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Baby Talk: How Moms and Dads Differ When Speaking to Newborns

Study Examines How Mothers and Fathers Converse With Their Infants

Hey, new dads: When it comes to talking to your infant, it's time to speak up! A new study published Monday online in Pediatrics shows that mothers are much more likely to baby talk with their children in their first few months.

That may not come as a big shock, but the same study also found that moms appear to talk more to their baby daughters, while dads appear to talk more to their sons.

The study analyzed 16-hour sets of audio recordings collected from 33 late preterm and term babies' communication with their parents: during the birth hospitalization, at 1 month old, and again at 7 months. Today.com reports:

Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers found that moms interacted vocally more with infant daughters rather than sons both at birth and 44 weeks post-menstrual age (equivalent to 1 month old.) Male adults responded more frequently to infant boys than infant girls, but the difference did not reach statistical significance, say the researchers.

The study also found that mothers responded to their babies' vocalizations 88 to 94 percent of the time, while dads only did 27 to 30 percent of the time, according to Today.com.

By the time a baby is born her ears and the brain area that responds to sound are well-developed, and previous studies have shown that the more you talk with an infant the earlier she is likely to talk.

"It seems to me that adults talking to children is absolutely the most cost effective intervention a family could do to improve children's language," Dr. Betty Vohr, study co-author and professor of pediatrics at Brown University's Alpert Medical School told TIME.com. "The more we learn about it, the more we can inform parents of the power they have in just talking and interacting with their infants to improve the long term outcomes for their child and their school readiness."

Is your little one just learning to talk? Track her development in our month-by-month timeline

Photo of mother with baby girl courtesy of Shutterstock.