Do You Read Me, Baby?

reading to newborn

reading to newbornDear Mr. Dad: I have a two-month old baby and I love to read to him. My wife thinks I’m wasting my time and that there’s no sense reading before he starts learning words. Is it too soon to be reading to my son? If not, what should I read?

You’re definitely not wasting your time. In fact, reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do. Admittedly, for the first few months, your reading won’t seem to be having any effect. And it doesn’t really matter what you read: a Wall Street Journal article, the menu from that Chinese takeout place down the road, or your high school calculus textbook. It’s not about education. Besides being a wonderful opportunity for the two of you to snuggle together, the goal is simply to get him used to the sound of the language and to have him associate reading with comfort and fun.

“When children have been read to, they enter school with larger vocabularies, longer attention spans, greater understanding of books and print, and consequently have the fewest difficulties in learning to read,” writes Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook. If that doesn’t convince your wife, try this: 60 percent of prison inmates are illiterate and 85 percent of juvenile offenders have reading problems. I can’t guarantee that reading to your baby will keep him from getting arrested 13 years from now, but there’s no question that reading is an important habit to develop, and there’s no such thing as “too early” to start.
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Dancing with Your Baby + Love’s Promises


Sue Doherty, author of Dancing with Your Baby.
Topic:
Bonding and better health for you and your baby.
Issues: How touch, music, and movement benefit your baby; the ideal time to introduce your baby to music (hint: it’s before birth) and dance; how dancing with your baby benefits you.
 

 

Martha Ertman, author of Love’s Promises.
Topic:
How formal and informal contracts shape all kinds of families.
Issues: The difference between a “deal” (I cook dinner and you wash the dishes) and an enforceable contract; Type A families (heterosexual couple raising a biologically related child) vs. Type B families (pretty much every other kind of family imaginable); how contracts shape and sustain families as opposed to simply being cold and calculating.

Three Must-Have New Baby Items

SONY DSC

SONY DSCSo the day has come, and you’re holding that tiny, helpless, unbelievably lovable, and completely dependent-upon-you baby in your arms. Congratulations, and welcome to the journey of fatherhood. Whether this is your first baby, or the third or sixth, that old provider-protector instinct is already kicking in. But between trying to cope with those nighttime wakeups and adjusting to a new pace of life, it’s not always easy to make the right decisions for the newest member of your the family.

Don’t worry, dad. The fact that you want to give your baby the very best means you’re more than halfway there. Three of your most important activities are going to be feeding, schlepping, and swaddling–all of which require the right equipment (and technique). Unfortunately, it’s hard to filter through the dizzying array of products and the equally dizzying amount of misinformation Here’s an intro to the equipment and some info that will help you stay on the right side of each one.

Baby Bottles

You may have heard the phrase that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your little one. Many studies have shown the myriad benefits of breastfeeding, so it’s considered all the better if your wife is able to nurse. Does mama work full-time? If she can pump, give her encouragement to do so—and kudos for the hard work it takes to make this happen. The key to giving a breastfed baby a bottle is finding a variety that closely simulates the breast. Styles like the line of NxGen Nurser baby bottles are regularly recommended by lactation consultants.

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Pay No Attention to That Program Behind the Screen

Dear Mr. Dad: My baby just turned one and I went to pick him up a little early from his daycare to celebrate. When I got there, the kids were crawling around but the TV was on and tuned to some kind of reality show. I asked the sitter why, and she said “So what?” and told me that the TV is often on in the background and that it’s no big deal. My gut says she’s wrong. But before I fire her, I need something to back me up. What’s so bad about TV?

A: Honestly, do you really an excuse to fire a sitter who shouldn’t be caring for kids? But since you asked—and since you’re not the only parent out there who’s not sure whether it’s okay for babies to watch TV—here goes.
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A Revolutionary Sleep Training Method

Lewis Jassey, co-author of The Newborn Sleep Book.
Topic:
A revolutionary method for training your newborn to sleep through the night.
Issues: The importance of sleep for both baby and family; the myths and truths about baby sleep; why babies wake up crying (hint: it’s not always because they’re hungry); the Jassey method of sleep training.

Understanding Baby’s Mood + Happy At-Home Moms + Avoiding Judgmental Parents


Megan Faure, author of The Babysense Secret .
Topic: Learning how to understand your baby’s moods.
Issues: Creating a baby-centric routine and struggle less to get your baby to sleep; understanding your baby’s sensory world and signals to avoid overstimulation, which leads to fussiness.


Rachel Compos-Duffy, author of Stay Home, Stay Happy.
Topic: Secrets to loving at-home motherhood.
Issues: Embracing the choice to stay home with confidence; taking care of yourself guilt-free; mentally and physically recharging every day, and more.


Deborah Copaken-Kogan, author of] Hell is Other Parents.
Topic: Tales of maternal combustion.
Issues: A collection of witty, smart, funny, poignant essays on dealing with intrusive and judgmental other parents, modern working parenthood, raising a family on inadequate income.