Teething Pains

Sleep has been terrible the last week or so. He was finally sleeping well, around 9 months, but now is waking up every hour or so. I wasn’t sure if it was teething because he just had his lower lateral incisors (the ones either side of the bottom front middle teeth) come in a few weeks ago (and sleep was bad then too). But, today we noticed a “teething hematoma” at the top back on his gum where the first MOLAR is supposed to come in. Molars already!! Would explain all the upset. But why at night? He doesn’t appear so upset during the day. Anyway, let’s see if a molar comes through. Quite early. Not sure what he’s planning to do with all these teeth!

A quick look on Google scholar comes back with this article (1. Teething: A Relook) 


INTRODUCTION: Your new bundle of joy is about to embark on a  beautiful journey through the rites of passage, commonly known as “Teething.” Now, if the “Tooth be told,” this journey is not going to be a bed of  roses; but take heart! This emotionally charged  experience is but one chapter in the beautiful novel of the life that “YOU” have helped to create… (pg 116)


Ok, sounds interesting….


As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy,  sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and fever are not normal for a teething baby (2). Prior to tooth eruption, the gingiva [baby-brain does not know what this is] may appear bluish and swollen as a result of a transient hematoma. In rare cases, an eruption cyst develops. The tooth will eventually rupture this watery sac as it pushes through the gums…. (pg 116)


…. Nice


  1. Gugwad, S., Bommanavar, S., & Garud, S. (2012) Teething: A Relook. Int J Dent Case Reports, 2(5):115-120.
  2. Markman L. (2009) Teething: Facts and Fiction. Pediatr Rev, 30: e59-e64.

baby-brain.co.uk is on facebook – psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood and babies

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective and blog on motherhood and babies, now on facebook!

My face is on a book?

baby-brain.co.uk (psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood and babies) is coming to facebook!!

 ◊♦    Here’s the facebook page   ♦◊

Ok, so i’ve finally set up a facebook page – or at least attempted to do so.
If you would like:
  • frequent updates,
  • mini links,
  • posts of interesting baby and parenthood related activities, crafts, psychological research
  • and more stuff that I haven’t thought of yet!
Then please like the page! I will probably post quick little things on there more frequently than on this site 


gentle sensory water play shower idea

Gentle sensory water shower for baby – a fun bath time activity! And it’s cheap, quick and simple to set up as well.

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

Basically, get a small plastic milk carton/bottle. Carefully make some holes in the lid (I used a small skewer), and cut a hole towards the bottom of the bottle, like in the pictures below. The holes in the lid are obviously so that the water can sprinkle out, and the hole in the body of the bottle is so that you can fill it with water easily by dunking it in the bath water.


gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babiesMake sure the plastic edge of the hole isn’t too sharp or scratchy because the Little Lovely was quite interested in the bottle and ended up grabbing it (as can be seen in the pictures below). I used a nail file to smooth any rough edges. He probably chewed on it a bit as well so, again, safety first and make sure the lid is on tightly. Always supervise this project and be especially cautious around water


gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

Then, carefully introduce the sprinkled water to baby. We did this in the bath, but I suppose you could use it elsewhere if you don’t mind the water splashing about the place. Maybe in the garden on a hot day?


Here’s the Little Lovely enjoying the showery water sensation:
gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

What’s this?



He was quite curious about the bottle and enjoyed the sensation of the water showering on his hands, tummy and hair.

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies


Having a little shower



gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies

You can’t tell very well, but LL is actually lying on a special baby seat in the picture below, and enjoying the water being sprinkled on his tummy and chest.

gentle water sensory shower, bath time sensory activity play for baby. baby-brain.co.uk. psychology resource, perspective, blog on motherhood & babies



first (assisted) steps

The Little Lovely took his first assisted steps this evening! He’s getting quite good at standing up now, with some assistance or by holding onto something. Once standing and holding my hands he can be encouraged to take a few steps. Well done LL! (He’s just over 9 months)

Park life boy – baby activity & maternal wellbeing

Baby activity: in relation to the maternal wellbeing and mental health page

Go to the park…..

go to the park with baby. activity ideas maternal mental health and well being. baby-brain.co.uk psychological resource, perspective and blog on motherhood and babies

Park life boy


And have fun on the swings


Go to the park with another family. Social activity ideas maternal mental health and well being. baby-brain.co.uk psychological resource, perspective and blog on motherhood and babies

Psychological research: winter babies crawl earlier than summer babies

Psychological research paper: are there differences in crawling age between winter and summer babies? baby-brain.co.uk. Psychological perspective, resource and blog on motherhood

Crawling baby

Psychological research paper: I saw this paper here, about crawling, thought it looked interesting:

Babies Born in the Winter Start Crawling Earlier Than Those Born in the Summer

Study shows a seasonal effect on the pace of motor development in babies


Babies born between December and May (“winter” babies) were found to start to crawl earlier compared to those born between June and November (“summer” babies – although November is bit a bit winter-ish if you ask me, but hey-ho). The study involved motor observations at home when babies were 7 months old, and following the babies up when they started crawling. Parents were also asked to record the stages in their babies’ development.

The average age at which the babies started crawling was 31 weeks. But while the babies born in the winter (who started to crawl in the summer) started to crawl at an average 30 weeks, those born in the summer (who started to crawl in the winter) began crawling at an average of 35 weeks, with no differences noted between the boys or the girls or in the initial style of crawling (belly crawling or using hands and knees).

They also used a measure that assessed 4 different positions: Prone (on the stomach), supine (on the back), sitting, and standing – the overall scores the babies got on this assessment was higher for winter babies, but, there were no significant differences in scores between the winter and summer babies on the scores for the supine position, sitting, or standing.

So what do the researchers conclude?

According to the researchers, the findings strengthen the assumption that there is a window of opportunity for starting to crawl and stress the effect of the season on the start of crawling.

The current study took place in Israel. They talk about the seasonal effect because other studies where there is quite a difference between seasons have found similiar results, e.g. in Denver, Colorado and Osaka, Japan. But, but a study that took place in Alberta, Canada, didn’t find any seasonal effect. Despite winters being “long and cold” there, the researchers write that the environment in the house is very similar all year round because of winter heating.

They write:

“Although the winter in Israel is comparatively mild…. it turns out that it nonetheless influences the motor development of babies because of the differences between summer and winter in Israel,”

⇒ So why does season and seasonal effects seem to be relevant to when babies start to crawl?

The study notes that:

“The season influences the babies’ experiences in a number of ways, including

  • layers of clothing that are worn

  • the opportunities babies are given to spend on the floor on their stomachs, and,

  • the hours of activity and daylight

Awareness of the seasonal effect is important so that parents will give their babies proper movement and development opportunities in the winter as well,” 

Ooooh I see, so it’s not necessarily anything inherent about winter vs summer children, but about environmental factors and what is going on in the baby’s home and environment when they are developing and reaching the age that they might start to develop crawling skills.

Those born in winter will approach crawling ready age in spring/summer where there might be more opportunities to go out, have more hours of day light in which in play, less restrictive or thick clothing on so that they can practice movement more freely, etc.

New page added – Quick and Easy Baby Activity Ideas


Some ideas for quick and simple activities with baby! Read the full page here:

- Simple Baby Play Ideas and Activities 

 (under the “let’s make stuff” page)

Quick easy baby play & activity ideas: baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective and blog on motherhood

List of quick and easy to set up baby play ideas and activities



psychological research: Do babies understand speech?

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective and blog on motherhood and babies infant speech verbal understanding

Do babies understand speech?

I saw this interesting research paper today (1) about whether babies as young as 6 months understand that speech is used to communicate information (rather than random, interesting sounds that come out of our mouths).


→ Babies at 6 months appear to understand that speech transfers information between people

Some people might think – but of course! Others might think, wow, that’s early to understand such a thing.




The study also mentioned that:
  • Previous research (2, 3) has shown that 12 month old children can understand that speech transfers information, even when the speech is unknown or a new experience for them.
  • By 6 months, babies prefer speech over other sounds (4)
  • They also associate speech as coming from people, rather than other animals, for example (5)


What the experiment did:

The researchers looked at:

  • Whether 6 month olds could recognise that speech can communicate something about an object.
  • In the experiment the baby watched an actor reach for one of two different objects. There was also a second person present. Next, the actor could no longer reach the objects, but the second person could
    • so they either “spoke” to the person (they actually spoke a nonsense word, not a real conversation)
    • or made a non-speech communication (a cough).
  • The second person would then pick up one of the objects (there was a “target” object and a “non-preferred” object)
  • The results showed that babies looked at the actor for longer when they reached for the non-preferred object than the target object when they made the nonsense word, but not when when they coughed.

The study concludes that at 6 months, even though babies have a very small receptive vocabulary, infants have some abstract understanding of the communicative function of speech. This understanding may help with their development of language and knowledge.

Six-month olds infer that a vocalization that takes the
form of speech, even without any previously established
meaning, can communicate information about an object…….


…… even before knowing many words, infants can already use their understanding of the abstract role of speech in communication to evaluate the outcome of communicative interactions. (pg7)

The main points:
  • babies understand that speech is used to communicate and has a communicative function before they build their vocabularies and start to speak.
  • understanding that speech is used to communicate may happen before the child develops language, and this understanding may also provide a mechanism for early language acquisition:
  •  Babies start to learn quite early on that speech transfers information and may use this abstract understanding to learn about the meaning of individual words (6)




  1. Vouloumanos, A., Martin, A., & Onishi, K. H. (2014). Do 6-month-olds understand that speech can communicate? Developmental Science, pp 1–8
  2. Martin, A., Onishi, K.H., & Vouloumanos, A. (2012). Understanding the abstract role of speech in communication at 12 months. Cognition, 123 (1), 50 – 60. 
  3. Vouloumanos, A., Onishi, K .H., & Pogue, A. (2012). Twelve-month-old infants recognize that speech can communicate unobservable intentions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 109 (32),12933 – 12937.
  4. Vouloumanos, A., & Werker, J.F. (2004). Tuned to the signal:the privileged status of speech for young infants. Develop-mental Science.  7 (3), 270-276
  5. Vouloumanos, A., Druhen, M. J., Hauser, M.D., & Huizink, A.T. (2009). Five-month-old infants’ identification of thesources of vocalizations.  Proceedings of the National Acad-emy of Sciences of the United States of America,106 (44),18867-18872.
  6. Waxman, S.R., & Leddon, E.M. (2002). Early word learning and conceptual development: everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. In U. Goswami(Ed.),The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitivedevelopment (pp. 102-126). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell
For further references in relation to infant cognition and communication see this page here from the infant cognition and communication lab

Toy tray play

toy tray play baby

We had some fun today putting some of the Little Lovely’s toys on a large tray lid and letting him explore them all and push them around of the tray. Toys included a variety of textures, shapes and sound making items, and objects to mouth. It seemed to entertain him for a while! It was probably a novel experience for him as his toys and items are not usually presented to him like this. They are either on the floor, in a box or part of a treasure basket.
Rotate and alternate the toys for something different each week or day.
baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective and blog on motherhood baby toy tray play

Having fun with toys presented on tray


food glorious food

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective, blog on babies and motherhood. weaning tales, baby food, highchair

Baby at the table

So the Little Lovely (LL) has been trying out solids for about 2.5 months now. He is regularly eating a meal or two a day, more like two meals actually. I was unsure of how much milk to give him on top of this and whether to drop a milk feed and replace it fully with a solid meal. He seems to have a very good appetite and, other than making some faces at the first few bites of new food, he seems to eat anything he is offered.


The weaning literature seems to say stuff like “don’t worry about portion sizes at the moment – your baby will tell you when they have had enough” – and other things like the start of weaning being more about baby trying out and tasting different foods rather than about giving solid food for nutritional purposes. That’s all well and good, but LL will eat A LOT of anything he is offered and usually stops only once the food has run out. So, for example, if I offer him a 120g pouch of food he will eat it all, and eat any additional food that I offer afterwards. I can’t find anywhere how much in one meal an 8.5 month old is supposed to have, because it usually says the usual about “your baby will tell you when he’s full….etc”. Well, ok so am I supposed to stuff him with food until he’s sick? because that’s what it feels like will happen if I keep feeding him.

baby-brain.co.uk weaning tales psychology perspective & blog on motherhood, babies

More Food Please


Anyway, I called up the NCT breastfeeding helpline to speak to someone about whether I should drop a milk feed and just have LL on one morning and one evening feed a day (2 feeds/day total). They were very helpful. They told me that he should have 4 feeds a day and will need approx 600ml of milk (formula or breastmilk), and even when he is one year old will still need a pint of milk a day, although at that point he could have cow’s milk. She said about weaning not being meal replacement but about being complementary to the milk, and over time the percentage of food to milk will change, with him having more food and less milk, but for now he gets his main nutrition from milk. She was speaking from a generic perspective, however, and said things that I don’t really think apply to LL such as about baby not eating that much at the moment etc, and that he needs calcium and the like. I told her that he ate a 90g pot of yoghurt today, so would that give him enough calcium? I asked. She thought it would.

He has also increased in weight from the 50% percentile at birth and the first 2 months or so, up to I think above the 90th centile, although I haven’t had him weighed for a few weeks. So, I’m still not sure about portion sizes and want to ensure he isn’t eating too much seeing as he needs 4 milk feeds on top of it!

Anyway, for dinner today he had butternut squash and pear. He seemed to like it. lots left over for the freezer.

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource & perspective on motherhood and babies, and blog. weaning tales. baby food

Butternut squash and pear home-made baby food

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