3 things to know about how moms + dads talk to babies from day 1

When it comes to chatting with their babies, women are much more vocal than men.

3 things to know about how moms + dads talk to babies from day 1

It’s no secret that men and women are different (that’s how you two ended up making a baby in the first place!), but how does that affect children?

A study in the journal Pediatrics explored how much moms and dads, respectively, each talk to their infants, by recording the sounds baby was hearing and counting the words.

The findings were fascinating and crucial for families to pay attention to. The gift of a language-rich environment from day one of baby’s life is one of the most important things you’ll give your little one.

We’re sharing some of the findings from the study, courtesy of Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, also known as MamaDoc.

Here’s what mom + dad need to know about talking to baby.

1. Moms + dads differ.

When it comes to chatting with their babies, women are much more vocal than men.

What researchers found most notable was how big the gap was between how moms and dads talked with their babies. They called the difference “striking.”

In the study, babies were found to, on average, “…receive nearly 3 times as much language input from their mothers than their fathers from birth through 7 months of age.”

Further, researchers evaluated how babies responded to language from their moms versus their dads in “language blocks,” which are basically back-and-forth dialogues.

They found infants preferentially responded to mothers during newborn, 1 month and 7 months of age when compared to their fathers.

2. How we talk to baby boys + girls differs.

Compared to men, women were found to be more receptive to “baby talk”—those screams, gurgles and gibberish that come out before infants learn words.

Men do tend to talk more when their baby boy is the one initiating conversation compared to a baby girl, whereas moms spoke more to girls than to their baby boys.

Same-gender infant-parent pairs seem to have some synergy.

The difference here was large as well—men respond to baby-talk between 20% and 30% of the time, compared to women responding about 90% of the time.

Of note, researchers also found that babies had relatively few interactions with their fathers that were independent or apart from their moms, meaning that when dads are talking to their infants, the moms are often present and nearby.

3. Engagement matters.

Infants’ total exposure to parent-talk increased from birth to 7 months of age, presumably because as babies mature they become more engaging and we talk with them more and more.

The big takeaways: Talking with your baby is an example of more being better. There are all sorts of reminders in this study that communicating, laughing, singing and involving our children in our verbal lives from day one is a huge priority for both moms and dads.

Join Motherly

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


This oil completely changed my skin this summer

And I'm never going back to lotion.

For all the sweating and swimming I do in the summer, it seems illogical for my skin to be as parched as ever. But your mid-thirties (and 2020 in general) don't really seem to follow any rule book, so here we are.

A couple of months ago, I was on the lookout for a moisturizer that would not only keep my legs from looking like an ashy mess, but also truly nourish and benefit my skin. I've developed a deep interest in skin care for my face over the past few years and decided it's high time to extend that degree of consideration to the rest of my body. (After all, there's more of it, right?)

It's not that I'm too concerned with aging, but let's be real. If there's something that can be done to slow the Wrinkle Express, I'm going to give it a go. I also wanted to find something natural that wouldn't turn into a goopy mess the second I started sweating.

Enter: Esker's Firming Body Oil.

Keep reading Show less

Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

Keep reading Show less