Even though your baby can’t talk, she will be communicating with you from the second she is born. Eye contact and looking at your face are soon followed by cooing and smiling - and the melting hearts of all around her.
The scientific way of communicating with your baby goes something like this: look into your baby’s eyes from about 20cm to 25cm (8in to 10in) away. This is the best distance for your baby to focus on your face – you don’t need to be up close to make contact. Now smile, chat or sing to your baby while gently touching or stroking her. If you’re talking to your baby, just like in any conversation, wait for her response and watch her reaction. Babies might use their bodies to “talk back”. She might make small movements with her arms or legs – it’s all part of her talking to you. As well as looking at movements, listen. Turn off the TV or radio and really listen to the sounds your baby is making. Even the smallest movements are part of her communication. A good time to have a chat with your baby is after she has been fed. Start doing this as early on as possible. It will help you bond with your baby.
If you’re stuck for conversational topics then a good technique is to chat about what you’re doing, name the objects around you or describe what you can see using simple language. Using a high pitched voice can help also help. Babies respond to the higher tones. Reading books together is important too and can help to fix vocabulary with visual prompts.
Most mothers chat or sing to their babies in the womb at some point during their pregnancy. What was once an instinctive part of motherhood has now been backed up by scientific discovery. New UK research has shown that babies can detect emotions in the voice as young as three months old. The results have advanced the understanding of infant development. They also have implications for identifying the different ways autistic and non-autistic brains develop.
Until now it has been unclear at which point human brains develop the ability to process voices and emotions. In an experiment 21 sleeping babies were tested to see how their brains responded to different types of sounds being played. Scientists used functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI) to record how the babies responded to tapes playing “emotional sounds” such as crying and laughing. They were also played recordings of background noises such as water and the sound of toys. During the tests it was discovered that part of the brain, the temporal cortex, was activated when human voices were played.
This type of brain activity has also been seen in adults in same region of the brain. It was found that the limbic brain region responded strongly to negative or sad sounds but did not differentiate between neutral and happy sounds.
It is hoped that by discovering more about very early brain development scientists can understand what is happening when the growing brain deviates from the norm. Tests are being carried out on babies who have autistic siblings and so are at a high risk of being autistic themselves to discover the point at which their development becomes unusual.
NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines have suggested that the age limit for women in England and Wales to receive IVF treatment on the NHS should be raised to 42. The current age limit for women eligible for treatment is 39. It is also suggested that two new groups, which include same-sex couples and people facing cancer treatment who want to preserve their fertility, should be added to the list of potential patients. Treatment should also be extended to couples who have been trying for a baby for two years rather than the current three year limit. Also added to the list are couples who are unable to have sexual intercourse because of physical disability and those who have infectious diseases such as hepatitis B or HIV.
The heartbreak of infertility affects one in six couples in the UK. In 2010, more than 47,000 women received fertility treatment and about one in 80 babies are born as a result of IVF treatment. The extension in the age limit for IVF treatment will spark debate. There has been a shift towards women having babies later on in life, leaving the choice to have children until their careers are established or they are in a stable relationship with financial security. It is not thought however that many couples will take up the offer of IVF in the 40 to 42 age bracket.
Couples will be offered a single cycle of treatment if they have not received IVF treatment before or it is their last chance of getting pregnant. For women in this age group there is a one in 10 chance (12.5 percent) of having baby using IVF. This compares with a 33 percent chance for women under 35; dropping to 27 percent for women aged 35 to 37 and 19 percent for women aged 38 to 39. The new guidelines also stipulate that only one embryo should be transferred during one cycle of IVF, in the past it has been two. Women will also be able to use frozen embryos in their free NHS cycle of IFV treatment.
Although the guidelines might increase eligibility for IVF for certain groups it doesn’t tackle the post code lottery which affects treatment. Many primary care trusts (PCTs) still do not provide enough funding for IVF. In some parts of the country couples who are eligible for treatment are still denied. Even if your GP may refer you for IVF it is still up to your PCT to decide whether or not to fund it on the NHS. Each cycle or course of IVF costs about £3,000. Many PCTs which refuse funding do so on the grounds that infertility is not a life-threatening condition.
There are numerous baby gifts available on the market today, but in order to add a special touch to your gift, make it personal. When we search for baby gifts, many of us will habitually purchase baby toys and clothes. Whilst these gifts can make useful presents, they are commonplace and the chances are the new parents have already received these presents many times over.
By personalising your baby gift, you are not only making it original, but also ensuring it will stand head and shoulders above all the other gifts. Instead of buying normal clothes, you can buy clothes that have the baby’s name embroidered into the cloth. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the baby’s name either. You can embroider any words that relate to the family or even quote a famous line from history! Either way, the gift is sure to make a memorable impact.
Another great idea for personalised baby gifts is engraved trinkets or cutlery. This could be anything from plates with the baby’s name and date of birth to silver-plated money boxes. You can either engrave the baby’s individual details or a personal message on each ornament to add that personal touch.
If you have pictures of the new baby, then why not invest in silver-plated picture frames. Many of these frames not only include room for the picture, but also provide a number of small spaces around the picture to insert things like the baby’s details or the pictures of parents and siblings. This gift is sure to please the whole family and is likely to become a mantelpiece favourite!
These are just some of the ideas for personalised baby gifts. Buying a memorable personal gift requires some lateral thinking so be sure to have your thinking cap on whenever you are looking for baby gifts!
It close to the end of 2011 and people are preparing for 2012 already so we though we would buck the trend and provide a useful list of the 10 most popular boys names for 2012. If you are expecting a child or you have friends or family on Facebook and twitter then its well worth sharing this page. Who knows you might influence a new babies new name in 2012 for a couple struggling to find that special name suitable.
1. Alexander - The name was one of the titles ("epithets") given to the Greek goddess Hera and as such is usually taken to mean "one who comes to save warriors". In the Iliad, the character Paris is known also as Alexander.The name's popularity was spread throughout the Greek world by the military conquests of King Alexander III, commonly known as "Alexander the Great". Most later Alexanders in various countries were directly or indirectly named for him.
2. Jacob - Jacob is a common male first name and a less well-known surname. Since 1999 and through 2010, Jacob has been the most popular baby name for newborn boys in United States. It is a cognate of James. Jacob is derived from Late Latin Iacobus, from Greek Ἰάκωβος Iakobos, from Hebrew יַעֲקֹב (Yaʿqob, Yaʿaqov, Yaʿăqōḇ), the name of the Hebrew patriarch, Jacob son of Isaac. It is a speaking name, referring to the circumstances of Jacob's birth, meaning "heel-grabber" (from the Hebrew root עקב ʿqb "heel"; literally, it is a finite verb formed from this root, and would translate to something like "he heeled"), since he held on to the heel of his twin brother Esau inside Rebekah's womb.
3. Ethan - Ethan (or Eitan, Eytan or Etan in Hebrew) is a male given name meaning strong, firm, and safe.
4. Noah - was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family (his wife, three sons, and their wives) and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark. He is also mentioned as the "first husbandman" and in the story of the Curse of Ham. Noah is the subject of much elaboration in later Abrahamic traditions. Noah is also mentioned several times in the Quran.
5. Logan - Logan is a given name derived from a Scottish place name meaning "Small, round hill" in Scottish Gaelic. It is also a fairly common surname. Did you know there is a coast town in Dumfries and Galloway called Logan.
6. Liam - Liam is a short form of the Irish Gaelic name Uilliam, itself a derivative of the Frankish Willahelm. The original name was made up of a compound of the Old German elements vila(will or resolution) and helma (helmet), and so means "helmet of will".When the Frankish Empire split in half, the name developed differently in each region. In the French part, Willahelm developed first into Guilielm, and then into Guillaume.
7. Lucas - Lukas or Lucas is the Latin form of the Greek name Loukas, meaning "from Lucania".Gained popularity from the biblical personality and gospel author Saint Luke.
8. Jake - Jake is a modern, short form of the male name Jacob, but can also be a name in itself, as is the case with many people.
9. Owen - St. Owen was bishop of Rouen, France in the 7th century. He was born in Sancy, near Soissons, about 600 AD of a Frankish family. While he was still a child, his family housed and entertained the exiled St. Columban, who greatly influenced his early education. In his youth Owen was sent to the court of St. Clotaire II where he became an outstanding student. He gained the favor of the King and his son, who appointed him chancellor. While in office, Owen steadily opposed the then prevalent practice of simony (the practice of buying and selling ecclesiastical privileges and positions in the Catholic Church).
10. Oliver - From the French Olivier, believed to be an old French version of the Germanic name Alfihar. The name is also associated with the olive tree and therefore peace. Oliver was the 173rd most popular boy's name in the US in 2006, but the third most popular in the UK in 2007. In literature, perhaps the most famous Oliver is Dickens' Oliver Twist.
Oliver Cromwell was the leader of the Parliamentarian army during the English Civil War, and became Lord Protector of England following the execution of Charles I. Other famous bearers include author Oliver Goldsmith, Oliver Hardy - one half of comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, film director Oliver Stone and German footballer Oliver Kahn.
Oliver Tambo was a South African anti-apartheid politician, who worked with Nelson Mandela to provide low-cost legal counsel to blacks prior to Mandela's arrest, and was made President of the African National Congress, the South African anti-apartheid political party, in 1985. Johannesburg International Airport was renamed after him.
A Covent Garden ice cream parlour has had its latest controversial concoction confiscated by Westminster City Council. The ‘Baby Gaga’ ice-cream is produced from donated human breast milk, blended with lemon and vanilla flavouring!
After complaints by concerned members of the public, council officers visited the premises of the Icecreamists parlour in London, and took away all of the Baby Gaga flavoured ice-cream. The Health Protection Agency and the Food Standards Agency had also expressed concerns about the product, which is now being tested for its suitability for human consumption.
A council officer explained that the ice-cream was being tested because foodstuffs made from human bodily fluids could potentially contain viruses such as hepatitis. While it may seem like an unusual choice to use nature’s nutrient-rich gift to babies in the production of frozen dessert, Baby Gaga had actually been flying off the shelves prior to the council intervention.
Icecreamists began selling their newest flavour last week, with breast milk donated from 15 mothers, who were paid £15 per time for a third of a litre of milk. A spokesperson of the London parlour says all the donors were screened, and the ice-cream was fully pasteurised, so there was never any danger.
The parlour say they will protest at the removal of the Baby Gaga product if the current ban continues for any length of time, as they still have many customers asking for this unique flavour. They also claim to have 200 mothers lined up to donate milk for the new ice-cream.
Pint-sized pop starlet Kylie Minogue has hinted at the idea of adoption in order to follow in the footsteps of famous sibling Danni Minogue in becoming a mum. The singer had previously suggested that she may struggle to conceive naturally after suffering from breast cancer.
Kylie is said to be considering either adoption or using a surrogate mother to fulfil her dream of parenthood. She admitted to being broody since her sister gave birth last year, and no doubt the bounty of baby gifts she bought for Danni would have stirred the desire for motherhood.
The star has also dropped hints that she may wed her boyfriend of three years, Spanish model Andres Velencoso Segura, who is 10 years her junior. She told Grazia magazine: “I have a very special man. I might get married, you never know.”
Kylie is about to start another of her trademark extravagant tours, performing 14 times across the UK, but at 42, she will be inevitably be considering her age as a factor in becoming a mother.
This is the first time Kylie has toured since getting the all clear from cancer five years ago, and described the prospect of returning to the road as, “exciting, but also surreal and momentous and a bit scary.”
Celebrity adoption has been well documented in the press in recent years, not always favourably, with the likes of Madonna and Angelina Jolie among the most famous names. However, if Kylie does choose to adopt, the popular star is likely to be given glowing approval all round.
Her situation is one that will be familiar to many women whose lives have been blighted by cancer or any other disease requiring surgeries that can affect the ability to have children. The gift of a baby is one that is sure to make her perfect smile glow even brighter.
Some guys have all the luck, he once sang, and rocker Rod Stewart must be feeling pretty lucky after his charming wife, the model Penny Lancaster, gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday 16 February. Baby Aiden Stewart is the second child of Rod, 66, and Penny, 39, who already have another son, 5 year old Alastair, but he his Rod’s eighth child in all, with six older step siblings from Rod’s previous marriages.
The couple turned to IVF treatment after unsuccessfully trying for a baby for some time, but all has turned out well in the end, as both mother and 7lb 12oz Aiden are said to be healthy and blissfully happy. Penny gave birth to baby Aiden on Wednesday, and released a statement via Hello! Magazine, with whom Penny had spoken previously about the difficulties they had in conceiving.
It’s pretty clear you can’t teach an old dog like Rod any new tricks, he knows most of them already! But fatherhood will be just as taxing on Rod as any other older father. What’s more intriguing is what friends of Rod and Penny will be buying as a newborn baby gift for the proud parents. With Rod’s millions in the bank, and seven kids already, there are forty years of potential hand-me-downs for baby Aiden!
Of course even the man who has everything doesn’t have quite everything, so with a bit of thought and ingenuity there are bound to be some excellent baby gifts being handed to Rod and Penny in the coming weeks from celebrity friends and well-wishers.
Boffins at Bristol University have deduced something most parents could probably have figured out for themselves; that a better diet leads to better brain development in children. It has long been established that healthy eating has an effect on a child’s physical development, but researchers in Bristol have found evidence of a direct link between nutrition and IQ.
A diet that is high in fat and sugar content, as is the case with a lot of the processed convenience foods, has a negative effect on a child’s IQ and brain development in later life.
Nearly 4,000 children were involved in the study, which examined the eating habits of parents and their children at the ages of three, four, seven and eight and a half.
Children whose diet consisted of fresh produce such as meats, vegetables, salads and fruit had a higher average IQ than those raised
on convenience foods. The results of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children are hardly surprising, but this the first time such a widespread study has proved what most parents might already have guessed.
Other factors such as the parents’ level of education, social class and duration of breast feeding were also taken into account. Although the evidence of a link between diet and IQ was very strong, the actual difference in IQ levels is relatively small, only a few
IQ points, but dieticians say the research proves that healthy eating from an early age has significant long term benefits.
As well as a healthy diet, interacting with children and encouraging playful learning has been proven to have a positive influence on a child’s development. Educational toys are an excellent way for parents to nurture a child’s intellectual growth, by providing a
challenge that encourages them to learn as they play. Even for a newborn baby, gifts bought as birthday or Christmas presents can help to encourage a child's phenomenal learning ability and benefit them in later life.
There is still time to get involved in a House of Lords debate on early parenting, which is harnessing the communicative power of the
Internet to put the public in touch with decision makers. Mums and dads in the UK are invited to join the debate on Thursday 3 February, where they will be able to ask direct questions to House of Lords members taking part, including representatives from all three main parties.
The online initiative is intended to give members of the public a platform to have their voices heard, and engage directly with House
of Lords members, who in turn will gain insight into public feeling on key issues affecting parents. The debate could raise some fascinating talking points for parents who have recently had a new baby. Gift horse opportunities to speak to House of Lords members are few and far between.
The BBC’s ‘Have Your Say’ forum will host the debate, which is also being screened on BBC Parliament. Crossbench member Lord
NorthBourne, a regular speaker in the House of Lords, will present several strategies that are being proposed to help disadvantaged parents. He will also raise the important issue of the minority of the nation’s children who are failing to reach their potential in
school, and are subsequently being failed by the system.
Other Members taking part in the debate are Labour’s Baroness Crawley, Lord Hill of Oareford, a Conservative Member and Schools’ Minister at the Department for Education. The Liberal Democrat’s Baroness Benjamin, a former children’s TV presenter best known for her work on Play School, will also be taking part.