Serious Baby Talk

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Are you a baby-talker? There’s no shortage of articles weighing in on if baby talk is good or bad for babies—and what types. One article says a “sing-song voice” can be good, but avoid cutesy words. Another says “Speak Parantese, Not Baby Talk.” And “new findings” appear every year. It’s exhausting to keep up with. But it’s difficult to resist reading these articles when they’re popping up on your social feeds or favorite news site each day. I unfortunately find myself clicking through them at the same rate I click on those horrifying news articles about tragedies involving babies/kids/etc. Why? Because . . . I’m human: I want to know if what I believe is good/bad for my kid is in sync or totally out of sync with what the rest of the world thinks. If the latest research says goo-goo ga-ga and squishing my face up and talking nonsensically to my baby hurts her development do I automatically stop doing it?

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  What I’ve certainly learned about going from the “all about me” stage to the “oh, sh*t, I am actually responsible for this little person” is that it can make you feel incredibly vulnerable, or so crazy obsessive about what’s right and wrong to do that it’s paralyzing. But, of course, you want to keep up on all the research and commentary to make sure you’re not screwing up your kid: from the way you talk to your baby to what kind of bed you place that little one in at night. Other days, it’s just “give her whatever she wants so she stops crying.” So if high-pitched, gooey baby talk does the job, you do it. If saying the alphabet in a deep baritone voice makes you and your baby happy, you do it. Parenthood can’t always be about planning ahead, especially when you have a newborn. It’s often about what’s the best decision I can make for my kid today? So here’s my take on baby talk that isn’t based on a University of Washington study or some science institute in Tokyo (both are fascinating, though!): Frankly, when our daughter was a baby, my husband and family just talked to her the way we talked to each other, like people who loved each other — and that was enough. See more posts from First-Time Mommy below.

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