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6 Things Your Baby Would Tell You

"Give me a turn when we talk"

You've no doubt heard how important it is to talk to your baby. She may not seem to have much to add to the conversation, but that doesn't mean you have to keep up a steady monologue.

What does a chat with a baby sound like? You might make an observation about the state of her diaper, wait for a kick or a wiggle or a gurgle in reply, then answer, "Do you really think so?" or "I had no idea!" It might feel silly to wait for a response that might be just a grunt or a grin, but it's worth it.

Even babies as young as 3 months old can hold up their end of a nonverbal conversation, says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., coauthor of How Babies Talk. "You do something and your baby does something, and even very early, she's beginning to grasp the rudiments of conversation skills and turn-taking," she says. You'll be doing your baby a favor if you can wait patiently for her to respond to you (in her own baby way) instead of rushing to fill the silence, Hirsh-Pasek says. "Babies are on a slightly different timetable than we are. They need to have those moments when the focus is on them and they get to be the ones to make the next move."

"No shoes, thanks"
Those teeny, tiny Mary Janes. The infant oxfords. And those miniature sandals! They're all just so darned cute. Too bad your baby wants them off. The truth is, most shoes aren't good for your baby's little feet. Up until she begins to walk, your infant's tootsies are all about curling, bending, stretching, and maybe occasionally getting chewed on. What podiatrists say is simple, and right in tune with every baby who has ever balled up her toes in protest of having them pushed into hard-soled loafers: Babies who aren't walking don't need shoes. In fact, restrictive footwear can even slow normal development. It's a little wish  -- but a heartfelt one  -- that babies would like soft-soled slippers, booties, nonskid socks, or just plain bare feet rather than all the high-fashion footwear that looks so good on the department-store shelf. There'll be plenty of time for that anyway.