Q&A's about babies


dad holds baby Why does the baby's head smell so beautiful? Why do we talk to them in this "baby" language? And why do they insist, despite the time and attention we dedicate to them every day, first saying the word "dad"?


Linda Geddes, a cell biologist and editor of New Scientist magazine, wanted to find the answers to these questions - and many more - when she became pregnant with her first child.


The result was a study of the science of pregnancy, childbirth and newborn babies, which 18 months later led to the writing of a book entitled "Bumpology" (published by Bantam Press) and was published in Britain earlier this year.


In this book, which is intended "for curious future parents", Ms. Geddes dispels myths about pregnancy and fetuses, and records what science has found to date. Here are some of the wonders it captures:


Why do we speak the "baby" language?

Parents around the world have a common tendency to sing to babies and in words that sound more like inarticulate sounds (such as the "elbow", "boo" we use in our country). This is not a coincidence, according to a recent study by Brown University.


Research has shown that prolonging vocalizations enhances infants' ability to recognize words, while singing can attract their attention.


Why do babies smell so nice?

The smell of babies has something addictive and many moms admit that they spend hours smelling their baby. And rightly so, as several studies have shown that within a day or two of childbirth, women can recognize their baby with their eyes closed just by the smell.


Although it is not exactly known what causes the characteristic, wonderful smell of babies' heads, scientists believe that sebaceous glands, which are particularly active in newborns, play a role, especially in the head and face.


Their smell, that one of milk, is probably due to the fact that the smell of the body is affected by what we eat.


Can babies "taste" spicy food that mother eats?

The taste buds on the tongue of the embryos develop in the 13th-15th week of pregnancy, giving them the ability to perceive simple flavors, such as sweet, bitter and salty.


The smells and tastes of the pregnant woman's food pass to the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby and in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the baby swallows almost a liter of amniotic fluid a day, he "tastes" what his mother has eaten. . In fact, studies have shown that a pregnant woman's eating preferences affect those of her baby.


In one of them, the babies of women who drank a glass of carrot juice four times a week during the last trimester of pregnancy found the grains with carrot juice very tasty when they grew up.


Others found that when pregnant women ate a lot of fruit, their babies loved the fruit after weaning.


Can fetus understand the stress of pregnancy?

Many studies have shown that the mother's mood affects the fetus - and the most characteristic are those that show how her mobility in the womb changes.


Researchers at Nagasaki University in Japan found that when pregnant women listened to happy music with headphones, the fetuses were stimulated and their hands moved, and when they listened to sad music, their movements were restricted.


The reason for these influences is believed to be the hormonal fluctuations that are observed, depending on the mental mood of the pregnant woman. The fetus feels the mood of his mother!


Why do their eyes change color?

Eye color is an inherited trait, which is determined by the amount of pigment melanin produced by each person's body.


Babies by nature have very low melanin production at birth, which is why most are born with blue or blue-gray eyes.


However, as their eyes are exposed to light, the production of melanin increases and so their eyes change color until the age of 6 months. After that, it will be difficult to change dramatically.


Why do babies say "daddy" first?

Speech requires the coordination of nearly 70 different muscles and parts of the body, which is why babies usually begin to utter the first unintelligible "words" at the age of seven or eight months.


International studies by Dr. Barbara Davis, from the University of Texas, has shown that babies all over the world are more likely to combine "b", "d", "m", "g" and "a" first.


So their first words are "dad" and "mom" not because we are the most important people in their lives, but because it's easier for them to pronounce them!


The "ba", however, is even easier than the "ma", because to say it they use the lips, the jaw and the soft palate (the "meat" that hangs in the back of the mouth), while to say the "but" should immobilize the soft palate, which is clearly a more complex process. That's how they often say "daddy" first.


So the next time a dad brags, for the first word of his little one happy, just smile with understanding and don't deprive him of the joy he experiences!

happy baby