How do children respond to a mother’s voice?

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved A mother’s voice has special power. It can provide comfort — and improve outcomes — for babies hospitalized in the NICU. It can shape the way infants process language in the brain. And it can help children cope with pain and stress. What happens when a baby Read More »

What is colic? An evidence-based guide to excessive infant crying

closeup of colicky infant - intense crying

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What is colic? The quick facts are these: “Infantile colic” is the term that doctors use for excessive crying and fussing that has no obvious cause. To make a diagnosis, many use the “rule of three,” which identifies a baby as colicky if he or she is “otherwise healthy and well-fed,” but Read More »

The effects of television on learning to speak: Is it helpful or harmful?

toddler watching television

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What are the effects of television on language learning? Studies report a link between TV and language development in young children. The more time kids spend watching television, the more slowly they learn to talk. What’s going on? Some people conclude that the effects of Read More »

The best infant feeding schedule: Why babies benefit from feeding on cue

© 2017 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The infant feeding schedule reconsidered In the past, Western “baby experts” often instructed parents to feed their babies at regularly-spaced intervals of 3- or 4-hours. Today, official medical recommendations have shifted in favor of letting babies decide. Why the change? There are a number of reasons, Read More »

When do babies sleep through the night?

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Studies suggest that most babies begin to “sleep through the night” (at least 5-6 hours without parental intervention) by 3-6 months of age. But some infants take longer, and the road to progress can be bumpy. Even after babies experience their first, long episodes of nighttime sleep, Read More »

What’s the right age to start potty training? It depends on your goals


© 2021 Gwen Dewar, all rights reserved In Western countries like the United States, many children begin toilet training sometime between 24 and 36 months.  But from an historical and cross-cultural standpoint, this timing is very late, and it comes with a downside. So what’s the right potty training age? It depends on your child, Read More »

The newborn senses: What can babies feel, see, hear, smell, and taste?

© 2017 – 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved How do newborn senses compare with our own? Babies don’t see colors quite like we do, and their vision is blurry. They have more trouble picking out speech from background noise. Yet newborns are fascinated by the visual world, and they show remarkable abilities to Read More »

Infant toilet training: The scientific evidence

© 2020 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Widely practiced in traditional cultures, infant toilet training is becoming more popular in Western countries. But what are the pros and cons of early training? How do you actually do it? And what does science tell us about the development of bladder control? If you grew up Read More »