reported doing 27 hours of housework and 28 hours of child care—but in reality were doing 13.5 hours of housework and devoting 15.5 hours to child care.

Typically, with the new addition of child care, women’s workload increases by 21 hours while men’s increases by 13, according to the report.

To combat this eight hour discrepancy, researchers suggest confronting any inequalities in household labor before routines are established and become harder to break.

Working Moms: Best Tips
Working Moms: Best Tips
Working Moms: Best Tips

Image: Parents with newborn via Shutterstock

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