Baby's Growth and Development

As your baby grows and changes before your eyes, see if her development is on track.

A Reading Checklist: Birth Through Age Six

A Reading Checklist: Birth Through Age Six There are many ways to encourage your child to become involved in reading. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help stay on track: For Babies (Six Weeks to One Year) Do I provide a comfortable place for our story time? Is my child happy to be here? read more

Activities with Baby

Activities with Baby"The latest research confirms the importance of what many parents do instinctively, such as reading, cuddling, and talking to their children," says Angie Dorell, director of curriculum at La Petite Academy, the nation's second-largest preschool. The following practices will help ensure a child's healthy brain development.Talk, read, and sing to a child: Communicating with a child gives him a solid basis for learning later. read more

Affectionate Four-Year-Old

Our expert analyzes a husband's negative response to his son's affectionate nature. read more

Air Walk

Air WalkTime 5 minutes Materials Two adults Directions Early steps are even more fun when fun-loving adults lift the toddler into the air as they are walking. In no time, your toddler will be lifting and jumping to help you out. Extensions Walk backwards and do the same thing.Lift your toddler up and spin her around in the air every few steps.Have your toddler walk forward or backwards with his feet on top of yours. read more

Appetite and Growth Spurts in Your Breastfed Baby

Appetite and Growth Spurts in Your Breastfed BabyAn appetite spurt is the name given to describe a period of increased frequency of demand feedings by an apparently hungry baby. Other names for appetite spurts are "growth spurts" or "frequency days." These episodes occur with some predictability at approximately three weeks, six weeks, and three months, although they can happen at any time during breastfeeding. read more

Baby Bookworms! 7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers

Did you know that reading to your baby can boost his brain power? The American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy in June 2014 advising that parents regularly read aloud to kids from infancy through at least age 5 because it stimulates development, supports the parent/child bond, and helps build language, literacy, and social/emotional skills at a critical time in children's lives. Plus, it's just plain fun! Get some simple tips to make the most of story time with your tot. read more

Baby's First Steps

Baby's First Steps Q-tip Your child still needs plenty of time to practice his moves. Let him crawl around to his heart's content in safe rooms; don't constantly transfer him from high chair to walker to stroller to crib. Put him on the floor for most of the day. Encourage him to wander and explore and then to stop and examine whatever he finds (though make sure beforehand that anything he's likely to find will be safe). read more

Baby's First Steps: On Shaky Ground

Baby's First Steps: On Shaky Ground Childproofing Your baby needs constant supervision throughout the second year. Your child is not only mobile now, but also full of curiosity and wonder. So if you leave your crawler or toddler alone in a room—even just for a minute to answer the phone or get yourself a glass of water—she can quickly get into trouble. She'll empty out your rack of CDs or videos and somehow remove each one from its case. She'll dump wastepaper baskets. read more

Baby's Milestones: From Tummy Time to Cruising

Baby's Milestones: From Tummy Time to Cruising Your baby's physical development can be tracked by her change in movement. Your baby first begins to roll from one side to the other, and then back again. Then your baby learns to sit. Maybe scooting comes next, followed by crawling. The stage between crawling and walking is called cruising. This is where your baby holds on to furniture, people, or whatever she can grab to support herself while she moves around. read more

Beanbag Toss

Beanbag TossTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Large laundry basketPlastic sandwich bags or old socksPackage of dry beans Directions read more

Blow a Kiss

Blow a KissTime 5 minutes Materials None Directions You can teach your baby to give a gift of love as you blow a kiss to her and encourage copying blowing a kiss by spreading open your arms and saying, "Blow me a kiss." Extensions Help your baby copy you and blow a kiss back.Blow kisses to each other in front of the mirror. read more

Brain Atrophy

When a diagnosis of brain atrophy is given, the physician who gave this diagnosis should be available to answer questions. Early intervention services can also be helpful. read more

Buzzy Bee

Buzzy BeeTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions Communications can be fun when they are silly. While holding your baby on your lap, move your fingers around in the air and make a buzzing sound. Make thebuzzy bee land on your baby's tummy with a tickle. Repeat for as long as your baby is interested. Extensions read more

Calm Down

Calm DownTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions To get your child to listen to you, get down on their eye level and speak slowly while making eye contact. Keep what you have to say simple and short. Extensions The next time you are shopping and see a child fussing about something, talk quietly to your child about her behavior. Practice making eye contact with your child by a silly game of staring into each other's eyes. read more

Can You Hear Me?

Can You Hear Me?Time 5 to 10 minutes Materials Large pieces of furniture to hide behind Directions In this variation of peekaboo, you hide behind a piece of furniture. Call your baby by name, grabbing their attention before you pop out. Extensions Play this game by calling from a nearby room. Play this game using a large bath towel to cover your head. Peek out from the side of your baby's bed after naptime. read more

CDC Recommends Use of New Growth Chart for Babies Under Two

CDC Recommends Use of New Growth Chart for Babies Under TwoDo you worry where your baby falls on "the charts?" If you're a new mom, you've no doubt waited anxiously as your child's pediatrician weighs and measures your baby, and rattles off a percentage as though giving him a score. Well that "score" is probably about to change. Making the switch read more

Change It

Change ItTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Cupboard with safe items that can be removed Directions To engender curiosity and safe exploration, make it a habit to put heavy breakable items in overhead cabinets and safe objects in the lower ones and encourage rummaging through them. Good low level candidates include pots and pans, cookie sheets, small canned goods, bottled items, paper bags and small boxes, potatoes. Extensions read more

Climb Aboard

Climb AboardTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions By positioning yourself on the floor in a playful position, you invite a decision to participate.While lying on the floor, call your crawling baby to come play with you.Let your baby approach and initiate the rest of the game, such as climbing on top of you. Extensions read more

Communicating with Your Baby

Communicating with Your Baby Your infant still cannot communicate through words, but she has other means of letting you know what she thinks, feels, or wants. Crying, of course, still serves your baby well as a means of communicating her needs. By around five months, however, your baby begins to communicate in other nonverbal ways. She also increasingly uses facial expressions and gestures to get her message across. read more

Dads and Paternity Leave

Dads and Paternity LeaveCurrent data on paternity leave shows that despite the enactment of federal and state laws allowing men to take unpaid parental leave, few actually do. It's not a sign that dads care more about their jobs than their kids. For the 50 percent of workers covered under these laws, most simply can't afford to take that amount of unpaid time off from work. The other 50 percent of employees aren't even covered under these laws, and therefore have no rights to paternal leave. read more

Early Conversations

Early ConversationsTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions Babies are fascinated with faces and voices, and your first communications are through the sounds you make and the nearness of your face. It doesn't matter what you say, as long as you are up close and personal, so chatter away Extensions read more

Echo Excitement

Echo ExcitementTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials MailboxDirections While you are out on a walk, stop at your mailbox, lift up your baby, and as you open the lid, shout inside. The echo is terrific and will bring surprised looks and more calling and echoes. It is likely that this will become a favorite destination for walks. Extensions Take turns hollering into the mailbox.Sing a simple song into it. read more

Expanding Your One to Three-Year-Old's Diet

Expanding Your One to Three-Year-Old's DietEven though he's only one or two years old, it's never too early to help a child begin to develop healthy eating habits. You can do this in part by offering a variety of nutritious foods that are appropriate for your child's developmental stage. For the most part, you can put away the baby food now. After age one, your child can eat just about anything, as long as he's not allergic to it, and as long as it's in kid-friendly form—either pureed, mashed, or cut into small pieces. read more

Floating Catch

Floating CatchTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials Variety of lightweight scarves of different colors and patterns Directions As you sit on the floor together, throw a scarf into the air and catch it in your arms as it floats back down.Throw another scarf and tell your baby to hold out her arms so that it falls there.Continue playing with both of you catching scarves. Extensions read more

Four Months to One Year: Dietary Milestones

Four Months to One Year: Dietary MilestonesBabies change a lot between four and twelve months. During this critical period of growth, an infant's physical development not only affects what they eat, but how. In eight months, infants go from total dependence on breast milk or formula to consuming finger foods and drinking from a sippy cup while sitting up. read more

From Burp Cloth to Briefcase: 12 Tips for New Moms Returning to Work

Returning to work after maternity leave can be difficult for new moms. The stress of leaving your baby, coupled with feelings of guilt and personal expectations, can all add up, leaving you feeling sad, anxious, and stressed. Use these tips to help manage your new work schedule, and find that balance between a satisfying career and a fulfilling home life. read more

Fun with Faces

Fun with FacesTime 5 to 10 minutes Materials None Directions It is always fun for your baby to explore your face. Put your baby's hand on one part of your face or head, such as your nose, mouth, chin, ear, etc. and say what it is. Extensions Take turns going back and forth between the baby's body parts and yours. Talk about what you are doing. Use a stuffed animal or doll to point to body parts. read more

Getting Baby to Sit Up on Her Own

Getting Baby to Sit Up on Her Own At four months (or even earlier), your baby loves it when you pull her to a sitting position. She now has enough control over her back and neck muscles to keep her head from flopping over and leaving her nose in her navel. At first, however, her head might fall backward somewhat while you pull her up. Once upright, though, she can probably hold her head fairly steady. read more

Help Build Your Baby's Muscles

Help Build Your Baby's Muscles By about six months, your baby gains at least some control over most of the muscles in her body. She doesn't really need your help to discover how to use them. She'll develop, practice, and master the physical skills with or without your help. Nonetheless, you may help move along the process (and have a lot of fun doing it) by helping your baby exercise and build her muscles. Here's what you can do: read more

How to Keep Your Crawling Baby Safe

How to Keep Your Crawling Baby Safe Babyproofing Although pressure gates work fine at the bottom of a flight of stairs, they provide inadequate protection at the top of the stairs. If your baby falls into a pressure gate, uses it to pull himself up to his knees or feet, or even just pushes hard, he may pop it right out of place and crash down the stairs with it. So be sure to install a safety gate that bolts into the wall or newel post at the top of the stairs. read more