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Baby Milestones 5 to 8 months: Name Dropping

"Blah, blah, Jack, blah, blah, Jack." That's how researchers believe you sound to your baby, which means he can recognize his own name out of the din of your general chatter. What's more, he uses his name to learn new words, a study from Texas A&M University in College Station shows. "Think about when you're listening to a foreign language -- when you recognize a word, you can discern where the next word starts more easily," says Heather Bortfeld, Ph.D., one of the study authors. It works like this for infants, too. Bortfeld found that babies paid more attention to words following their own name ("Jack's train," for instance) than they did to a word spoken after another child's name. In a second experiment, Bortfeld found that babies also paid more attention to any word following "Mommy" than they did to words following "Tommy." You can help your little guy along by using his name -- and yours -- in conversation.

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