Your Baby

Fussy Baby: Walking or Rocking Most Calming?

2.00 to read

When your baby cries should you pick him or her up and walk or find a good rocking chair and rock back and forth? A new study from Japan says that infants respond best when mom (or any caregiver) picks them up and walks around.

Researchers said that the babies’ rapidly beating hearts also slowed down, proving that they felt calmer.

"Infants become calm and relaxed when they are carried by their mother” said study researcher Dr. Kumi Kuroda, who investigates social behavior at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan. Interestingly, the study also observed the same response in baby mice.

For the study, researchers monitored the responses of 12 healthy infants ages 1 month to 6 months. The scientists wanted to discover the most effective way for mothers to calm a crying baby over a 30-second period — simply holding the baby or carrying the infant while walking.

Results showed that infants carried by walking mothers were the most relaxed and soothed compared to babies whose mothers sat in a chair and held them. As a mother stood up with her cradled her baby and started to walk, scientists observed an automatic change in the baby’s behavior.  

These results held even after the researchers took into account other factors, such as the child's age and sex, and the mother's age and walking speed.

Kuroda said she was surprised by the strength of the calming effect. Researchers noted that the rhythm of walking might be more effective in soothing infants than any other rhythmic motion, including rocking.

Babies cry for a variety of reasons. If an infant is hungry or in pain, they’ll most likely start crying again when they are laid back down. But sometimes a baby just feels a little anxious or unsure about their environment and will relax when held close and comforted. Kuroda acknowledged carrying might not completely stop the crying, but it may prevent parents from becoming frustrated by a crying infant.

The findings may also have implications for the parenting technique of letting babies cry in order to help them learn how to “soothe themselves”.

"Our study suggests why some babies do not respond well to the 'cry-it-out' parenting method," Kuroda said.

Babies crying during separation and maternal carrying are both built-in mechanisms for infant survival. These behaviors have been hard-wired for millions of years. "Changing these reactions would be possible as infants are flexible, but it may take time," she said.

While the study looked at a baby’s response to its mother, Kudro said the calming effect was not specific to moms. Dads, grandparents and caregivers were able to provide the same calming effect by carrying the baby and walking

Many moms and dads instinctively know to pick up a baby that’s crying, hold them close, pace around while gently patting baby on the back. This study just points out that if your baby is really upset, walking about may have a faster calming effect than rocking or sitting in a chair.  Plus it adds more evidence that simply ignoring a baby while he or she cries isn’t going to teach them how to soothe themselves. We all need a hug and a gentle pat on the back when we’re upset. Babies need it maybe even a little more.

The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.

Source: Carl Nierenberg, http://www.today.com/moms/carry-study-finds-its-good-

Your Baby

Danger! Lidocaine and Teething Babies

2.00 to read

If you’ve ever received a prescription for lidocaine, you might be tempted to try it on your teething baby to ease the pain. Lidocaine solution is sometimes used to reduce a child’s gag reflex during dental procedures and to treat mouth and throat ulcers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to parents about using a lidocaine solution as a pain reliever on babies’ gums, saying it can lead to death and serious injuries in infants and toddlers.

"When too much viscous lidocaine is given to infants and young children or they accidentally swallow too much, it can result in seizures, severe brain injury, and problems with the heart," the statement said.

Overdoses or accidental swallowing have led to infants and children being hospitalized or dying, the FDA said.

While the number is not high, some parents or caregivers have tried it as a gum pain reliever during teething. There have been 22 reports this year of serious complications, including deaths, in children ages 5 months to 3 to 5 years who were given lidocaine or accidently swallowed it.

The agency will require a boxed warning on the label for prescription oral viscous lidocaine 2 percent solution to highlight that it should not be used for teething pain, the FDA said in a statement.

Instead of lidocaine, the FDA urges parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatricians' (AAP) recommendations for treating teething pain. They call for using a teething ring, or gently massaging the child's gums with your finger.

Other products containing benzocaine are sometimes used for oral pain relief. The FDA recommends against using these products for children under 2 years of age except under a physician’s supervision. Like viscous lidocaine, benzocaine is a local anesthetic.

The AAP offers these tips for helping your child through the discomfort of teething.

  • Give her firm objects to chew on—teething rings or hard, unsweetened teething crackers. Frozen teething toys should not be used; extreme cold can injure your baby’s mouth and cause more discomfort.
  • If your baby is clearly uncomfortable, talk to your pediatrician about a possible course of action. Your pediatrician may suggest that you give a small dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

The first thing a parent wants to do when they see their baby in pain is to find a way to relieve the discomfort. Teething is one of those times that can be trying for everyone involved. Babies can start teething as early as 3 months.

Pain relievers that are used on a baby’s gums aren’t typically very helpful; a teething baby drools so much that the medication is quickly washed away. In addition, pediatricians warn that such medications can numb the back of the throat and interfere with your baby’s ability to swallow.

Rubbing your baby’s gums or providing a safe teething ring can help ease your infant’s pain until those pesky teeth break through and the gums heal.

Sources: Ian Simpson, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/26/us-usa-fda-teething-idUSKBN0F129120140626

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/Teething-Pain.aspx

Your Baby

Does Your Baby Spit Up A Lot?

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About half of infants spit up on a regular basis, and usually it’s not an indication that there’s a medical problem. More than likely, your little one has either more food in his or her tummy than it can hold or they have taken in too much air with the breast milk or formula. 

Watching their newborn spit up frequently can be kind of scary for new parents but experts agree that for the most part, there’s nothing to worry about- it’s normal.

"Seventy percent of infants under 3 months will spit up three times a day, and it's even perfectly normal for them to be spitting up as often as 10 or 12 times," says William Byrne, MD, chief of pediatric gastroenterology at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, in Portland, Oregon.

The most common reason is that the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, which opens and closes to let food into the stomach, is still very weak at this age -- so it's easy for stomach contents to escape and come back up. Your baby is most likely to spit up after a feeding, but this can also happen when she cries or coughs forcefully.

By 6 months babies have mostly outgrown spitting up especially when they start eating more solid foods and sitting up.

There are things you can do to help reduce baby’s spitting up. Start by making sure you’re not overfeeding your baby. If breastfeeding, check to see if your infant is latched on correctly so that less air goes down with the milk.

If she's formula-fed, consider using a product that reduces bottle-induced gas, such as a bottle with liners that collapse as your baby sucks. If your baby is 4 months or older and your pediatrician approves, you can try thickening the formula to help it sit better in his stomach (mix in a tablespoon of rice cereal for every 4 ounces of formula).

Keep your baby in an upright position and as still as possible for at least 30 minutes following each feeding so that the food can travel out of the stomach and into the small intestine.

You can reduce spitting up by burping your baby after every 1 to 2 ounces or 5 to 10 minutes of feeding. If you don’t get a burp within a few minutes, then baby probably just doesn’t need to burp.

There are times when spitting up can indicate that there is a medical problem. It’s normal for infants to experience gastroesophageal reflux (GER), usually referred to as reflux. However, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD is different. GERD is a more serious condition that can cause a baby a lot of pain. If your baby won't eat, isn't gaining weight, is extremely irritable, suffers from forceful projectile vomiting, or develops respiratory problems from aspirating food, he may have GERD.

If your baby is having symptoms of GERD take him or her to your pediatrician for a true diagnosis. Your doctor will be able to recommend the correct treatment.

If your newborn is spitting up frequently, don’t panic- it’s normal. Just keep those washcloths and burping pads handy to protect your clothing!

Sources: Parents Magazine, http://www.parents.com/baby/feeding/problems/spit-up-faqs/

http://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/food-and-nutrition-news-316/when-babies-spit-up-don-t-panic-696541.html

http://www.babycenter.com/0_why-babies-spit-up_1765.bc?page=1

Your Baby

Walmart Recalls Baby Dolls Due to Burn Hazards

1.45 to read

Twelve children have suffered incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters from “The My Sweet Love” and “My Sweet Baby” dolls sold nationwide at Walmart stores and online.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Walmart is now recalling these dolls. Consumers should immediately take the dolls from children, remove the batteries and return the doll to any Walmart store for a full refund.

The circuit in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.

The My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby electronic baby doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat. The 16-inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. The doll’s electronics cause her to babble when she gets “sick,” her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop. “My Sweet Baby” is printed on the front of the clear plastic and cardboard packaging.

The doll is identified by UPC 6-04576-16800-5 and a date code that begins with WM. The date code is printed on the stuffed article label sewn into the bottom of the doll.

Walmart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

About 174,000 dolls are being recalled and were sold from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.00.

Consumers can contact Walmart Stores at (800) 925-6278 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, or online at www.walmart.com and click on Product Recalls for more information.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Wal-Mart-Recalls-Dolls/#remedy

Walmart Doll Recall

Your Baby

223,000 Peg Perego Strollers Recalled

1:45 to read

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Peg Perego USA Inc., of Fort Wayne, Ind., is announcing a voluntary recall of about 223,000 strollers due to a risk of entrapment and strangulation.

A 6-month-old baby boy from Tarzana, Calif. died of strangulation after his head was trapped between the seat and the tray of his Peg Perego stroller in 2004. Another baby, a 7-month-old girl from New York, N.Y., nearly strangled when her head became trapped between the seat and the tray of her stroller in 2006.

Entrapment and strangulation can occur, especially to infants younger than 12 months of age, when a child is not harnessed. An infant can pass through the opening between the stroller tray and seat bottom, but his/her head and neck can become entrapped by the tray. Infants who become entrapped at the neck are at risk of strangulation.

The recall involves two different older versions of the Peg Perego strollers, Venezia and Pliko-P3, manufactured between January 2004 and September 2007, in a variety of colors. They were manufactured prior to the existence of the January 2008 voluntary industry standard which addresses the height of the opening between the stroller's tray and the seat bottom. The voluntary standard requires larger stroller openings that prevent infant entrapment and strangulation hazards.

Only strollers that have a child tray with one cup holder are part of this recall. Strollers with a bumper bar in front of the child or a tray with two cup holders are not included in this recall.

The following Venezia and Pliko-P3 stroller model numbers that begin with the following numbers are included in this recall. The model number is printed on a white label on the back of the Pliko P-3's stroller seat and on the Venezia stroller's footboard.

Pliko-P3 Stroller Model Numbers: IPFR28US3, IPFT28NA63, IPFT28NA64, IPP328MU10, IPP328MU09, IPP328US09, IPP328US10, IPP329US10, IPPA28US32, IPPA28US33, IPPA28US34, IPPD28NA34, IPPF28NA32, IPPF28NA57, IPPF28NA65, IPPF28NA66, IPPF28NA67, IPPF28NA68, IPPO28US32, IPPO28US34, IPPO28US62, IPPO28US69, IPPO28US70, IPPO28US71

Venezia Stroller Model Numbers: IPVA13MU09, IPVA13MU10, IPVA13US09, IPVA13US10, IPVA13US32, IPVA13US34, IPVC13NA32, IPVC13NA34

"Peg Perego" and "Venezia" or "Pliko-P3" are printed on the side of the strollers.

The strollers were sold at various retailers nationwide, including Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby from January 2004 through September 2010 for between $270 and $330 for the Pliko P-3 stroller and between $350 and $450 for the Venezia stroller. They were manufactured in Italy.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers and contact the firm for a free repair kit. Do not return the stroller to the retailers as they will not be able to provide the repair kit.

For additional information, call Peg Perego at (888) 734-6020 anytime or visit the firm's website at www.PegPeregoUSA.com

CPSC and Peg Perego warn consumers that these strollers may be available on the secondhand market, in thrift stores or at yard sales. Consumers should not buy or sell these recalled strollers until the repair kit is installed.

NOTE: When using a stroller, parents and caregivers are encouraged to always secure children by using the safety harness and never leave them unattended. To learn more about the importance of stroller safety, see CPSC's safety alert: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5096.pdf

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12232.html

Your Baby

Longer Breast-Feeding Time, Less Childhood Obesity

2:00

A new study looks at the duration of breast-feeding and babies who are high risk for obesity, as they get older. Researchers found that the longer mothers breast –fed these higher risk babies, the less likely the babies were to become overweight later.

"Breast-feeding for longer durations appears to have a protective effect against the early signs of overweight and obesity," said lead researcher Stacy Carling, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y.

Carling and her colleagues followed 595 children from birth to the age of 2. They tracked the children's weight and length over this time, and compared individual children's growth trajectories to how long the children breast-fed.

Which children are considered at high risk for extra weight gain? Researchers found that babies whose mothers were overweight or obese, mothers with lower education levels and mothers who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have overweight children. Almost 59 percent of the children at risk for being overweight had mothers with one or more of these characteristics, compared to about 43 percent of the children not at risk for excessive weight gain.

Higher-risk babies who breast-fed for less than two months were more than twice as likely to gain extra weight than those who breast-fed for at least four months.

Although the study didn’t prove that longer breast-feeding actually reduced risk for obesity, it did provide several reasons why the link between the two may exist.

"Breast-feeding an infant may allow proper development of hunger and satiety signals, as well as help prevent some of the behaviors that lead to overweight and obesity," Carling said.

"Breast-feeding, especially on demand, versus on schedule, allows an infant to feed when he or she is hungry, thereby fostering an early development of appetite control," she said. "When a baby breast-feeds, she can control how much milk she gets and how often, naturally responding to internal signals of hunger and satiation."

The study did not include information on whether the babies were exclusively breast-fed or how often they were getting milk at the breast versus from a bottle, but the time required to reduce obesity risk was not long.

"The difference of two months of breast-feeding may be enough to reap some benefit," Carling said.

There are many reasons mothers choose to breast-feed for shorter periods, and some mothers are not able to breast-feed at all. For mothers that choose to breast-feed, Carling believes they need to be supported on many levels.

"Ultimately, increasing breast-feeding rates in the United States means increasing knowledge and support at a variety of levels from institutional to interpersonal," Carling said. "Our study recognizes the benefit of longer duration breast-feeding in a specific population and, hopefully, this and other studies will lead to more customized breast-feeding promotion in those populations at higher risk for overweight and obesity."

The findings were published in the January print issue of Pediatrics, and funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

Source: Tara Haelle, http://consumer.healthday.com/women-s-health-information-34/breast-feeding-news-82/breast-feeding-for-longer-may-protect-infants-at-risk-for-obesity-694218.html

Your Baby

A Kinder, Gentler C-Section Birth

2:00

When it comes to having a baby, whether a woman delivers vaginally or by cesarean section, the one thing they have in common is the desire parents have to hold their newborn.

Many women who have had a cesarean section will tell you that the surgical procedure left them feeling like they missed the pivotal moment in giving birth; the physical connection between mother and child.

Oftentimes, the baby is whisked away moments after birth leaving the mother without her newborn.

While C-sections have leveled off in the last couple of years, they are still up 500% since 1970. The reasons for cesarean delivery have changed dramatically from ancient to modern times.

The origins of the cesarean birth are somewhat clouded in mystery, but according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “… the initial purpose was essentially to retrieve the infant from a dead or dying mother; this was conducted either in the rather vain hope of saving the baby's life, or as commonly required by religious edicts, so the infant might be buried separately from the mother. Above all it was a measure of last resort, and the operation was not intended to preserve the mother's life. It was not until the nineteenth century that such a possibility really came within the grasp of the medical profession.”

These days C-sections are performed for a variety of reasons. In most cases, doctors perform cesarean sections when problems arise either for the mother or baby or both during birth. However, there are also times when possible health issues are known ahead of time and a C-section can be scheduled to prevent complications.

For the most part, the procedure hasn’t changed much since it began being used in modern times.

During a planned traditional C-section, the woman is given medications to dry the secretions in her mouth, her lower abdomen is washed with an antiseptic solution and possibly shaved. She is given an anesthetic and a screen is placed in front of her face to keep the surgical field sterile – blocking her view of the delivery. She may or may not be able to hold her baby immediately after birth.

A new approach to C-section deliveries may offer some families an option they never dreamed possible.

Doctors and nurses at the Center for Labor and Birth at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed new procedures to make the C-section more family-centered. Dr. William Camann, Director of Obstetric Anesthesiology, explained that the goal of the family-centered cesarean, or “gentle-C,” is to make the delivery as natural as possible.

For example, Dr. Camann realized that by using both clear and solid sterile drapes, obstetricians could switch the solid drape for the clear one just before delivery and allow mom to see her baby being born.

“We also allow mom a free arm and place the EKG leads on her back so that she is able to hold, interact, and provide skin-to-skin contact with her baby in the moments following the birth,” said Camann, who teamed up with BWH registered nurse Kathy Trainor, to make this option available to patients and their families.

Skin-to-skin touch isn’t just an emotional fulfillment for the mother, research has shown that normal term newborns that are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers immediately after birth do better physically and psychologically as well.

“Allowing mom and baby to bond as quickly as possible after the delivery makes for a better transition for the baby, including better temperature and heart rate regulation, increased attachment and parental bonding and more successful rates of breast feeding,” Trainor said.

With the updated procedure, dads can also hold and touch their newborn. 

Camann acknowledges that changes in the traditional cesarean section require some readjusting from the hospital medical staff.

“It requires (doctors and nurses) to just think a little bit differently than the way they have usually done things,” Camann said. “Once they see this, they usually realize it’s really not that difficult.”

Nationwide, the procedure is starting to take hold as more hospitals begin offering the "gentle-C".

Camann says that the procedure isn’t recommended for every C-section birth. He also emphasizes that it’s not in any way meant to promote more C-sections.

 “We would all like to do fewer C-sections. But there are women who need a C-section for various medical reasons and if you do need a cesarean, we want to make this a better experience,” he said.

Sources: http://healthhub.brighamandwomens.org/the-gentle-cesarean-a-new-option-for-moms-to-be#sthash.hxehc5es.dvbG5DgD.dpbs

A. Pawlowski, http://www.today.com/parents/family-centered-gentle-c-section-turns-birth-surgery-labor-or-2D80542993

http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/what-to-expect-cesarean-delivery

Your Baby

RSV Season in Full Swing

1.45 to read

Every year, up to 80,000 babies are hospitalized nationwide and about 500 die due to RSV-related illnesses. The virus may produce permanent health conditions such as asthma and breathing disorders.During the next few months, parents are urged to watch for signs of a lung infection that could turn deadly or cause lifelong health problems in their infants.

From late fall until early spring is the peak season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the leading cause of pneumonia and Bronchiolitis in infants. "Approximately 70 percent of children will contract RSV by the end of their first year," says Dr. Michael E. Speer, medical director of quality and outcomes management at Texas Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics in the section of neonatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. "By the time a child is 2 years old, that number rises to 97 percent. In addition, the risk of re-infection between the ages of 1 and 2 years is 76 percent." Every year, up to 80,000 babies are hospitalized nationwide and about 500 die due to RSV-related illnesses. The virus may produce permanent health conditions such as asthma and breathing disorders. "RSV can be especially dangerous to at-risk babies," says Dr. Speer. "This population includes premature infants, children 2 years and younger with chronic lung disease and patients who take medications for heart conditions." Speer credits improved care, such as the use of prophylactic immunization, for a decrease in the volume of seriously ill babies and fatalities in the last few years. Although RSV has no cure, monthly injections of the preventive vaccine – a monoclonal antibody known as Synagis – may reduce the risk of hospitalization. "Even if a child gets RSV while on Synagis, it's worthwhile to continue the medication, because there is more than one strain of RSV," says Dr. Speer. What to Watch For Dr. Sue Hubbard, medical editor of www.kidsdr.com says the signs of RSV initially, may resemble those of a cold, such as fever and runny nose. As the disease takes hold, symptoms may worsen. In younger children, especially infants and toddlers, RSV can affect their lungs, causing Bronchiolitis or pneumonia. These children can develop more severe symptoms after about 2 to 4 days of having regular cold symptoms and after their fever may have gone away, including: •       Irritability and poor feeding •       Lethargy •       Worsening cough •       Difficulty breathing, with retractions and nasal flaring •       Fast breathing •       Wheezing •       Hypoxemia (low oxygen levels), although cyanosis, is not common •       Apnea, although this is most common in infants under 6 weeks of age Be sure to call your pediatrician or seek other medical attention if your child's cold seems to be worsening and you think he is developing more Because RSV is spread easily through the respiratory tract, parents are urged to keep their babies away from any person with a cold or fever. Other precautionary advice to family members and caregivers includes washing hands thoroughly before handling the baby, avoiding crowded areas and never exposing the baby to tobacco smoke. RSV Facts RSV is the most common virus that occurs in babies. The leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in infants, RSV is especially dangerous to at-risk babies, including infants born prematurely, children with chronic lung disease and patients who take medication for heart conditions. The RSV season begins in late fall and extends through early spring. During this time, up to 80,000 infants are hospitalized nationwide and approximately 500 die from RSV-related illnesses. RSV is spread easily from person to person through respiratory tract secretions. Symptoms initially may resemble those of a cold, such as fever and runny nose. As the disease worsens, symptoms can include coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing and rapid breathing. Although not a cure, monthly injections of the monoclonal antibody Synagis for high risk babies – a preventive vaccine – may reduce the risk of hospitalization.  This vaccine is very expensive. Do your homework and consult your pediatrician.

Your Baby

Daydreaming Newborns?

Babies are born with an important collection of fully formed brain networks, including one linked to introspection, a new study shows.Ever wonder what’s going on in that tiny little newborn’s brain? According to a new study, he or she could be daydreaming about the future.

Babies are born with an important collection of fully formed brain networks, including one linked to introspection, a new study shows. The findings challenge previous ideas about early-stage brain development and activity. Scientists at the MRC Clinical Sciences Center at Imperial College London used functional MRI to examine the brains of 70 babies born at between 29 and 43 weeks. The scans showed that full-term babies have adult-equivalent resting state networks. These are connected systems of neurons that are always active, even when a person is not focusing on a particular task or is asleep. One fully formed resting state network identified in babies is called the default mode network, which is believed to be involved in introspection and daydreaming. Previous research had indicated this network was incomplete at birth and developed during early childhood. "Some researchers have said that the default mode network is responsible for introspection -- retrieving autobiographical memories and envisioning the future, etc. The fact that we found it in newborn babies suggests that either being a fetus is a lot more fun than any of us can remember -- lying there happily introspecting and thinking about the future -- or that this theory is mistaken," lead author David Edwards said in a news release from Imperial College London. "Our study shows that babies' brains are more fully formed than we thought. More generally, we sometimes expect to be able to explain the activity we can see on brain scans in terms of someone thinking or doing some task. However, most of the brain is probably engaged in activities of which we are completely unaware, and it is this complex background activity that we are detecting," Edwards said. The findings were released online Nov. 1 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This hyperawareness comes with several benefits. For starters, it allows young children to figure out the world at an incredibly fast pace. Although babies are born utterly helpless, within a few years they've mastered everything from language - a toddler learns 10 new words every day - to complex motor skills such as walking. According to this new view of the baby brain, many of the mental traits that used to seem like developmental shortcomings, such as infants' inability to focus their attention, are actually crucial assets in the learning process. In fact, in some situations it might actually be better for adults to regress into a newborn state of mind. While maturity has its perks, it can also inhibit creativity and lead people to fixate on the wrong facts. When we need to sort through a lot of seemingly irrelevant information or create something completely new, thinking like a baby is our best option. "We've had this very misleading view of babies," says Alison Gopnik, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the forthcoming book, "The Philosophical Baby." "The baby brain is perfectly designed for what it needs to do, which is learn about the world. There are times when having a fully developed brain can almost seem like an impediment." Gopnik argues that, in many respects, babies are more conscious than adults. She compares the experience of being a baby with that of watching a riveting movie, or being a tourist in a foreign city, where even the most mundane activities seem new and exciting. "For a baby, every day is like going to Paris for the first time," Gopnik says. "Just go for a walk with a 2-year-old. You'll quickly realize that they're seeing things you don't even notice."

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

What causes white patches on your child's skin?