Help Your Child Embrace & Love Reading

Why you should read to your newborn

reading habit

Research has proven and shown that it is never too early to read a book to/with your bundle of joy. Some may say but the baby barely understands anything; that is the main reason why you should start reading to your little one, so that he grasps on vocabulary & intonation etc. Once you notice your baby enjoy the reading process, you will be tempted to make it a daily ritual. And you must.

I started reading out to Sultan as early as few weeks old. It has been almost a year and half and he is very attached to his books. He often brings his favorite book and hands it over to me to read for him.

Develop love of reading in your baby

baby loves reading

As said earlier, babies might not understand everything, if not anything, of what you read to him, but it is an initial step to help him start picking up different speech tones, rhythms, pitch in your voice and even easy new words. Another research shows that the more a baby is introduced to repeated/frequently used words, the easier it becomes for him to start reading on his own.

Children who grew up watching their parents and elder siblings read often, become more accustomed to reading on their own. They will appreciate books and enjoy reading in the long-term. In my personal experience, I know no one in my immediate family who does not read a book at least once a week. I am proud to have developed this habit in Sultan. He loves his books more than his toys. Such family routine will enhance your baby’s attitude and promote love of reading during schooling and often continue into adulthood.

Precious reading moments for parents to bond with baby

Mother reading with baby son

It is well known that babies and toddlers love their parents’ voices. What other best way to interact and teach your little one from early on, but to read to him his favorite book and the narrator being his parent. Babies first learn things from their parents, why not utilize this opportunity and bond with your baby while helping him learn and appreciate reading.

Stimulate your baby’s brain

stimulate your baby's brain

Many of us as adults often run short of vocabulary, due to lack of reading habits. Habits such as frequently reading & listening to the radio etc help our brain capture new vocabulary. Similarly, children who were read to frequently as newborns will have a richer vocabulary & do well in academic studies compared to the other kids their age. Another reason to make reading to your newborn a ritual is that by the age of starting to speak your baby will have fine language skills and confidence. In fact, if you are good at telling made up baby stories, then by no means should you refrain from doing so. No matter what you read to him, any kind of reading is still better than no reading at all. You could as well hold simple dialogues with your baby; all that matters is that he is exposed to more words on daily basis.

Improve your baby’s perception

baby books

All mamas out there whose babies have grown up and now differentiate between shapes, colors and patterns know that it was a transitional period for their babies when they were newborn up to 4 or 5 months old, when all they could do is try focusing eyes on basic patterns on a book’s or magazine’s pages. Therefore, starting early on with picturized books for babies is the most suitable form of reading to your baby. There are tons of such books designed especially for babies to touch, see and learn various shapes, textures and colors. In my personal experience with Sultan, he is fond of any colorful book or magazine. Although he has a designated corner of baby library, he loves reading newspapers and magazines too on his own (baby language).

 

 

 

 

My Non-Negotiable List

Although it has been over a week or two since I was tagged by MummyOnMyMind to share my list of non-negotiables, I had taken my own sweet time to contemplate and identify my most no-no give up list. Like most busy moms who run errands with their babies/kids tacked by the side, I too have a BIG list of my non-negotiables (don’t worry, I have limited it to just a few).

I appreciate MummyOnMyMind for nominating and passing this Non-negotiable list to me, and the initiator of this must-have and must-share list, Kate, author of Pouting in Heels blog, for their efforts in encouraging me to take part as well.

And here is my list:

  1. Frequently driving my car – is definitely on my list of non-negotiables. I have pledged myself that being a busy mom and running my own business won’t restrain me from my all-time favorite independence stimulating capability- driving. I am really good at it. I am not ready to give this up ever, not at any circumstance. I have always received positive comments on my driving skills (it’s indeed a compliment for a female driver). So yes, I am never ever giving up on my driving skills. Practice makes perfect.
  2. I have made a self-commitment to take Sultan out for dedicated, quality and fun time on weekly basis (if not every other day), without excuse. I know this is a stale one for most parents, but I want to have it included on my list lol, just to remind myself every time I check back my blog page.
  3. Get over judgmental expressions and opinions. I have learned and educated myself to completely ignore and get over others’ unsolicited points of view, be it on my parenting tactics, skills etc or anything to do with me. I totally do NOT welcome any such opinions, nor do I rush to offer mine to others. Just to pinpoint
  4. Cooking at home. I love to cook at home, although I can’t tolerate the mess created during the cooking process and get the urge to clean up after myself immediately even before the cooking is done. It is so tempting to take away/home delivery from a restaurant when you are exposed to so many cuisine varieties in Dubai. However, I am all geared up to prepare meals at home whenever I have a chance for as long as I can.
  5. No stress – no problem. Becoming an overwhelmed mommy and wife may trigger lots of stress. I have been there when I first became a mother. I have trained and promised myself that no matter what I will stay calm and peaceful at times of hardship. Taking things serious won’t solve the problem. My key to staying calm is to think back to hard times which I have presently forgotten of. All that stress is not worthwhile. So undoubtedly, efficient stress management is the way for me.

 

As I had mentioned, I have limited my list of non-negotiables to a few, however, I have couple of others, which I will keep to myself at this point.

And as the original tradition suggests, I would love to pass on this responsibility to these beautiful souls:

Nadine as a MUM: @nadineasamum

Mommy Z: @mommyzdiaries

Nourhan Elgouhary: @motherbabyclub

Waheeba: @dubaimother

Working Mother of 2: @working_mother_of_2

Sassy Mama Dubai: @sassymamadubai

Tarana Khan: @sandinmytoestk

Farhana: @farhanabodi

 

I would love to read your list of non-negotiables ladies. Just think of the list, write it down, elaborate and mention myself for nominating you as well as check out Kate’s original blog post. Extend the positive hype by sharing and inviting your friends to participate.

 

Thank you for reading:)

 

Missed your period? What to do next?

Quick few things to do when you know (or suspect) you are expecting, mama:)

Double check that you are indeed pregnant

It may not be so important, however, it would not harm using a home pregnancy test to detect whether or not you are indeed pregnant. This is probably the first step to confirming that you are expecting. You may use the pregnancy test in the week after your period is normally due – two weeks after you ovulate. If the test shows a negative or a faintly positive result, wait another few days or a week and try again if you still haven’t gotten your period.

The importance of your prenatal vitamin

If you have tried or are trying to conceive, you would have already been told the necessity of taking your folic acid. It is one of the most critical to-dos during the first trimester. It is known that folic acid helps reduce your baby’s risk of developing neural tube birth defect, such as, spina bifida. So, if you haven’t started taking a prenatal vitamin yet, speak to your caregiver/doctor to prescribe you one.

Have you chosen a Hospital / Caregiver yet?

Most married women would already have a favorite doctor. If you are one of them and are comfortable and trust your doctor, then you are all set. However, if you have not had the chance to explore and know a good doctor, then best way to find one is to talk to your friends, colleagues and relatives, who could refer you to a credible caregiver.

Schedule a prenatal appointment with your Doctor

Since many caregivers won’t see you until you are at least 8 weeks pregnant, you might still want to get on their schedule well before this, as appointments can fill up fast.

Beforehand, make sure you have noted down the first day of your last period so your doctor can determine your due date. You may as well want to jot down a list of questions/concerns you would like to bring to your doctor’s attention. It would also help your doctor eliminate any future disorders in your baby, if you would know of any family medical history. Talk to your relatives on both sides about your families’ medical histories. It may help your caregiver to know whether any chronic conditions or genetic abnormalities run in either of your families that might affect your baby.

Discuss any medications you’re taking with your doctor

You might have already heard of this, however, it is important to reiterate and remind that any drugs – even some over-the-counter ones – aren’t safe during pregnancy. If you take any medications to treat a chronic condition, don’t just oversee this matter but do call your caregiver right away to go through your medication list and find out what’s safe and what’s not. Mention everything, even vitamins, supplements, and herbs you are taking.

 

Many women get so excited when they realize that they are pregnant, that they often overlook the importance of going through the above list of to-dos during the first few months (first trimester) of pregnancy.

Please feel free to share, comment and let me know your opinion on this topic.

Importance Of Oral Hygiene

 

The importance of your baby’s early and regular oral hygiene

How to choose a baby toothpaste and when to introduce it?

Considering the amount of toothpaste brands out there on the market, baby doesn’t actually need a special brand. The most important thing to remember and do is introduce baby safe fluoride toothpaste as soon as you notice that first tooth erupt. Another important thing to remember is the baby’s tooth (teeth) only need a streak of toothpaste, since most babies tend to swallow the toothpaste instead of spitting it.

It is highly recommended to expose baby’s teeth (just as for adults) to fluoride as soon as a tooth is starting to emerge; because baby’s teeth absorb fluoride instantly, it is important to make sure the amount of toothpaste is safe for swallowing.

That’s why it is sufficient enough to cover baby’s teeth with a light film of fluoride. So make sure you are playing it safe, because excess of fluoride can be toxic to baby!

Do not get lost while choosing a baby themed toothpaste, as the brand does not matter. What matters the most is that it should contain fluoride. Another thing to remember is that babies under age 1 only require a smear of toothpaste, while elder kids may just do well with a pea size (roughly the size of a grain of rice) of toothpaste applied to their teeth.

Should I use a baby toothbrush and what kind?

As it was suggested by Sultan’s paediatric nurse during his initial dental follow up (at his 6 months appointment) even before he had any teeth, it is best to use a damp washcloth to clean baby’s gums (without any fluoride toothpaste). She had demonstrated how to clean Sultan’s gums step by step; all you need is a washcloth and lukewarm water. Just dampen a washcloth to wipe his gums down at least twice a day. This is a crucial routine to help your baby get accustomed to having toothbrush in his/her mouth.

Once the baby has got a hang of having his teeth brushed, you may move to using a baby tooth brush. Since tooth brushing routine must be in place by the time baby starts teething, during this stage baby likes harder objects to bite on to sooth the gums. When choosing a baby toothbrush, consider to pick one that has soft bristles so it is gentle on your baby’s gums.

Should I show my baby to a paediatric dentist and when?

It may sound weird to recommend your baby to have his first paediatric dentist appointment at as early as 6 months, since there is no much to check up on, however, it is important for your baby to visit a paediatric dentist and keep up with every appointment. Your baby’s paediatric dentist will be able to asses any possible risk factors regarding the oral hygiene. The dentist may educate and state if the parents are doing the right thing to keep the baby’s oral hygiene healthy, such as, when and how much of fluoride toothpaste to be introduced. Also, the dentist will advise whether your baby should be given a bottle of milk during night time, since it is considered as the biggest risk factor for your baby’s first teeth.

Sultan’s paediatric dentist had advised us to gradually stop giving him a bottle of milk at night time, since, formula milk contains sugar, which if given to baby during night time will cause harmful bacteria to develop in his mouth.

Another most common mistake many parents do, is allowing their kids to indulge in excessive drinking of juice. Nevermind the kid’s desire for sugary drinks and foods, it is very important to have the teeth brushed thoroughly afterwards. The logical reason for having to brush your kid’s teeth after such sugary drinks is that juices are very acidic and may cause damage to the kid’s teeth.

All of the above and more questions may be answered by your kid’s paediatric dentist. That’s why it is recommended to have your baby visit the dentist from early on to create a routine experience and get your baby comfortable with the dentist.

Your baby’s diet vs oral health

We are what we eat, they say. Of course food and drinks are the main way a baby’s mouth acquires bacteria. Many toddlers may have a tooth decay due to excessive amounts of sugary foods and drinks they consume.

Apart from a good oral hygiene, depending on diet type, kids grow up to develop a food preference, which will likely remain the same when they grow up.

 

Please feel free to comment and share your personal experience about your kid’s oral hygiene.

Baby Gear Must Haves During The 1st Year

Since my son has turned 15 months old and now walks and runs on his own, I would like to share my TOP favorite and useful baby gear I personally love and recommend during the first year that have helped Sultan develop his motor skills.

I have been constantly on hunt for developmental toys and gear since birth of my son, Sultan. Given the variety of brands and baby gear products available on the market, it is tempting to fall into the marketing techniques, colorful gear and just give in to buying unnecessary or at least non-essential products, which baby could otherwise develop well without. Over the first year since birth of my son, I have managed to identify and pick minimal, yet useful gear that would not just lay around the house without use, but be functional and aid Sultan’s motor skills efficiently and safely.

Before I go on with the list, I would like to mention that I have not been endorsed by any brand or company. So, some of our most used and favorite baby gear are:

  1. Baby Activity Play Mat & Gym. I could not go without this colorful play mat a single day during my son’s first 4 months or more. Regardless of the brand, most of the play mats/gyms come with multifunctional features, such as, contrasting bright and dark colors, fabric textures and several attachable animal toys, which are both, visually and physically highly engaging for babies. This mat helped Sultan develop his basic motor skills. He soon learned to roll from side to side, kick the dangling animal toys with his feet, learn to differentiate between bright and dark colors and most importantly (for me) it kept him busy for at least few hours a day.
  2. Graco Travel System Click Connect™. Very practical and long lasting stroller + car seat. The main feature that attracted me in this travel system is that we did not need to wake up Sultan if he fell asleep in his car seat during a car trip to have him taken out of the car seat. This car seat is made to audibly click onto the stroller that came with it, which means baby can continue sleeping in the car seat which eventually goes on top of the stroller and secures itself safely. It is most useful for parents with babies below 6 months old, since all they do is continuously sleep:) The other cool feature is that the stroller can grow with the baby. The stroller also comes with huge storage space below the baby’s seat, which can accommodate pretty much many grocery items during a quick shopping. Although Sultan is no longer willing to sit in this stroller, we are still using the car seat. To summarize, this is probably the best baby gear on the market at affordable budget that can offer so many features all in one.
  3. Baby Carrier from Baby BJORN. This one is NOT supposed to make it to this list. I had already mentioned that I prefer to buy minimal but practical baby gear, which in this case I failed to stick to. Ever since I bought this carrier (never mind it looks cool and easy to carry the baby in) I have barely used it thrice or less. First of all, it takes forever to have it worn around my waist and chest, secondly it is pretty hard to have the baby put inside without additional 2 hands. Although it has served me a couple of times while grocery shopping with Sultan in it, I would definitely avoid buying this or any other similar carrier. Also it is not very comfortable to wear for long, as my back muscles would ache just after 20 minutes of wearing it. Another drawback of this carrier is that it is overpriced and is of no more use once baby walks on his own.  
  4. Chicco PocketSnack Booster Seat. Most amazing, space saving, affordable, functional and fun gear I have ever purchased. It still served us good. We almost regularly use this booster seat while feeding Sultan and he has a lot of fun in it as we serve his food on the little table attached to the seat. Best feature of this booster seat is that it is attachable to “almost” any regular highchair etc,, since it comes with safety straps to secure/fasten the seat stable in place. Absolutely love this gear and we are planning to keep using it up until Sultan learns to sit in a chair without being fastened. It is also very affordable as far as I can recall.  Our booster seat is in Mint Blue color.
  5. Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker or Push Walker. I cannot remember the brand or company we got this interactive walker from, however, it has been the best gear we ever invested in. It is very affordable and proved to be educative too. As Sultan took his initial independent steps, this walker assisted him and kept him busy playing with all sorts of geometric toys that come with it. One important thing to mention is that an adult’s supervision is necessary at all times. Although Sultan was well walking with this push walker independently, I would still recommend keeping an eye at all times. I believe this walker was very helpful and allowed Sultan to walk around the house without our intervention. This push walker is hands down our most favorite gear. At least now I know I am going to buy a similar gear for my next baby. baby push gear

 

These were a couple of our TOP favorite baby gear (except the baby carrier Baby BJORN). If you would like share your best baby gear during the first year, and reasons why you would recommend them, please let me know down in the comments section.

Separation Anxiety Tips

I always envisaged that I would master the motherhood skills once I become a mother. I day dreamt of the days I would wake up all fresh, get some alone time for my morning coffee, peacefully prepare breakfast for my little family (just the 3 of us) and tackle any domestic and motherhood obstacles throughout the day, all on my own. However, once I stepped into the motherhood, all things became reorganized overnight, priorities had to be changed, and plans for the day split over the span of the week days.

It would amaze me how many women with infant (or more kids) would manage to stay chic, get some “me time” and still tick off lots of tasks for the day. But little did I know, that many of those beautiful women had a reliable source of help and support. As days went by after the birth of my son, I started to realize that there is still a chance to bring back some liveliness and radiance back to my life, my new “motherhood” life. The secret behind this was to easily accept any help and support offered by family and relatives. Luckily, we have our family with us in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who are constantly arguing who will be looking after Sultan the next week:)

I convinced myself about 5 months post birth to allow my baby to visit my husband’s family every other day. It was a torturing process, having to see my husband take Sultan in his car seat with a pre-filled bottle of milk and a few dangling toys attached to his car seat. Although I knew he will back in couple of hours, but back then it felt like I was not supposed to let him go anywhere without me. On the other hand, in his absence, I managed to get back on track, do the house chores more efficiently, such as cleaning, laundry and cooking etc. Other days I would pump and store away some milk for Sultan to go with him the next time he was taken to the grandparents. It helped me become more organized and anticipate what other plans I could make to fit during those so needed hours of alone time.

I learned to ignore judgmental opinions of strangers, since, when asked where Sultan was, I openly told them he was away at parents’. Not too many strangers would know that I rarely bring in maids to do the house chores for me, since I am a cleanliness freak and do not trust anyone doing my duties and responsibilities. Managing to clean, cook and look after an infant all on your own is literally a race, which anyone will fail without additional help and support. It was a very important lesson I learnt, go with the flow, do as I think is right and do NEVER listen to strangers’ opinions, unless “They have walked in my shoe for a mile”.

I started experiencing and cherishing the true meaning of so called mommy “me time”. Very practical and well utilized time.

Gradually, Sultan stayed with our families over nights. This meant I could begin planning bigger things to accomplish. However, there were quite many tips that were helpful in making sure Sultan’s stay away from us was tantrum and stress free, for him, as well as for us. I would love to share these tips with every parent who is doubting or planning to send their baby to grandparents or nursery / daycare etc.. Here they are:

Be Consistent To Avoid Separation Anxiety

Business concept image of a hand holding marker and write Consistency is The Key isolated on white

Although it was very hard to leave Sultan or let him go to grandparents without me, especially that he was still an infant, it is always easier to teach a baby from early on that mama will sometimes be away. The baby might not be realizing the absence of the mother at infancy, however, if you stick to a routine he will grow up to understand that it is actually fun spending some day with his parents and others with grandparents or other relatives (who you trust of course). It is said that babies up to 6 months do not make out the concept of object permanence (the fact that the mother/father exist when they are not with them). That’s why it is best to start early on, even for couple of hours, since by 8 months children become aware that when you leave, you’re somewhere out there, so they’re much more prone to separation anxiety. In our case, Sultan has never experience such anxiety due to our absence, as he stayed at grandparent’s’ regularly for at least 3 times a week.

Make Sure Baby Is Familiar With The Caregiver

Since there is probably no people other than a family we can trust, we only entrust to keep Sultan at grandparents’, either in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Both the families are well aware of Sultan’s night sleeping & nap routines, what dosage of medication to be given at what intervals (if any), as well as when and what he eats. Sultan knows and recognizes each and every family member, and there has never been a problem with that. Although, in my absence, he tends to seek comfort either at my mother’s or my mother-in-law’s armsJ It is probably his instinct that the woman who feeds, cuddles and plays with him, is the most similar to his mama.

Talk To Your Baby About Why You Going To Be Away

It is no secret that parents and family are encouraged to talk to their children although they are still not capable of understanding every word. Generally, it is very important to talk or to read to your child. However, talking to your child is even more important during separation (short or long). Every time before he goes away from you, since he relies on your voice tone and attitude from birth onwards, tell him he is going to grandparents and that he will have so much fun there. But also make sure to tell him that mommy is going to come back.

Wave And Say Good-Bye

No wonder Sultan has learnt to understand and wave us a good-bye and a blow kiss. Every time he goes away, I make sure to kiss, hug and wave him good bye. This way he adapted to separation easily. Sometimes I sing him his favorite rhyme before he goes, just to reassure him that everything is okay.

 

 

The most important lesson Sultan has learned is that when I am away, he will be safe and will have fun regardless whether I am around or not, and that eventually when mommy is back she will take him out to a playground.

My Motherhood

3 Milestones I Have Overcome As A New-Mom

Almost 2 years ago, during my entire pregnancy I was all absorbed in so called “internet knowledge“, which consisted all about what to expect during and post pregnancy as first time mom. Whether I had to know all of that information beforehand or not, in a way it prepared me to deal with anxiety and geared me up for what was going to happen to me “the first time” in my life. By then I had been exposed to sufficient enough mommy-to-be tips from my family and friends. Of course all that helped me, theoretically. However, the real “first time mommy” instincts kicked in on their own soon as I delivered Sultan.

1. Milestone: Unscheduled (UNEXPECTED)  C-Section

As painful as it is recalling those countless hours of continuous labor pain and unforeseen circumstances, through which we (me and my baby) had to suffer together; I believe there is absolute beauty in overcoming those hardships.

I was always regular on my monthly pregnancy check ups, prescribed medications and ultrasounds etc. There was absolutely no sign of complication as such, and I was more than confident that my baby would come out all healthy and naturally when he is ready. Unfortunately, not everything takes place as planned and despite of being advocate of “all natural”;  I was almost forced into accepting to go through an emergency C-section during my failed labor and contractions.

My baby was well delivered within an hour of anaesthetics dosage given to me. As you may have read in my previous posts, Sultan was born weighing whopping 3.9kg (MashaAllah), which could well be the reason for unscheduled C-section.

All is well that ends well.

It was a great challenge taking care of a newborn, managing to endure the incision pain (not an enthusiast of pain killers), breastfeeding for straight first 5 months, continuously pumping milk for storing for later and of course not forgetting the all needed attention that any husband requires.

Ultimately it was all worth it; especially now that my baby is showing great milestones progress on monthly, if not, daily basis.

2. Milestone: Breastfeeding

The urge to have my baby latch on to have some milk about 30 minutes post his birth was undoubtedly an instinct that I never envisioned doing during my pregnancy; although I had read a lot about lactation tips. I had completely ignored the fact that I just came out of operation room. All that did not matter a bit.

I remember requesting the nurse to bring me my baby for feeding, when she gently smiled and replied, “Your baby isn’t hungry yet. You need to rest”. This sounded to me somehow pushy; (relax we know better than you what and when your baby needs!). Frankly speaking I did not have much power to resist her, but I kept insisting and raised my tone this time, “I feel he is hungry, so please bring him now!”. Obviously, she would not be in the position to argue with me any further.

Shortly I had my son in my weak arms and he immediately latched on and sipped of some fresh colostrum (first milk). This was one of the check points I promised myself not to miss on, as I had read lots of great things about allowing baby to drink the first milk, rich in vitamins and nutrition.

 

3. Milestone: Weaning

I was all equipped with baby feeding bottles, milk storage containers and breast pump prior to giving birth. I was not sure whether I will require some or all of these products, but I decided to stock up for emergency situations.

Luckily, all of the bottles, containers etc, came in handy when I felt the need to pump and store for when my husband would take my son for short walk on his own (without me); or for visiting his grandparents for over night stay. Thankfully, there was always oversupply of milk and I never faced shortage whatsoever.

However, as time went by, I started to feel locked up at home, mainly due to the reason that I had quit my permanent job after getting married and was all soaked up in diapers, milk and homemaking commitments. My partial post partum depression started fading away when Sultan began showing interest in powdered formula milk while he was away from me for couple of hours.

The weaning process began naturally on its own; but mainly with the aid of Sultan it was made easy on both of us (if not all of us in the family). He never refused or fussed being offered formula milk and he was fast accustomed to bottle feeding. It was in a way heartbreaking to realize that I did not complete 2 years of breastfeeding him as recommended worldwide, however, I was somehow relieved of the guilt when doctors did not interfere nor discouraged me from weaning process. Honestly speaking, toward the 6th month my milk supply was lower than ever before, mainly because I started pumping more infrequently and gradually milk supply went down.

It makes me proud to be a mama who managed to (at least) stick to breastfeeding for continuous 5 months, which I know for a fact is not a necessary aspect for many women who for some or the other reasons cannot breastfeed at all. It is a personal choice every individual mother makes, no one is to be judged at all.

 

Thank you for reading my most heartfelt confession on my experiences as a first time mommy. Please feel free to share your personal motherhood experience, knowledge and/or advice.

Baby Talk Milestones

Sultan’s First Words

 

But we as mothers keep asking ourselves, when will I hear my baby’s first words? It is said that essential milestones for a baby learning to talk usually happen in the first three years of life, when a baby’s brain is rapidly developing. During that time, our babies’ speech development depends on our “baby talk” skills as well as our babies’.

When Will I Hear My Baby’s First Words?

The first “baby talk” is said to be nonverbal and happens after his/her birth. The baby may frown, cry, and jiggle to express a range of emotions and physical needs, from fear and hunger to frustration and sensory overload. Some parents learn to listen and interpret their baby’s different cries.

It is believed that each individual baby will say those magical first words at his/her own pace. As my son Sultan is about to turn 15 months this January, we are all patient and accept his speech delay, since we have 7 languages spoken in the family, hence, it may be hard for him to pick one specific language to start speaking. Meantime he is very active and already pronounces simple words like “baa-baa” and “maa-maa”.  However, it is recommended to pay close attention to baby’s milestones in speech development, and if you have any serious concerns, then talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about your concerns.

Sultan’s Talk Milestones:

  • Baby talk at 3 months. At 3 months, our baby listened to our voice, watched our face as we talked, and turned toward other voices, sounds, and music that could be heard around the home. It is said that many babies prefer a woman’s voice over a man’s. Many also prefer voices and music they heard while they were still in the womb. Sultan was not different. He still loves when I recite him “Ayat Ul Kursi”. By the end of three months, Sultan began “cooing”, it was a happy, gentle, repetitive and sing-song vocalization.
  • Baby talk at 6 months. Usually at 6 months, the baby begins babbling with different sounds. For example, my baby started with “baa-baa” or “maa-maa” a little earlier than 6 months. So each baby develops individually. By the end of the sixth or seventh month, my baby Sultan started responding to his own name, recognized some of our native languages that we speak at home, and till date he uses his tone of voice to tell us he’s happy or upset.
  • Baby talk at 9 months. By the 9th month, Sultan could already understand a few basic words like “no” and “bye-bye baby”, he even waves his hand “bye” when he leaves home for a walk or when guests are about to leave our house.
  • Baby talk at 12 months. They say most babies say a few simple words like “mama” and “dadda” by the end of 12 months, and now they know what they’re saying. Nowadays Sultan responds to, or at least understands, if not obeys, our short, one-step requests such as, “Please pass me the remote or toy”. He often obeys our requests, however, if he was scolded for misbehaving few minutes prior to our request, he will pretend like he does not see the remote or the object we requested him to bring:)
  • Baby talk at 18 months. We are quite eager to see what will be Sultan’s first phrases by this age, however, it is believed that babies at this age say up to 10 simple words and can point to people, objects, and body parts you name for them. I have already began teaching him where is his nose, hands, fingers, toes etc., and he is very well able to understand when we point at different objects, be it his toys or food etc. Sultan tries to repeat words or sounds he hears we say, like the last word in a sentence. Looking forward to his first few phrases by the time he is 18 months old.

7 Tips to Improve Your Baby Pictures

Here are 7 simple ways you can take better photos of your baby. The memories will last a lifetime!

  1. Get closer. It’s the most common mistake — we stand back, our eye trained on our adorable baby, and accidentally let the background take over the photo. The single biggest (and simplest!) way to improve your pictures is to stand closer. Fill the entire frame with baby!
  2. Stoop to their level. Similarly, photos are much more charming if you bend down to baby. It allows for better eye contact.
  3. Use sunlight. Turn off your camera’s flash — the sun will always be the most beautiful source of light. The flash flattens the details of the picture. If you’re inside, it’s better to move your child near a window.
  4. Keep it simple. For a holiday-card-worthy, keepsake photo, find an uncluttered background, dress baby in something simple, and again, use sunlight.
  5. Try black and white. With digital photography and online photo services, it’s easy to print the same photo in both color and black and white. While you don’t want every picture to have this artsy look, it’s well worth doing a few times. Diaper-only shots come out great.
  6. Get details. Newborns are precious — capture the wonder now because they grow fast. Zoom in on baby’s tiny hands and feet, the way his fingers wrap around yours, or his expression as he sleeps.
  7. Find a moment. Don’t always put baby in a pose. Try a photo session where you play “parent paparazzi,” following baby and snapping as he does his thing. Luck is a huge part of photography, the more pictures you take, the more luck will be with you.

Sultan’s 2014 – 2015 Milestones In Photos ♥

Sultan’s milestones in photos from year 2014 – 2015

Sultan’s 10th day of his life (02.11.2014). He could already hold his head/neck high up on his own by this age:)

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Sultan’s 47 days old (1.5 months old) in this photo (08.12.2014). His first play mat. He would keep staring at it for few minutes and then start kicking it with his hands.

His first boppy pillow (19.12.2014). He is 57 days old in this photo (2 months old).

 

Making cute faces ♥ & gradually learning to sit up straight on his own . He is 66 days old (A little more than 2 months old) in this photo (28.12.2014).

Sultan almost sitting up straight on his own at 87 days old ( almost 3 months old). Photo taken on 18.01.2015.

Naughty Sultan is 111 days old ( 3.5 months old). Photo taken on 11.02.2015.

Leaning against sofa and strengthening sitting skills at 119 days old (4 months old)  Thanks to his mama who trained and made him practice sitting up straight on his own on daily basis 🙂 Photo dated 19.02.2015.

 

Yes! He is my little Titan! In this photo he is completely able to raise his head on his own and hold it 🙂 He is 122 days old (4 months old). Photo taken on 22.02.2015.

 

 

At age 142 days old ( almost 5 months old). Standing up with support. Photo taken on 14.03.2015.

Sultan holding his ball on his own at age 160 days old ( 5.3 months old). Photo dated 01.04.2015.

Sultan proudly showing off his cute belly at 217 days old ( 7 months old). Photo taken on 28.05.2015.

Sultan’s first experience at the pool 🙂 He is 230 days old (7.5 months old) in this photo (10.06.2015).

Walking on his own at the park with little support at 263 days old (8.5 months old). Photo dated (11.07.2015).

Standing on his own and watching the traffic jam outside the balcony at 288 days old ( 9.5 months old). Photo taken on (07.08.2015).

 

Climbing up on his walker at age 325 days old ( 10.8 months old). Photo dated (13.09.2015).

 

Cuddling & playing with his first friend/play mate at age 330 days old ( 11 months old). Photo taken on (18.09.2015).

Walking & running around the corridor all on his own at age 333 (11 months old). Photo dated (21.09.2015).

Grandma takes him along with her grocery shopping while Sultan sits in the trolley. He is aged 373 days old (1 year old). Photo taken on  (31.10.2015).