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Thursday, September 25th, 2014
You know those precious gaa gaa goo goo sounds your baby makes can melt your heart. But it turns out your little one loves to hear those sounds as much as you do!
A study conducted by the University of Missouri found that “infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants’ ability to hear their own babbling.”
The researchers examined a mix of babies, some with normal hearing and others that were candidates for cochlear implants, and found that the babies who had suffered hearing loss were less likely to babble as much as their peers (though “non-speech” sounds like crying and laughing were not affected by this either way).
The good news is after the babies with hearing loss received their cochlear implants, their levels of babbling reached the same as those who could hear—and in a span of just four months!
“Babies learn so much through sound in the first year of their lives,” Mary Fagan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the MU School of Health Professions, said in a news release. “We know learning from others is important to infants’ development, but hearing allows infants to explore their own vocalizations and learn through their own capacity to produce sounds.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that up to 3 out of every 1,000 infants are born with some sort of hearing impairment. Is your child one of them? Read on to learn more about caring for a baby with hearing loss.
Photo of baby courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Monday, July 14th, 2014
How safe is your baby’s sleep?
A new study examined the biggest sleep risks for babies under 1 year of age and found that younger and older infants faced different risk factors for sleep-related deaths. In the study, which was published online today in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed more than 8,000 sleep-related infant deaths from 24 states between 2004 and 2012. Of those deaths, the study found that for infants up to 4 months of age, the biggest risk factor for sleep-related death was bed-sharing with either a parent or pet. In fact, in roughly 74 percent of the cases studied, the infants had been bed-sharing at the time of their death. About 50 percent of those cases happened when the child was sleeping in an adult bed or on a person.
But for infants ages 4 months to 1 year, the largest risk factor associated with death was different: rolling into objects, including blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, and bumpers, during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their care providers, but not in the same bed. The crib or bassinet should be within arm’s reach, free of any loose items, including toys and soft bedding, and covered with a fitted sheet.
Despite those safe-sleep recommendations, a whopping 73 percents of the 4,500 respondents in a recent American Baby magazine survey admitted they placed at least one item the crib with their baby.
Image: close-up portrait of a sleeping baby via Shutterstock
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AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, babies, baby sleep, infant sleep, Pediatrics, safe sleep, SIDS, sleep-related death | Categories:
Child Health, Must Read, New Research
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Babies as young as 9 months old may have a grasp of the social world that could be described as comprehension of the concept of “friendship,” a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General shows. More from LiveScience:
“Nine-month-old infants are paying attention to other people’s relationships,” said study co-author Amanda Woodward, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago. “Infants are able to watch two strangers interact in the movie and then make inferences about whether those two people are likely to be friends,” said Woodward, referring to a movie showed to the babies during the experiment….
The researchers had 64 nine-month-olds watch two videos of two actors eating a mystery food from two differently colored containers. Sometimes the actors smiled and said, “Ooh, I like it,” or made faces of disgust and said, “Eww, I don’t like that.” (The team chose to use food, because it plays a central role in many social gatherings with family and friends.)
The two actors either had similar food preferences or opposing ones.
Afterward, the tots watched a video of the two people meeting and either being friendly to one another or giving each other the cold shoulder.
Though infants can’t say what they’re thinking, they reveal their thoughts by what they pay attention to, Woodward told LiveScience. “When they see events that are inconsistent or unexpected, they tend to look at them longer,” she said.
The youngsters stared longer at videos of people with opposing views who were friendly to each other, suggesting the babies expected the two people who disagreed on food to be foes. Infants also stared longer at unfriendly people who still liked the same foods.
The findings suggest that even at a young age, babies expect people with similar likes and dislikes to be friends, and those who disagree to be unfriendly.
Babies may be wired to expect this behavior, Woodward said.
In their short lives, “babies probably didn’t learn this expectation from experience,” Woodward said. “It’s some expectation that they are in some way prepared to have.”
Want to learn more about what to expect as your baby grows? Sign up to receive tips and tricks sent directly to your inbox.
Image: Two babies, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Intriguing new research suggests that your baby is listening closely to what you say—even before she’s born. Finnish scientists found that babies in utero not only hear sounds around them, but also can detect subtle differences in words, and recognize those differences after birth.
More on the study from NBC News:
Researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland looked at 33 moms-to-be, and examined their babies after birth. While pregnant, 17 mothers listened at a loud volume to a CD with two, four minute sequences of made-up words (“tatata” or “tatota”, said several different ways and with different pitches) from week 29 until birth.
The moms and babies heard the nonsense words about 50 to 71 times. Following birth, the researchers tested the all 33 babies for normal hearing and then performed an EEG (electroencephalograph) brain scan to see if the newborns responded differently to the made-up words and different pitches.
Babies who listened to the CD in utero recognized the made-up words and noticed the pitch changes, which the infants who did not hear the CD did not, the researchers found. They could tell because their brain activity picked up when those words were played, while babies who didn’t hear the CD in the womb did not react as much.
“We have known that fetuses can learn certain sounds from their environment during pregnancy,” Eino Partanen, a doctoral student and lead author on the paper, said via email.
“We can now very easily assess the effects of fetal learning on a very detailed level—like in our study, [we] look at the learning effects to very small changes in the middle of a word.”
This paper does more than simply find that babies in utero can hear; it shows that babies can detect subtle changes and process complex information.
Image: Mother and ultrasound picture, via Shutterstock
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Friday, August 23rd, 2013
TODAY show anchor Jenna Wolfe and NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk have welcomed a daughter. Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk was born August 21, and weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces.
Wolfe announced her pregnancy, and her relationship with Gosk, in March. Here’s more on the new baby from PEOPLE.com:
“Estelle is my grandmother’s name,” explains the TODAY anchor. “No matter what, we were always going to have Estelle and we fell in love with the Harper. It’s the perfect combination of athleticism, gentleness, kindness, beauty and a little TV moxie, so we figured it was perfect.”
And in case you’re wondering why Harper’s last names don’t exactly match Moms’? Wolfe reveals that Wolfeld is actually her legal name.
“It’s out of the bag,” she jokes. The daughter of two television personalities “is not ready for a TV name quite yet, but if she ever wakes up and starts doing something TV-related, perhaps we can give her something.”
“This is the greatest gift,” Wolfe, 39, continues. “Anyone who’s a parent understands what I’m talking about.”
“We get paid in our jobs to come up with the right words,” NBC News foreign correspondent Gosk, 41, explains. “All I keep saying is ‘Wow.’ I can’t find the words.”
Image: Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk, via NBC News
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