Why Is My Baby Pulling At Their Ears? They’re Trying To Tell You Something

By Shannon Evans

When it comes to infants, parents can drive themselves crazy reading into every nonverbal cue they give. You’re constantly on the lookout for common ailments like ear infections, so when you see tiny hands heading towards those ears, your antennae prick up. But are infections always the culprit? When parents ask, “why is my baby pulling at their ears?” they’re likely to come across a large spectrum of explanations.

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Does Your Child Need Early Intervention?

By Barbara Smith

If your child is experiencing developmental delays, don’t worry. Here’s what to know and what you can do to help.

Soon after birth, your child will show off her personality and develop skills such as briefly gazing at objects, communicating that she wants to be held, and fussing to be fed. Although children develop at their own pace, most achieve certain milestones — crawling, walking, saying first words — at around the same age. When children are not reaching expected milestones and are showing significantly delayed development, parents may worry. Suspecting a “delay” is scary, but there may not always be a problem.

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Seven Surprising Things You Can Do at Home to Help Your Child Eat New Foods

By Melanie Potock

1. Explore Food away from Meals: Use food for other purposes than eating to increase the child’s exposure to the food in fun, interactive ways.  For example, learning to match colors with orange carrots & red bell peppers gets those nutritious foods in your child’s hands and that’s a safe, fun place to start!  Here’s a video demonstrating that process.

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The Great Pouch Debate: Pros, Cons and Compromising

By Melanie Potock

Brace yourself. We are about to talk about pouches. You know, those little packets of convenience, filled with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, sometimes with a little chia or quinoa mixed in. Parents love them, kids push up the puree and suck it right down in a flash, and speech-language pathologists get all in a fluster about them.

Let’s chat about the pros, the cons and a few compromises in the great pouch debate among parents and those of us who treat clients with feeding challenges. The benefits seem obvious to parents, but as a pediatric feeding specialist, I’m not a big fan of those plastic bags of puree. Why? It’s just too much of a good thing. Let’s examine the pros and cons of feeding kids via pouches on a daily basis.

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Three Reasons Why Kids Get Hooked on “Kids’ Meals”… and How to Change That

By Melanie Potock

Let me say this up front: I’m not condemning the American Kids’ Meal that is so common in fast food chains and family restaurants, but clearly I’m not keen on eating that type of food when there are other choices.   My own kids have certainly had their fair share of chicken nuggets, mac n’cheese and French fries, just to name a few of the comfort kid foods that predictably reappear on kids’ menus day after day.   This is not a blog about good vs. healthy nutrition, because most parents (including me) know that the traditional fast food fare is not healthy…and that’s exactly why parents want to change the statistics that 15 percent of preschoolers ask to go to McDonald’s  “at least once a day.”  

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7 Surprising Baby Safety Mistakes You Might (Still) Be Making

By Tamekia Reece

September is National Baby Safety Month. Check out these surprising “don’ts” that many parents still do.

When it comes to baby safety, there are quite a few rules you probably know well: Put baby to sleep on his back, no bumpers or loose bedding in the crib, store poisonous items out of reach, never leave baby unattended on an elevated surface. The list goes on and on. Even though you do all of those things (and more), you may still be making mistakes that put your baby at risk. Right these wrongs to keep your baby safe.

Read more on Parents.com >>

What Is Speech Therapy?

By Barbara Smith

Photo by Aimee Herring

If your child has a speech disability that includes trouble pronouncing words, speech therapy may help improve language development, communication, and pragmatic language skills.

Speech therapy is an intervention service that focuses on improving a child’s speech and abilities to understand and express language, including nonverbal language. Speech therapists, or speech and language pathologists (SLPs), are the professionals who provide these services. Speech therapy includes two components: 1) coordinating the mouth to produce sounds to form words and sentences (to address articulation, fluency, and voice volume regulation); and 2) understanding and expressing language (to address the use of language through written, pictorial, body, and sign forms, and the use of language through alternative communication systems such as social media, computers, and iPads). In addition, the role of SLPs in treating swallowing disorders has broadened to include all aspects of feeding.

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Finger Foods for 10-Month-Old Kids

By Rosenya Faith

She’s about to take another leap toward independence, and it’s going to get messy. Finger foods help your little munchkin develop new skills and explore through new tastes and textures. You’ll probably be able to tell when she’s ready for more when you find her reaching for the spoon at feeding time and trying to swipe food off your plate. Until she gets good at feeding herself though, get ready to take plenty of pictures of her adorable food-covered face and be prepared for lots of floor scrub-a-thons.

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Sippy Cups: 3 Reasons to Skip Them and What to Offer Instead

By Melanie Potock

In the article Step Away from the Sippy Cup, I discussed how the sippy cup was invented for parents, not for kids. An engineer got fed up with his toddler spilling juice on the carpet and the rest is history. Today, sippy cups are marketed to parents as a vital piece of feeding equipment, causing parents to consider sippy cups an essential part of a baby’s development. As a speech-language pathologist and feeding specialist, I beg to differ on this point. Here’s why:

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