Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Motor Skills

Newborns, soon after birth, typically fall into a long sleep that lasts about 14-18 hours. This deep sleep helps your baby to conserve energy. It also helps him to stabilize functions such as blood circulation, breathing, and digestion. At birth and during the first few days, newborn babies move randomly. These twitching movements and jerks are involuntary and referred to as reflexes. Reflexes are the first reliable movement responses your baby makes to his environment, and they occur automatically. Some of your baby’s reflexes—mass activity reflexes—manifest themselves by their whole body responding to stimulation of one part of the body. Examples might be changes in temperature, light, and sound. Other reflexes—specific activity reflexes—are seen within an isolated part of your baby’s body. Some researchers believe that babies’ reflexes let them respond to their environment and learn about how to organize their bodies. Some reflexes, such as gagging and coughing, protect your baby. The phasic bite reflex is seen when your baby’s gums are touched and rubbed—here, your baby will respond by opening his mouth from a biting position. The rooting reflex is seen when your baby’s cheek is stroked—he will turn his lips, tongue, and jaw toward the touch. The rhythmic suck-swallow pattern is seen when a finger or nipple is inserted into your baby’s mouth. These reflexes are often seen during eating, and are crucial for nourishment.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Social Skills

Newborns tend to prefer the sound of the human voice. So your singing, cooing, and talking to them soothes them. They’ve heard mommy’s and daddy’s voices in the last 3 months of pregnancy because their auditory system was already functioning, There are some reports of newborns recognizing their parents’ voices at birth. Newborn babies also smile reflexively. This smile typically occurs when the cheek or lips are touched or in light sleep. You’ll know it’s a reflex because the area around the eyes doesn’t crinkle— a significant difference between social and reflexive smiles. Nonetheless, this reflexive smiling helps to set the stage for face to face connection, attention, and continued learning. These early abilities probably help newborns to “tune in” to their parents and set the stage for parent-child attachment.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Babies are born with fluid in their middle ear (behind the eardrum), so their hearing is not as sensitive as it will be in about 2 weeks when this fluid is absorbed. Nevertheless, they can tell the difference between loud and soft sounds and between short and long sound duration. The auditory feedback loop is already present and used by your newborn baby. The auditory feedback loop is the relationship between the ability of a baby to use sounds that she hears in order to control or monitor sounds that she produces. Experiments testing the auditory feedback loop examine a baby’s change in heart rate or breathing rate in response to presentation of the same or a different sound. Amazingly, within the first few days after birth, babies can tell the difference between sounds. Distinguishing specific sounds in words, however, comes later. But newborns are able to perceive a great deal right from birth.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Really? I'll say it again really? People thought that Baby Einstein was going to make their babies smart? Okay, if it didn't work you can go get a refund.

I'm so glad I never was given a set of those things, I know many people who did. My worry was that I couldn't then in good consciousness go and give the things to the Good Will or somthing, it would be perpetuating the notion that sticking babies in front of the television would make them smarter. And, yes it IS television.

But, it's educational!! No, it isn't. What made people go for this drivel in the first place? Well, it turns out that very young children can learn to distinguish different sounds. They can even distinguish sounds in languages that are not in their native language. But, over time, they lose the ability to make the distinctions in the language that they don't hear everyday.

We also know that babies who are exposed to lots of language on average learn more words. But, videos and television-- while they may use language, words, and concepts that babies can learn are not INTERACTIVE. Duh! Here's more on that issue.

Now, I'm not saying that sometimes it isn't convenient to park your baby in front of something like this so that you can take a shower. I'm just saying that you can't count on videos to teach your baby language. Language has give and take, it's responsive-- those are things that only other people in your baby's life can do.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


During the first week of life, your baby can focus on your face, making it the first image in his visual memory. He will gaze at your face and look into your eyes. Eye contact is an important form of communication that will aid your baby’s growth and development. It is one of the first ways he can reliably make contact with you, and it provides a way for you and your baby to begin making emotional contact, known as bonding. Because of sensitivity to bright lights in the first few days after birth, your baby will most likely close his eyes during the day, even when awake. He or she will prefer dim lighting because the pigmentation, or color, of his iris, the part of the eye that regulates the amount of light that enters, is not fully developed. Your baby will blink at bright lights, such as camera flashes, but may also gaze momentarily at certain bright lights or bright objects.