Moms Talk More to Babies, Especially Girls
Mothers talk to their babies more often than fathers do, and they say more to the girls than to the boys. Those are the main conclusions of a new study of 33 babies and their parents. Babies wore special vests that recorded sounds for up to 16 hours straight. They wore the vests first as newborns. Then the vests were used again to record sounds at about 1 month and 7 months of age. All of the later recordings were done on days when both parents were home. Not only did mothers talk to the babies more than fathers did, but babies also responded more to their mothers than to their fathers. Mothers talked more to daughters than to sons when they were newborn or 1 month old. By age 7 months, this trend was not as strong. Fathers talked slightly more to their sons than to their daughters. However, the difference was small enough that it could have been the result of chance.