Vimala's Parenting Blog

Kangaroo Care in NICU Decreases Maternal Stress

August 2, 2016

Already linked to happier, healthier newborns, a study finds that snuggling with babies in intensive care eases mothers’ anxiety that can interfere with bonding.

Research shows that stable parent-child bonds are fundamental to healthy development. For parents of babies born prematurely or with special medical needs, this early bonding can be interrupted by the complex medical care required in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

An ongoing study conducted at a large metropolitan NICU shows that a little skin-to-skin snuggling between mothers and babies can go a long way toward reducing maternal stress levels.

The study, presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition, examined mothers’ stress levels before and after they held their babies “kangaroo style” (skin-to-skin inside the pouch of the parent’s shirt) for at least one hour.

“We found that all of the mothers reported an objective decrease in their stress level after skin-to-skin contact with their babies,” said neonatologist Natalia Isaza, MD, FAAP of Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC. This was especially true regarding the reported stress of being separated from their infants, feeling helpless and unable to protect their infant from pain and painful procedures, and the general experience in the NICU, she said.

Birthweights of the infants ranged from less than 1 pound to over 8 pounds (0.38 to 3.7 kg), and their ages varied from 3 to 109 days. The infants were being treated for a diversity of health issues, with more than half requiring oxygen support.

“We already know there are physiological benefits in the newborns when they are held skin-to-skin,” Dr. Isaza said, such as stabilization of heart rate, breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels, gains in sleep time and weight, decreased crying, greater breastfeeding success and earlier hospital discharge. “Now we have more evidence that skin-to-skin contact can also decrease parents’ stress that can interfere with bonding, health and emotional wellness, and the interpersonal relations of parents, as well as breastfeeding rates.”

“This is a simple technique to benefit both parent and child that perhaps should be encouraged in all NICUs,” Dr. Isaza said.

What Happens When You Hear Your Baby’s Cries

July 4, 2016

It’s almost impossible for parents not to listen to their baby’s cries.

A new study out of the University of Toronto has found that babies affect adult cognitive functions in very distinct ways, sometimes rattling our ability to make everyday decisions.

The study found that infant cries make parents pay less attention to the task they’re working on, more so than a baby’s laugh. These cries specifically create “cognitive conflict,” which controls our attention spans and is necessary to perform many everyday tasks.

“Parents are constantly making a variety of everyday decisions and have competing demands on their attention,” said Joanna Dudek, lead author of the study, in a statement. “They may be in the middle of doing chores when the doorbell rings and their child starts to cry. How do they stay calm, cool and collected, and how do they know when to drop what they’re doing and pick up the child?”

Researchers found this by playing parents a short audio clip of a baby laughing or crying and having them complete a Stroop task, which asked them to identify the color of a word while ignoring the meaning of the word. The researchers then measured brain activity, and found that there was reduced attention when they heard the baby cry.

Still, the researchers were quick to point out that this may mean that a baby’s cry turns on someone’s ability to respond to a child’s distress—switching on our parenting skills.

“If an infant’s cry activates cognitive conflict in the brain, it could also be teaching parents how to focus their attention more selectively,” said David Haley, co-author and associate professor of psychology at U of T Scarborough. “It’s this cognitive flexibility that allows parents to rapidly switch between responding to their baby’s distress and other competing demands in their lives–which, paradoxically, may mean ignoring the infant momentarily.”

All parents struggle to understand their baby’s cry.

Understanding a baby’s cry is no easy feat, as newborns and infants tend to cry for a number of different reasons, including hunger, tiredness and discomfort, being overwhelmed. Babies will also cry when they’re feeling sick, frustrated or lonely, essentially using tears to talk.

“Simply put, babies cry because they cannot talk,” Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care. “Babies are human beings, and they have needs and desires, just as we do, but they can’t express them … their cries are the only way they can say, ‘Help me! Something isn’t right here!”

Every baby sounds different, though, which sometimes requires parents to really listen to their child’s voice to understand what they want.

QUOTE 13_n

In fact, as Nick Anderson wrote for Deseret News National, babies from different countries have different accents when they cry, even though they don’t know language yet. This comes from a study out of the journal Current Biology that found that an infant’s cry is shaped by their native language. For example, French babies have a “rising melody,” while German infants have a “falling melody.”

Technology can make it easier for you to understand your baby. Understanding a baby’s cry isn’t an easy feat for parents because cries often mean different things for every baby. That’s why researchers have tried creating technologies that can help parents understand their babies.

For example, the National Taiwan Normal University created a listening device that attempts to translate your baby’s cry into words. It captures the sound of the baby’s cry and uses data it has collected of other cries from babies made at similar times and frequencies to identify what’s wrong with the child.

“Most parents learn to recognize different kinds of cries,” a spokesman said. “But there are subtle differences that may escape even the instinctively tuned sense of a mother. Fortunately, technology has lent an ear.”

Similarly, researchers at the National Taiwan University Hospital Yunlin created the Infant Cries Translator, which can identify four different crying sounds based on a database of close to 200,000 crying sounds from 100 different newborn babies.

Researcher Chang Chuan-yu told Reuters that the app has a 92 percent accuracy for babies who are less than two weeks old. Meanwhile, it’s closer to 84 and 85 percent accuracy for babies who are one or two months old, and 77 percent for babies who are four months old.

“For the new parent like us, we are most afraid of seeing the baby crying and then not knowing what we should do. When we don’t know what we should do, this app can make some simple judgments for us, so we are able to know what our next step is,” new father Guo Young-ming told Reuters.

Parents can still understand their baby’s cry without fancy apps.

Eva Benmeleh Roditi, a child psychologist, said there are six different baby cries, like the slow, rhythmic cries or the high-pitched, screechy cries, that all have specific meanings. Understanding these cry patterns can help parents understand both themselves and others to figure out what their child is trying to say.

“Unfortunately, your baby does not come with a translator. So it takes a lot of time, patience and a little bit of guidance to figure out what’s she trying to say,” Roditi said in a video for Bundoo. “But before you know it, you’ll become your baby’s No. 1 interpreter for the rest of the world.”

We in IAIM teach parents that listening to their infants is important. You listen just as you would listen to someone who is coming to you for support. Watch the baby’s affect (the look on her face, how her mouth moves, etc.). You can intuit exactly what your baby is saying to you, and mirror it back to her. “Ohhh, you are feeling so frustrated.” “It hurts in your tummy… yes it does. I understand.” “It’s just too much, isn’t it?” You’ll see your baby’s mouth move as if he is talking. You’ll see your baby’s face change as if he knows you are listening.

Babies never, ever cry to manipulate their parents. They don’t know how to manipulate. Their feelings are just as real as yours, and need acknowledging. Parenting a crying infant requires great patience, active listening skills, and the ability to acknowledge both your own frustration and your baby’s. When you teach, don’t forget to cover this material in your classes. Most parents have no idea what to do when their babies cry “for no reason.” Babies never cry for no reason.

 

Baby-Talk May Be More Educational than Imagined

June 4, 2016

Some people think that the best way to teach language to a tiny baby is to speak as if the infant is another adult—because adult sounds, cadence and tone of voice are what the child is eventually supposed to learn. But newly published research using mathematical models finds the best way to help a baby learn might actually be to follow parents’ instincts and use “parentese,” a sing-songy voice that exaggerates the sounds the baby hears.

Patrick Shafto, an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), who conducted the research— published in Psychological Review says, “Our intuitions are surprisingly right. Why do we speak funny to babies? It’s actually to help them learn the relevant properties of language.”

Shafto and colleagues deconstructed vowel sounds in adult speech. They then created a mathematical model that predicted understandable speech patterns from scratch, “to show what it might look like if speech were designed to actually teach children.” They then compared their invented teaching pattern with the differing speech methods that adults direct at each other and at infants, and found that infant-directed speech was the closer match.

“The sounds that are selected exaggerate the important properties that babies need to attend to and learn about,” Shafto says. “If you exaggerate in the correct way, what you get is a learner who learns more quickly from less data.” It makes sense to Shafto that over time the baby’s brain is then able to process the “parentese” into regular language.

Shafto says his mathematical model is an elegant way to think about infants’ learning. Proving that infant-directed speech is more educational is difficult by definition because babies not even a year old are too young to speak, so it is challenging to probe any language skills they have learned.

But there may be a different group of learners who could demonstrate the value of a mathematical learning model. Shafto says American adults don’t only speak in exaggerated ways to infants. They also distort their speech with pets and with foreign language speakers—but they do it differently for each. Pets hear sing-songy voices with no effort by the speaker to exaggerate vowels to make the animals understand—a pure play to cuteness that differs from speech intended to teach a baby. Foreigners get the opposite—no condescending sing-song, but a concerted effort to exaggerate vowel sounds—the better to help the listener understand a language he or she doesn’t know.

Because foreign language speakers’ learning of English can be measured, Shafto says it might be possible to use mathematics to fine tune the speech patterns of instructors in ways that enhance the teaching of English as a second language. “By manipulating only the things that are important and highlighting the meaningful distinctions in the language. We might be able to make English more learnable for someone who speaks a different language natively.”

According to Shafto, the bottom line of this new study, and of the work he is doing, is that math and the study of language learning go extremely well together. “Learning these vowel categories is a complicated problem,” he says. “There are lots of moving parts, so it’s not the sort of thing that one can easily intuit.”

“I think it’s a nice example of why mathematical rigor is important in areas where you least expect it,” Shafto adds, “such as understanding why we talk in a silly way to children.”

6 Must-Know Facts About a Baby’s Brain

May 1, 2016

1. A baby’s brain grows quickly
After birth, the human brain grows rapidly, more than doubling to reach 60% of its adult size by the time he is sampling his first birthday cake. By kindergarten, the brain has reached its full size but it may not finish developing until the child is in his mid-20s.

2. Lantern vs flashlight
Baby brains have many more neuronal connections than the brains of adults. They also have less inhibitory neurotransmitters. As a result, the baby’s perception of reality is less focused than adults. They are vaguely aware of everything—a sensible strategy considering they don’t yet know what’s important. We can liken a  baby’s perception to a lantern, scattering light across the room, where adult perception is more like a flashlight, consciously focused on specific things but ignoring background details.

3. Babbling signals learning
Within their lantern’s light, babies focus momentarily. When they do, they usually make babbling sounds to convey interest. The nonsense syllables babies spout is the acoustic version of a furrowed brow. Few signal to adults that they are ready to learn. What makes babies smarter is talking to them, dialogue is best, where a parent responds within the pauses of an infant’s vocalizations.

4. Brains can be overwhelmed
Their need for human interaction doesn’t mean they should be tickled silly day and night. Babies have short attention spans and can easily be over-stimulated. Sometimes, the interaction they need is simply help calming down. This can be provided by rocking, dimming lights or swaddling flailing limbs that babies have yet to figure out how to control. Massage provides both stimulation and relaxation, teaching a baby to calm at her parent’s voice and touch.

5. Educational DVDs aren’t worth it
Recent research suggests that social responses are fundamental to a child’s ability to fully learn language. Babies divide up the world between things that respond to them and things that don’t. Things that don’t are not worth it. A recording does not follow a baby’s cues, which is why infant DVDs, have been found to be ineffective.

6. They need more than parents
Researchers theorize that spending time with non-parental caregivers—a doting grandparent, a daycare teacher, a family friend—helps infants learn to read different facial expressions and expand their ability to take the perspectives of others. They use adult mental processes for figuring others’ emotions by the time they are seven months old. Just be sure before you hand over your lovely bundle, that the person interacting with the baby is nurturing, non-invasive, positive, and loving—all the time.

Mothers’ Sounds Are the Building Block for Babies’ Brains

April 1, 2016

Multiple studies have shown that the sound of a mother’s voice plays a critical role in a baby’s early development, Now researchers have demonstrated that the brain itself may rely on a mother’s voice and heartbeat to grow.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston studied 40 babies born eight to 15 weeks prematurely. Like most severely premature babies, the infants were confined to incubators and spent limited time with their mothers.

“Preemies born this early are basically fetuses that happen to be out there by accident,” said Amir Lahav, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study.

Using tiny speakers placed inside the incubators, half the babies were exposed to the sounds of their mothers’ voices and heartbeats for three extra hours every day. The other half received no additional exposure to such sounds.

After 30 days, babies in the first group had developed a significantly larger auditory cortex — the hearing center of the brain — than those in the second group. The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help guide doctors and parents caring for premature babies, who often suffer from developmental and cognitive disabilities.

“This is part of the biological recipe for how you cook a baby,” Dr. Lahav said. “Any deviation from original recipe could result in developmental problems.”

Research Demonstrates the Benefits of Word Repetition to Infants

March 16, 2016

New research from the University of Maryland and Harvard University suggests that young infants benefit from hearing words repeated by their parents. With this knowledge, parents may make conscious communication choices that could pay off in their babies’ toddler years and beyond.

Study co-author Rochelle Newman, professor and chair of UMD’s Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences commented on the findings. “Parents who repeat words more often to their infants have children with better language skills a year and a half later. A lot of recent focus has been on simply talking more to your child—but how you talk to your child matters. It isn’t just about the number of words.”

Newman and co-authors tracked maternal-child directed speech to 7-month-old infants. They specifically measured the babies’ ability to understand language at 7 months, and later the children’s vocabulary outcomes at age 2. They found that the toddlers who had stronger language outcomes differed in two ways from their peers:

1. Their parents had repeated words more often, and

2. They were more tuned in to the language as infants, and thus better able to process what was being said.

“It takes two to tango,” said co-author Dr. Ratner. “Both the child and the parent play a role in the child’s later language outcomes, and our study is the first to show that.”

This research can be of immediate use to families. While it is clinically proven that parents naturally speak more slowly and in a specialized “sing-song” tone to their babies, the findings from this study will encourage parents to be more conscious of repeating words to maximize language development benefits. “It is the quality of the input that matters most, not just the quantity,” said Dr. Rowe.

This new study builds on a growing body of research focused on exploring infant language development. Professor Newman and two of her then-graduate students recently published “Look at the gato! Code-switching in speech to toddlers” in the Journal of Child Language.

That study examined the phenomenon of “code-switching,” when adults speak more than one language and mix those languages when speaking to their children. A lot of parents are told that this type of language mixing is bad for children, but Professor Newman and her colleagues found that this “code-switching” has no impact on children’s vocabulary development.

“Input and uptake at 7 months predicts toddler vocabulary: the role of child-directed speech and infant processing skills in language development” appears online, in advance of its upcoming publication in the Journal of Child Language.

Mothers Singing During Skin-to-Skin Contact Benefits Both Infants and their Moms

March 1, 2016

A mother who sings to her preemie while providing ‘kangaroo care,’ or holding with direct skin-to-skin contact, can see improvements in both her child’s and her own health. The finding comes from a study of 86 mother-infant pairs in a neonatal intensive care unit.

The research comes from an Acta Paediatrica study of 86 mother-infant pairs in a neonatal intensive care unit in Meir Hospital in Israel.

Compared with babies whose mothers just held them with direct skin-to-skin contact but did not sing, infants whose mothers both held them and sang to them had improved heart rate variability patterns. This combined effect of holding and singing also caused mothers to feel less anxiety.

“We recommend combining kangaroo care and maternal singing for stable preterm infants. These safe, inexpensive, and easily implemented therapies can be applied during daily neonatal care,” said lead author Dr. Shmuel Arnon.

Journal Reference:

Shmuel Arnon, Chagit Diamant, Sofia Bauer, Rivka Regev, Gisela Sirota, Ita Litmanovitz. Maternal singing during kangaroo care led to autonomic stability in preterm infants and reduced maternal anxiety. Acta Paediatrica, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/apa.12744

Infants’ Brain Development Affected by Texting During Baby Care

February 11, 2016

Researchers have found that fragmented and chaotic care—which happens when caregivers attend to email and text messages of their smartphones during baby care—disrupts infant brain development. The study was published in the Journal of Translational Psychiatry.

“It is known that vulnerability to emotional disorders, such as depression, derives from interactions between our genes and the environment, especially during sensitive developmental periods,” said Tallie Baram, University of California, Irvine.

“Our work builds on many studies showing that maternal care is important for future emotional health. Importantly, it shows that it is not how much maternal care that influences a baby’s later behavior but the avoidance of fragmented and unpredictable care that is crucial,” Ms. Baram noted. “We might wish to turn off the mobile phone when caring for baby and be predictable and consistent,” Ms. Baram said.

The researchers studied the emotional outcomes of adolescent rats reared in either calm or chaotic environments and used mathematical approaches to analyze the mothers’ nurturing behaviors.

While the study was conducted with rodents, its findings implied that when mothers are nurturing their infants, numerous everyday interruptions—even those as seemingly harmless as phone calls and text messages—can have a long-lasting impact.

The researchers showed that consistent rhythms and patterns of maternal care seem to be crucially important for the developing brain, which needs predictable and continuous stimuli to ensure the growth of robust neuron networks.

The brain’s dopamine-receptor pleasure circuits are not mature in newborns and infants and these circuits are stimulated by predictable sequences of events, which seem to be critical for their maturation, Ms. Baram stated.

Encourage parents in your infant massage classes to turn off their phones, televisions, etc. during the massage session, and at other times when attending to their infants is crucial. We are accustomed to this type of “multi-tasking,” which can be detrimental to a baby’s brain development. When parents have more than one child, they can be aware of this and find predictable times when parents attend to their infant one-on-one; infant massage provides the perfect atmosphere for this important type of “predictable sequence of events,” and “consistent rhythms and patterns of maternal care.” Though, of course, this also includes paternal care.

A Letter from Vimala

January 7, 2016

My dear friends and colleagues,

I  wanted to update you on some exciting things that are happening and my life in general for the past several months.

I have written a booklet, with permission from Random House, which will be published by IAIM. It will be available to people in other countries, in whose language my book is not available. It is like a miniature Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents — called Bonding Touch for Baby: The Art of Infant Massage. It will be available to download from the IAIM Website, for a fee, in many languages.

Random House has given me permission to write an entirely new, updated and revised edition of Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents. I have been working on it for many, many hours over the past couple of months; I expanded it considerably, bringing everything as up-to-date as possible. If my manuscript is accepted as-is, it will have 20 chapters, thus many more pages. I have also updated the Resources, References, and Recommended Books section, which is now almost twice as many pages as before.

The chapters, as they are now:

Chapter 1: Why Massage Your Baby?
Chapter 2: Your Baby’s Sensory World
Chapter 3: The Importance of Skin Stimulation
Chapter 4: Stress and Relaxation
Chapter 5: Bonding and Infant Massage
Chapter 6: The Elements of Bonding (largest chapter)
Chapter 7: Attachment and The Benefits of Infant Massage
Chapter 8: Especially for Fathers (considerably expanded)
Chapter 9: Helping Baby (and You) Learn to Relax
Chapter 10: Your Baby’s Brain
Chapter 11 Music and Massage
Chapter 12 Getting Ready
Chapter 13 How to Massage Your Baby
Chapter 14 Crying, Fussing, and Other Baby Language (including Your Baby’s Cues, Your Newborn’s Reflexes, and Your Baby’s Behavioral States)
Chapter 15 Minor Illness and Colic
Chapter 16 Your Premature Baby (considerably expanded)
Chapter 17 Your Baby with Special Needs
Chapter 18 Your Growing Child and Sibling Bonding Through Massage
Chapter 19 Your Adopted or Foster Children
Chapter 20 A Note to Teen Parents

I have re-arranged much of the book, and included things like Cosleeping, Carrying, Talking, Singing, and Gaze Shifting; an in-depth look at Attachment, Secure Attachment, and the Benefits of Infant Massage for baby, parents, family, and society. The chapter on Premature Babies is updated with the new information we have now which has formed IAIM’s policy regarding massage and holding methods in the NICU. Many recent studies are cited in each chapter and included in the References section in the back. The approximate word count is 66,000 words, and the “back matter” is 10,000 words.

I am searching for some photographs that we can use with this expanded edition. I have many stock photos that I can use for my blogs, but using them in a book is very costly. If you have any photographs that you can share, I would appreciate it so much. I would need releases signed by the moms and/or dads in the photos. If you do have something, please let me know, and I can send you the release form. They can be jpg. photos that you send in an email.

Two days after I finished the manuscript, I was struck by the most intense stomach pain I have ever experienced. I had to go to the hospital in an ambulance, and ended up staying there throughout the holiday season. I had no warning and no previous experience with Diverticulitis. It was quite a shock, both for me and everyone around me; I had been so incredibly healthy for more than a year. After I returned home on New Year’s Eve, I was very weak and tired; I got back to the manuscript several days later, and was able to send it to Random House, meeting my deadline. I don’t know exactly when the book will come out; I’ll make an announcement at that time. This will probably be the final edition of the book, to last, hopefully, beyond my lifetime.

I am still weak and tired, and unable to do my regular routine of walking/running 4-5 miles a day. I have been able to get back to my meditation, but it will be another week before I can practice my yoga asanas. I am taking it easy right now so that I can get back to work without having any relapse.

I plan to attend the General Assembly of IAIM in Paris next October, and I will speak there. I hope to meet as many IAIM people from around the world as I can. I’m very excited about the prospect of being in Paris! I am even studying some French for the occasion.

Much love and many blessings to all of you,

Vimala

Research Suggests that Modern Parenting May Hinder Brain Development

December 3, 2015

According to research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame, social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children.

“Life outcomes for American youth are worsening, especially in comparison to 50 years ago,” says Darcia Narvaez, Notre Dame professor of psychology who specializes in moral development in children and how early life experiences can influence brain development.

“Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it,” Narvaez says.

The new research links early, nurturing parenting practices — the kind common in foraging hunter-gatherer societies — to specific, healthy emotional outcomes in adulthood, and has many experts rethinking some of our modern, cultural child-rearing “norms.”

“Breastfeeding infants, responsiveness to crying, almost constant touch and having multiple adult caregivers are some of the nurturing ancestral parenting practices that are shown to positively impact the developing brain, which not only shapes personality, but also helps physical health and moral development,” says Narvaez.

Studies show that responding to a baby’s needs (not letting a baby “cry it out”) has been shown to influence the development of conscience; positive touch effects stress reactivity, impulse control and empathy; free play in nature influences social capacities and aggression; and a set of supportive caregivers (beyond the mother alone) predicts IQ and ego resilience as well as empathy.

According to Narvaez, the United States has been on a downward trajectory on all of these care characteristics. Instead of being held, infants spend much more time in carriers, car seats and strollers than they did in the past. Only about 15 percent of mothers are breastfeeding at all by 12 months, extended families are broken up and free play allowed by parents has decreased dramatically since 1970.

Whether the corollary to these modern practices or the result of other forces, an epidemic of anxiety and depression among all age groups, including young children; rising rates of aggressive behavior and delinquency in young children; and decreasing empathy, the backbone of compassionate, moral behavior, among college students, are shown in research.

According to Narvaez, however, other relatives and teachers also can have a beneficial impact when a child feels safe in their presence. Also, early deficits can be made up later, she says.

“The right brain, which governs much of our self-regulation, creativity and empathy, can grow throughout life. The right brain grows though full-body experience like rough-and-tumble play, dancing or freelance artistic creation. So at any point, a parent can take up a creative activity with a child and they can grow together.”

What Happens When You Hear Your Baby’s Cries July 4, 2016

It’s almost impossible for parents not to listen to their baby’s cries. A new study out of the University of Toronto has found that babies affect adult cognitive functions in very distinct ways, sometimes rattling our ability to make everyday decisions. The study found that infant cries make parents pay less attention to the task […]

Baby-Talk May Be More Educational than Imagined June 4, 2016

Some people think that the best way to teach language to a tiny baby is to speak as if the infant is another adult—because adult sounds, cadence and tone of voice are what the child is eventually supposed to learn. But newly published research using mathematical models finds the best way to help a baby […]

6 Must-Know Facts About a Baby’s Brain May 1, 2016

1. A baby’s brain grows quickly After birth, the human brain grows rapidly, more than doubling to reach 60% of its adult size by the time he is sampling his first birthday cake. By kindergarten, the brain has reached its full size but it may not finish developing until the child is in his mid-20s. […]

Mothers’ Sounds Are the Building Block for Babies’ Brains April 1, 2016

Multiple studies have shown that the sound of a mother’s voice plays a critical role in a baby’s early development, Now researchers have demonstrated that the brain itself may rely on a mother’s voice and heartbeat to grow. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston studied 40 babies born eight to 15 weeks prematurely. […]

Research Demonstrates the Benefits of Word Repetition to Infants March 16, 2016

New research from the University of Maryland and Harvard University suggests that young infants benefit from hearing words repeated by their parents. With this knowledge, parents may make conscious communication choices that could pay off in their babies’ toddler years and beyond. Study co-author Rochelle Newman, professor and chair of UMD’s Department of Hearing and […]