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Baby Tips From Aunty Carol

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Lefty or Righty?
Don't expect your baby to prefer one hand over the other anytime soon. At 12 months, most are still using both about equally, says Daniel Kessler, M.D. Even if your child favors one hand for eating or throwing, that preference can change during the second or even third year. And because your baby is born with a tendency toward left- or right-handedness (it often runs in families), there's no need to help him "choose" his dominant hand; some experts think that interfering might, in fact, be detrimental.

Though uncommon, a baby's consistently favoring one hand during the first year can indicate a neuromuscular problem; talk to your pediatrician if you notice that your baby uses only one hand or one side of his body.

Baby's First Manicure
After giving your baby a bath, check her nails to see whether they need a trim. An infant's nails grow very quickly; don't be surprised if you're cutting them once or twice a week.
It's never easy to get your baby to sit still for a mini-manicure, but the following tips can make it go more smoothly. (Some parents prefer to do this while their baby is dozing, but why risk waking a sleeping baby?)
1.Use blunt baby nail clippers or scissors to keep her fingernails as short as possible so she can't scratch herself or anyone else.
2.Cut nails straight across. (Don't round the corners.)
3.Gently buff the rough edges with a soft emery board, moving the file in one direction. (Resist the temptation to bite or pick at your baby's nails; doing so transmits germs.) If a cut causes bleeding, hold a piece of gauze over it until the bleeding stops. Applying antiseptic usually isn't necessary unless you notice inflammation or the beginnings of an infections.
Your baby is bound to squirm, but clipping her nails will soon become routine.

Build Your Baby's Brain
When Georgia Governor Zell Miller announced that every baby born in the Peach State in 1998 would receive a cassette or CD of classical music, it made national headlines.
Miller had chaired a state education commission that concluded that music had a direct connection to brain development. Research suggests a strong correlation between exposure to classical music and intelligence, specifically the part of the brain used for math and spatial reasoning. The concept is often referred to as the "Mozart Effect," named after the famous composer.
At birth, a baby's brain has 100 billion neurons - about the same number of stars in the Milky Way. While a baby's brain contains all of the nerve cells it will ever have, the connections between the cells haven't been established. It's during the first critical years of life that the brain's blueprint is established. Sensory experiences, such as sound, taste, sight, and touch, encourage creation of pathways that carry impulses from cell to cell, creating a neuron network.
Here are some ways to incorporate music into your baby's life:
Turn off the television and turn on the stereo. Choose soft, quiet music, such as classical or acoustic music.
Play music at bedtime.
Sing to your baby - even if your voice sounds like a barking seal. Your child won't care.
Teach your child to play music when he or she grows up. University researchers have found that children as young as three years old who have had private piano and singing lessons scored higher on reasoning tests than children with no musical training.

A Caution for Infertile Men
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, some infertile couples who opt for in vitro fertilization are running 50 times the normal risk of having children with cystic fibrosis (CF). DNA testing on 149 men with obstructive azoospermia - infertility due to tubal problems - revealed that 43 carried the genetic mutation for CF. Fortunately, both parents must carry the mutation to produce a child with CF. Men with obstructive azoospermia and their spouses should consider DNA testing before in vitro fertilization.

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