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Finding Balance

Becoming a mom is a wonderful experience (of course!), but between working, cleaning, and caring for your baby, it can also be time-consuming. Huggies has some quick, easy ways to help give you a break.


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Mommy Competition: How To Deal

Some moms have a way of going on and on about their kid’s accomplishments. Since you can’t stick your fingers in your ears and start humming, here are some other strategies.

Take pity. "Most of the time, parents who feel the need to compare their kids to yours or judge your parenting is more about their insecurity than anything else. I remind myself that we all try to make the best choices for our families. It’s the same thought behind this saying I once read: When someone is at peace with their choices, they never get offended when someone else chooses differently."

—Jennifer Canzeroni, mom of one, Dallas, Texas

Keep your distance, if necessary. "‘Mompetition’ drives me nuts. I have one friend who does this a lot, and I actually had to cut back on hanging out with her because it got hard to constantly hear how gifted her child is. Frankly, if your 3-year-old is doing physics and calculus, I don't need to know about it. I prefer my world where my kids have fun baking and playing Candy Land. I'm not rushing through these years."

—Erin Best Margolin, mom of two, Fairway, Kansas

Brag when bragging is called for. "My daughter has autism, and ‘typical’ developments have come with struggle and determination. I know what it’s like to feel insecure about your child’s progress. But when my kiddo learned her alphabet before all the other kids, I thought, It's my turn. So, yes, I bragged—and it felt good."

—Dani Gillman-Glickfield, mom of one, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Just agree. "As a preschool teacher,there’s nothing I haven’t seen before. Children develop in typical ways on a very predictable schedule. A child’s development is a miracle, though, and I would never want to take that away from a parent. So when a mom can’t resist telling me about their child’s latest accomplishment, I just remind myself that every parent sees their child as a miracle in progress and give them their moment of joy."

—Jayne Rosenberg, mom of two, Spokane, Washington


Quick Beauty Hacks Every Mom Should Know

When you have a new baby it’s easy to spend most of your energy making sure your baby is clean, comfy and happy. But remembering to take care of yourself is just as important. You can’t be at your best if you don’t feel good when you look in the mirror. With some simple beauty hacks you can give yourself a bit of pampering every day, in just minutes.

You don’t have to buy fancy, expensive products for your beauty routine. Your baby’s products are perfect to share.

  • Baby Oil – Moisturize your legs after shaving, smooth elbows and heels, and moisturize your cuticles by applying this baby staple you probably already have on hand.
  • Baby Wipes – Gentle enough for baby’s bottom, alcohol-free wipes make a great makeup remover in one swipe.

Make a DIY spa basket in a shower caddy so you have all of your essentials in one place, with a handle. This will allow you to fit in a few quick beauty fixes at unexpected times, such as when you’re feeding baby.  Throw in a natural face mask, teeth whitening strips, lip balms, foot lotion and soft socks so you can apply them when all you have is 10 or 15 minutes. (And stick baby nail scissors in there too since the best time to cut your baby’s nails is when they are blissfully feeding or sleeping!)

It’s not always easy to squeeze in a daily shower when you’re a new mom, try some dry shampoo - there are lots of inexpensive options at the drugstore. Just be sure to apply as directed and give it time to absorb the oil so it won't look powdery, and brush through well. Your hair will look clean and smell great.

Stash a favourite, bright lip gloss in your diaper bag so you can always liven up your look and feel a little bit polished on the go.  Using a multitasking lip and cheek stain will give you several simple options in one product so you have less to keep track of.  

A microfiber hair towel will significantly cut your hair drying time. Putting your hair in a loose bun or braid while it’s still damp will give your hair bounce and volume once it’s dry so you don’t have to walk around with “mom hair.”

No matter how busy you become once your baby arrives, you should never be too busy to take care of yourself as well. By taking advantage of small moments, and having the right products on hand, you can employ quick beauty hacks that will make you feel better and be a happier mom.

Image : Getty 



14 Simple Ways to Show Your Child Love

I love my daughter to the moon and back, but sometimes I wonder if she knows it. Even though she can’t tell me that she understands my love for her yet, there are many little ways that I’ve found to show her my love, and over time I’ve seen in her responses that it’s pretty clear that she knows she is loved.

Here are 14 simple things you can do with your child or grandchild to show them love.

1. Snuggle.

Nothing says “I love you” like a good snuggle session – even the tiniest babies can understand the love behind this. Hugs and squeezes, cuddling in bed in the morning — all of these things are an important part of building a strong bond between you and your child.

2. Drop everything.

We live in a world that is “go, go, go” and I will be the first to admit that I often find myself more attached to my phone, computer, and daily schedule than I should. I realize that work needs to get done, but make sure that sometimes you just drop what you’re doing, put away your phone and computer, and just take time to focus on your child. You don’t have to do anything exciting. Just being there and being present will demonstrate love.

3. Talk.

Just because they might not be able to talk back yet, doesn’t mean you can’t still talk to them. Tell your little one stories of your childhood, tell them about your favourite things – just talking to them is a way to show love.

4. Listen.

This is something I’m working on. I’m pretty good at talking to my daughter, but I don’t always think to stop and listen, since she’s not really speaking many coherent words yet. But, recently, I just stopped to listen, showing her non-verbal signs of active listening and she babbled on and on for about five minutes straight! Give your baby a listen – you’ll both be able to appreciate it.

5. Sing!

Hearing the sweet (at least to their baby ears) sound of your voice is a special and intimate way to show your child your affection. Sing some of your favourites – they’ll stick with your child as they get older. Or, even if you’re not much of a singer, make up a special song for your little one that is “their song” and sing it to them often.

6. Smile.

The simple act of smiling with and at your baby will provide them with non-verbal cues from you that they are loved.

7. Say “I love you.”

There is no such thing as telling your baby that you love them too often. I’m pretty sure I tell my daughter I love her at least 18,000 times a day, but at least she’ll never have any doubts.

8. Have a dance party.

Turn on some fun tunes and dance around with your baby – nothing says I love you like having fun together!

9. Give butterfly kisses.

I forgot all about butterfly kisses, but they are a sweet way to share your affections with your little.

10. Get down on their level.

Compared to our babies we are giants lumbering above them, so take the time to show you care by getting down on their level. Lay down on your belly next to them while they’re having tummy time or sit criss-cross-applesauce on the rug with them while they’re stacking blocks. This will most definitely make your little one feel important and cherished.

11. Go on an outing.

An outing doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but take a walk around the neighbourhood, go visit the neighbor’s chickens, just do something fun and novel together. Getting out and doing activities together is a part of bonding for the both of you.

12. Build a fort.

Even teeny tiny babies enjoy the changes between dark and light, and building a simple blanket fort (even just throwing a blanket over the dining room table!) can be a bit of fun and show love.

13. Explore together.

Walk around your house or neighbourhood and check out all the things there are to see. Tell your little one about the photos hanging on the wall or what some of the kitchen utensils in your drawers are used for. This is a fun activity that will also help your little one learn about the world.

14. Be silly.

Have fun together – don’t take yourself too seriously. Be silly with your baby. Make funny faces and do funny voices when you read them stories. Your baby will love it.

Image : Getty


Dad and Baby Bonding Tips

Find out what easy things you can do now with your newborn to establish a long-lasting loving and healthy bond.

Looking for some fun ways to bond with your baby? We've found simple things you can do every day that will help you and your baby develop a happy and healthy relationship that will last for years to come.

Tips to Help Dads Bond with Baby:

  1. Be present.
    Children with involved fathers have better language skills, earn better grades and enjoy better self-esteem than those without one, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

  2. Get close and share “skin time” with your baby.
    Hold him closely and let him explore how you feel and look. “Let your baby feel your whiskers, your mustache, your hands. They all have different feels to them that he will get a real kick out of. Watch out, though. They love to pull chest hair!” shares the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC;, a government resource whose goal is disseminate up-to-date research and proven and innovative strategies to support and strengthen fathers.

  3. Take the night shift.
    “Nighttime is usually the ‘fussy’ time for newborns,” says Seth D. Ginsberg, health advocate (, social entrepreneur ( and new father ( “Babies are either overtired or overstimulated, and by sundown everyone in the family is exhausted. This is a great time to carve out 1 to 3 hours to devote to calming your baby by rocking him or her, singing gently, walking around, and ‘shhhhh-ing’ — a great noise that reminds them of being back in the womb,” he says. “This is also a great chance to give your partner a few hours to relax after what is likely a long day.”

  4. Read to your baby.
    If you read to your child 30 minutes a day, by the time he reaches kindergarten he will have learned 500 words or more, according to the NRFC. Soothe your crying baby. Crying is not an emergency, it's just your baby's way of telling you she needs something. Figuring out what she needs is a guessing game. “Just calmly try things until something works," says Dr. Jason Guichard, a cardiologist and father of three.

  5. Practice basic baby care.
    “Learn how to bathe, feed, diaper, hold and comfort a baby. All of these activities will build a father’s confidence and enhance bonding with the child," says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (

  6. Take your baby with you.
    Everywhere. Anywhere. “Its important for dad to bring the baby into his life. If he has to go to the bank, take the baby,” says Armin Brott, father and author of several books on fatherhood, including “The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year” (

  7. Do diaper duty.
    “During a diaper change is when you have a full, uninterrupted view of your child, and your newborn has one of you,” says Ginsberg, who recommends that you talk with your newborn during changings. “You may want to sing a song, or describe body parts and things to your baby,” he says.

  8. Get down with baby.
    “Tummy time” is important as your baby grows. And during this time, when your baby is on her stomach strengthening her neck and back muscles, give her something to look at by getting down on the floor with her. “Most newborns can only tolerate 5 to 10 minutes at a time, but this is fun to experience and best when you get low on the ground and put your head at your baby’s head level,” says Ginsberg.

  9. Jump in.
    “Nobody ever gets it right 100 percent of the time,” says Brott of fatherhood. “Men and women have the same natural instincts when it comes to caring for babies,” suggests Brott. The difference is most dads must return to work before mom’s maternity leave is complete — preventing them from having the same opportunity as mom to practice baby care skills. The cure? Dads should strive to spend as much time with baby as they can. As Brott says, the only cure for nervous new dads is to jump in and learn from their mistakes.

  10. Share your hobbies with baby.
    It is never too early to start. Connect with your little one through your own interests — like sports. “As long as the baby is healthy and the venue isn't too loud, you can take the baby to sporting events,” Brott says. Take photos and recordings. “Especially of those little ‘coos’ and ‘ahhs” that your baby makes when they try to find their voice,” suggests Ginsberg. “Just like you probably thought the ultrasound heartbeat was the sweetest sound in the world, when you hear those coos you’ll want to capture that forever.”

  11. Be yourself.
    Play and interact with your newborn the way that feels right for you. Don’t be afraid to develop your own parenting style — separate from your partner. You’ll forge a strong and meaningful connection with your baby that’s all your own.

Image: Thinkstock


Stories of Fatherhood --Grandfathers Pass Down Their Wisdom

We've all heard that father knows best…but what about grandfather? The senior generation, it seems, has a wealth of wise words about raising children and embracing the role of parenting. We talked to some to get their best advice.

Gabriel Constans is practical. He acknowledges that until his own kids were “in the midst of the joys and hardships of loving and raising a child, it is almost impossible to give any advice that will make any sense.”

Only then will they be able to realize this universal truth: “There is nothing more important to society, and the world, than raising self-secure, happy and kind children,” says Constans, a grandfather of five from Santa Cruz, CA.

“Being a good parent is a continual act of being selfless, and thinking about another person first. If one chooses, it can be the most intense and constant opportunity for self-discovery, insight and growth. By paying close attention to ourselves, and our reactions to the needs of another, we are able to let a lot of our ‘selves’ go and be present in the moment for our son, daughter, or children.”

Being a parent is not easy, he concedes. “In fact, it is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and one of the most rewarding; challenging me to honor my daughter or son’s individual path and growth, without imposing my desires or expectations on to them.”

“Being parents is an enormous responsibility and a big gift requiring a lot of time,” says four time grandfather Steve Sonntag. He suggests that before becoming parents it’s a good idea to decide how you are going to divide the responsibilities: “Who is going to do what, such as waking up in the middle of the night, buying food, and anything else, because once this is done, each parent knows what needs to be done and when. Of course, there needs to be flexibility based on what is happening with the baby at any given time.”

Plus, he says, couples should make sure to “give each other time away from home not only to do errands, but also to enjoy some time to meet friends and family for coffee, a meal, a movie and have fun for an hour or two without baby.”

Author Mark Goulston, who hopes to become a grandparent within the next year, says he has some unexpected advice to share with his daughter “that she won't want to hear and would do better to hear from her mother."

Dr. Goulston, who speaks to parents about how to raise a happy, healthy and emotionally strong child has this advice: “Vent to him, complain to him, share your worries if you need to, but make sure you also express appreciation to him for being a person you can vent to and for handling it all so well.”

Image : Getty


The Most Precious Hug I’ve Ever Witnessed

I’ve never been a hugger. I’m not really sure why, but I’ve just never really loved hugs. I feel loved more through quality time, a well-timed compliment, or a thoughtful gesture. My husband, on the other hand, loves a good hug. My mother-in-law once told me that even as a little boy, he had absolutely no space bubble. He loved nothing more than to cuddle up on her lap, reading books all the live long day.

As you can imagine, my non-hugging ways and his hugging ones are sometimes at odds. Over the years we’ve been married, I’ve become more of a hugger, but even before having kids, he would mention how excited he was to have kids, because maybe — just maybe — one of them would end up being a snuggly, hug-lover too.

About four years into our marriage, our oldest daughter arrived and we became parents for the first time. We were over the moon and completely smitten with her. My husband was elated to be a father and was so sweet and attentive to her every need. As she grew though, as much as she did love her Daddy, she proved that she had taken after her mama in the snuggling department. Much to my husband’s disappointment, she wasn’t exactly the hugger he had been hoping for — though she did have plenty of other redeeming qualities.

I felt a little bit sad that fate had dealt him a raw deal with two loves in his life who did not share his affinity for cuddling, but he held out hope that perhaps one of our other future offspring might fill the void one day. Then, when our daughter was two-and-a-half, we welcomed Baby #2 into the world: our sweet, little Clive.

Clive could not have been more different from his big sister. Where she was often stoic and not easily impressed, he was gregarious and loved being engaged. She didn’t laugh for the first time until she was nearly 6 months old, but he laughed easily and often starting early, before 3 months. She was a curly-haired brunette and he had the lightest blonde, stick straight hair. She was dainty and delicate and more cautious; he was a bit like a bull in a china shop — bulldozing through his days with gusto. The most notable difference though, was that this kid LOVED to cuddle. If he could’ve been snuggled all day long, he would’ve been perfectly happy. He loved to be held and snuggled and would happily sit in our laps for as long as we would engage him. He adored (and still does adore) any and all human contact.

As you can imagine, this development thrilled my husband’s heart. He had finally gotten his snuggly baby, and I will never forget the first time Clive went up and hugged him completely out of the blue and of his own volition.

My husband was making our daily espresso at his coffee bar as we rushed to get ready for church one Sunday morning. As he was distractedly pulling shots and pouring them into cups, he noticed a tugging on his leg. He looked down to see Clive there, putting his arms up saying, “Hug you Dada.” It was such a sweet thing to see, as my husband abandoned his coffee pot and crouched down to our son’s level for the most precious hug I’ve ever witnessed. The pure joy that washed over my husband’s face and the look of complete peace on my son’s face as they shared this hug will forever be stored away in my mama-memory-bank. They hugged for a good 20-30 seconds, and I was able to pull my phone out of my pocket and quickly capture the moment in a photo. I’m so glad I did, because it is one that I look back at often, telling my husband, “Awww! Remember that?”

My husband is so thankful he finally got his “hugger,” and truth be told, our boy’s penchant for nonstop human touch has brought his sister and I around too. Maybe we are huggers now after all.

Image : Disney Baby


Realistic Parenting New Year's Resolutions

Every new year brings an opportunity to look back and think about the good and the not-so-good moments. When it comes to parenting, there are always times we regret and those we cherish. Making resolutions is an opportunity to move past the ones that weren't your best parenting moments and focus on how to create more positive parenting experiences. Making parenting New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be about trying to be the perfect parent, or molding your child into the perfect kid. Instead, focus on what’s actually in your control and give yourself attainable, realistic goals.

Create more fun.

Most kids will tell you it’s the experiences of childhood they remember the most, not the stuff. Think of ways to incorporate more play and family time into your monthly routines. Put on some music and have impromptu dance parties with your little ones, designate a regular family movie night where everyone cuddles up in their pajamas, or if your kids are old enough, including them in the preparation and cooking of family meals, are simple ways to bring everyone together with fun activities.

Be patient, even with yourself. 

It’s easy to lose your cool when you’re juggling a million different chores, kids, responsibilities and expectations. Something has to give, and it's often your last nerve. Resolving to be more patient can take many forms. Practice taking a step back and breathing deeply when you feel the irritation building, delegate more often, and if your kids are older institute a chore chart so the load is shared.

Keep your eye on the big picture.

You are raising future adults who will hopefully be responsible, kind, smart and hard working. But, they will never be perfect. Most kids go through various phases of behavior and different habits – and not all will be wonderful. However, in the end, they will grow up, and most likely not be carrying their blankie off to college or still crawling into your bed at 12 years old. Try to treasure the great moments and put the not-so-great ones in perspective.

Make “me” time.

It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of parenthood, but the best example you can set for your kids is to show that you value yourself. Whether it’s a monthly book club with your friends and a girls’ night out, or a long bath that is your weekly “do not disturb” ritual, or date night with your spouse, make sure you schedule time that is truly just for you.

Setting small achievable goals, the kind that you can check off on a mental (or physical) to-do list, will be more effective than an all caps RESOLUTION. Think about the advice you give your kids when they want to give up on a new task or hobby. If you practice a little every day, keep trying even when you're frustrated, and reward yourself for incremental successful steps, you will find yourself attaining some genuinely blissful parenting moments.  Or at the very least, joyfully making pancakes together on lazy Sunday mornings.

Image: Getty


Cleaning up for guests

It's common, accepted advice: Clean as you go. Put away mail as you open it, wipe down counters as you get them dirty, and wash dishes as you use them. But realistically, that's not always feasible. On occasion, you have friends coming over, and you have exactly five minutes to undo two weeks of damage. Don't worry, all is not lost! Remember, it's okay if your house still looks lived in when you're done with these tips.

Hit the bathroom

People can forgive piles of dishes or dusty baseboards, but chances are, they'll have to use the bathroom. Even when it's unintentional, guests always notice a dirty bathroom. Do you really want them making snap judgments about your cleanliness level (or lack thereof)?

For this reason, one of your top priorities should be removing those scummy lines around the tub and in the toilet. You don't have to deep clean — just tackle the dirt with a blast of cleaning solution. And if all else fails, shut your shower curtain. Also, wiping down the fixtures and counter in your bathroom can make a visible change in the bathroom's appearance.

Clear the sink

If you don't have time to run the dishwasher or wash all your dirty dishes by hand, at least make the pile look presentable. Place them all in the sink and consolidate the mess to lessen the overall untidy and cluttered look of the kitchen. On the other hand, if you have a dishwasher, don't be ashamed to jam-pack all your dishes inside, which is akin to sweeping the mess under your bed.

Sweep or vacuum

A pass over the carpet with a vacuum cleaner will pick up dirt you didn't even know was there. This instantly freshens up the room and is especially crucial if people are going to be sitting on the floor. It's unflattering for your guests to notice a clump of hair or a ball of pet fur on the carpet. If all else fails: Go outside.

Host your bash outside, if possible. Avoid the house altogether! An outdoor barbecue party is always fun (weather permitting). Use paper plates and plastic utensils to create the least amount of work when the party is over. Guests will clean up after themselves if it's easy to find a trash can, so place several trash cans and recycling bins where everyone can find them.


Bringing Sexy Back

Feeling sexy after baby: getting back to you

Pop quiz: the baby's just gone down for the night, and your husband turns to you and gives you...that look. Do you A) whip out your hottest lingerie, or B) roll your eyes and say, "You have GOT to be kidding?"

If your answer is closer to "B" than "A," don't worry, you're not alone. You may have been noticing that when it comes to being "in the mood," an uninterrupted good night's sleep is at the top of your list. Don't fret. It's pretty normal. At some point after their baby is born, many women find themselves wondering if they're ever going to feel amorous or relaxed or desirable again.

Hey, it's understandable. After nine (million) months of pregnancy and taking care of a demanding newborn day and night, it's hard to feel like a sexual being again! You're tired, busy, and you may not be feeling 100% confident about your body.

While lots of new mamas go through a stage where the last thing on their mind is sex, it's important to reconnect with your husband when you're feeling up for it. And if you're starting to wonder if you're ever going to feel up for it, hang in there — there are some painless, baby-step ways to get your mojo back on track!

Indulge yourself

How can you feel sexy when you're constantly working, cleaning and taking care of everyone but yourself? Don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty for taking time away from your child in order to give yourself some attention. It's vital that you give yourself permission to relax and sneak in a little "you time." Ultimately, you'll feel recharged and have more energy for your busy life. After all, the laundry isn't going anywhere (unfortunately).

Here's the deal: it is officially okay to take off that SuperMom cape and focus on yourself. Personal time is important, especially when you need a break from all the demands of motherhood.

Give yourself a fun, feel-good treat: Get your hair done, schedule a full-body massage, get a manicure...whatever lifts your spirits and makes you feel special. A little self-indulgence can go a long way towards reconnecting you with YOU.

Focus on health

If you're feeling overwhelmed with exhaustion, you might need to take a break from your All Baby, All the Time schedule to pay attention to your own needs on the healthy-you front. Are you treating yourself with kindness and care, just like you're doing for your baby? Consider these healthful hints for new moms:

Get your beauty rest. This can be hard with a little one in the house, but after those crazy early newborn months you should be settling into a manageable sleep routine. If you're not getting enough sleep (and let's be honest, what mom is?), try cutting back on the caffeine, even though it may seem counter-productive. Avoid sugar right before bed. Enlist some help from others in your household — maybe someone else can take night duty with the baby for a while.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water truly does a body good. It adds natural moisture to your skin, helps your body flush out waste, and helps rev up your metabolism. If you're not getting enough to drink throughout the day, you're bound to experience some ill effects — dehydration can cause headaches and affect your ability to concentrate. Not only that, but when you're dehydrated, your blood volume is lowered, which makes your heart work harder to supply your body with oxygen. Translation: fatigue.

The "E" word. It may seem like the very last thing you have energy for is exercising, but think of it this way: Getting physical helps you feel more like getting physical (if you know what we mean!). You don't have to launch into a marathon gym routine in order to experience the benefits. You can start by taking your baby out in a stroller a few times a week for a brisk walk. It gets your blood flowing, your heart pumping, and boosts your body image.

Make it a priority

The most important thing you can do in your own personal Bringing Sexy Back campaign is simply to make it a priority. Find a babysitter, and schedule a date night with your husband — no babies allowed! Get dressed up in your favorite wow-'em outfit, even if you'd rather be hanging out in sweatpants. Cut back on overloaded to-do lists if you're feeling like there just isn't time for downtime. Most of all, put your partnership right up there with motherhood. Give it the attention it deserves.

It's not always easy to switch out of Mommy Mode, especially when you might be feeling self-conscious or just plain tired. Remember that keeping your marriage healthy — and feeling good about yourself — is one of the most loving things you can do for your family. Give yourself the gift of reclaiming your inner-babe, because you deserve it!


Going beyond goo goo

What is baby talk?

It's time to confess. I'm a speech-language pathologist who talks "baby talk" to babies. And not only do I enjoy doing so, I maintain that it's good for them.

Baby talk refers to standard vocabulary words that have been modified by grownups to make them easier for Baby to say. They contain easier sounds, shorter syllables and lots of repetition. For example, the baby talk word for stomach is "tum-tum," for good night, "nightie-night," for urinate, "pee-pee" and so on.

In addition to using different words with babies, it's natural for adults to exaggerate pitch, slow the pace, and simplify sentence structure. When a baby enters the room, note how your pitch gets higher and you begin talking silly. This is an instinctive way of communicating with babies, and it makes learning to talk fun for grownups and babies alike.

Baby talk is a variation of adult language, invented by adults and passed on to each generation of babies; its sole purpose being to teach children to talk.

The science of baby talk

Peter Farb, a linguist and anthropologist, carried out a fascinating study about baby talk. He researched the vocabulary of six very different languages — English and Spanish, two Asian languages, Comanche, and the language of a non-literate community in Siberia.

He discovered that every one of these languages had a baby talk vocabulary. While the actual baby talk words differed, of course, from culture to culture, the themes were amazingly similar.

In all languages studied, the baby-talk words referred to eating, sleeping, toileting, good and bad behavior, animal names and terms for close relatives. These are the types of words that are most important in the life of every baby.

My own experience

When my daughter, Isabel, was just beginning to talk, there were many things she wanted to say but couldn't, because the words she needed contained consonant sounds that were too difficult.

For example, at 18 months, one of her favorite treats was popcorn, but she couldn't yet produce the "kuh" sound. Remembering that one of the rules of creating a baby talk word is to simplify, I began to call popcorn "pop-pop." She loved this new word that she could pronounce, and the power it gave her to get what she wanted.

Often Isabel would take the lead in inventing a baby-talk word. As she turned two, she referred to our pet cat "Smokey" as "Mo." A few months later, she began to call him "Mokey" and then finally "Smokey" as she matured and was able to pronounce more difficult sounds. Baby talk seemed to help her progress naturally from one speech stage to the next.

There are many benefits to the time-honored tradition of speaking baby-talk to children. Babies get practice with simple sounds and short syllables as well as lots of opportunity for repetition. Don't miss out on using these special words with your baby.

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