Questions From New Moms and Dads About Their Babies, Books and Language

I just talked to a group of new moms and dads at Greenwich Hospital. I love it when dads come and we actually had three! Here were some of their questions:

  • My husband and I are speaking different languages to our baby. He speaks Spanish and I speak English. How about when we talk to each other when the baby is around? Obviously you have to speak in the language that you both share which is English in this case. Your baby will be able to separate the two languages and understand that when you two talk it will be English. Just keep the languages separate by person and place. Mom only speaks English to her baby and Dad only speaks Spanish. Grandma’s house might be a place where only Spanish is spoken.
  • When I read to my baby, she doesn’t look at the book but looks at my face.  That is fine. I demonstrated reading a book to two 3 month-old babies. One watched my face exclusively and the other looked at the book the whole time. Your baby is receiving lots of information and language through both methods.
  • What should I do when I am reading to my baby and she gets fussy? You should stop.Always have reading with your child be a positive, enjoyable experience. Put down the book and start up the reading at another time when she is more rested, well-fed and interested.
  • My baby doesn’t pay attention to a book, but then I realized he will listen when he is on his changing table so sometimes I spend an hour reading to him there. Hooray for this mom! She has discovered where her baby is relaxed and attentive and she is taking advantage of that incurring a warm and inviting reading time. One mom found that when her baby was in his bouncy seat he was the most responsive to books so she would read to him there.
  • My baby isn’t awake much. How do I play and read with her? This mom’s baby is 6 weeks old. Her baby is going to start staying awake longer so Mom and baby will get into a little rhythm of feeding, changing, and reading, talking and play. These little play times will extend as your baby gets older and you will enjoy holding up a toy and talking about it or reading to your baby.

I always encourage new moms and dads to find a group to share their questions, joys and challenges. It is fun to listen to the moms and dads problem-solve about feeding, sleeping, reading and playing with their babies.

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