Sign Language for Babies

I’ve been hearing a lot about teaching children sign language. What’s the deal? Supposedly baby signing teaches the child to communicate. But can’t my child communicate in other ways? Is teaching my baby to communicate while she is so young pushing her too hard? Is it worth doing or is it some kind of scam?

A few decades ago, researchers began to notice that children whose parents were hearing impaired and who taught their children to sign, were able to communicate before they were nine months old. Children with two hearing parents don’t usually have much to say until after their first birthday. If you think about it, using the hands to communicate makes a lot of sense. After all, babies have a lot more control over their fingers and hands than they do over their tongue and mouth.
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Childproofing

Our baby isn’t crawling yet, but he will be pretty soon. Basically he goes for anything within his reach. I’m assuming he’ll be the same way when he starts crawling. What should we do to childproof our house?

Once your baby realizes that he’s able to move around by himself, his mission in life will be to locate–and race you to–the most dangerous, life-threatening things in your home. So if you haven’t already begun the never-ending process of child-proofing your house, better start now.

The first thing to do is get down on your hands and knees and check things out from your baby’s perspective. Taking care of those pesky wires and covering up your outlets is only the beginning, so start with the basics:
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Sleeping Arrangements

Some friends of ours share their king-sized bed with their two children. They say that families all over the world sleep in the same “family bed” that it’s good for everyone. “Co-Sleeping” as they call it, still seems weird to me. Doesn’t it interfere with mom and dad’s relationship to sleep with the kids in the bed? It also seems pretty unsafe to me. What do you think?

Most pediatricians will probably tell you that your baby should get used to sleeping by him- or herself as soon after birth as possible. The reasoning is that in American culture we emphasize early independence, so babies should adapt quickly to being away from their parents-especially if both parents work and the children are in day care.
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Finding Day Care

My wife and I are shopping around for day care. How can we tell if the facility will offer the proper care? Are there qualifications and credentials I should look for to make sure our child is safe and well cared for?

Finding a quality daycare center or provider can be incredibly stressful. Here are just a few things to look for in a day-care center:
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Dads and Breastfeeding

Everyone says that new mothers should breastfeed their babies but I’ve never really known why. Isn’t formula just as good for our child? And, I know this sounds nuts, but is there anything I can to do to stay involved while my wife is nursing? I feel so left out.

Before their babies are born, just about any expectant father you’d ask would say that breastfeeding is the best way to feed a baby and that his partner should nurse their child for as long as possible. And why not, just consider some of these advantages:
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Dealing with Daddy Stress

My son was born four months ago, and things are starting to settle down. We’re really enjoying our new roles as mom and dad. But every time I sit down to do some extra work on the computer, I feel guilty about leaving my wife to take care of our child since she’s with him all day and I know she would appreciate a break. I try to help, but I also need to get ahead with work. What should I do?

The first thing you need to do is not let your guilt get out of hand. A little bit of guilt is okay, but some fathers (and mothers)–in an effort to make themselves feel better about not being able to spend enough time with their children–end up withdrawing from their kids emotionally. Leaving your wife to take care of the baby is a habit you don’t want to get into (and if you notice yourself doing this, there’s still time to stop). The earlier you and your baby start getting to know one another, the closer and better your relationship will be.
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