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Brighter Days: 5 Top Tips for Reading to Your Baby

Jennifer Bright on

Reading to your baby increases his vocabulary, memory and attention span. Plus, it fosters creativity and a love of learning.

Rhyming books can help with pattern recognition. Peekaboo books can help teach cause and effect, and photo books can encourage object recognition. What wonderful gifts to give to your child! Plus, few things are sweeter in life than snuggling up with your child before bed to share a story.

Here's what our Mommy M.D.s -- doctors who are also mothers -- do to read to their own babies.

"My son is a book fiend. I think it's because we read to him so much as a toddler," says Sigrid Payne DaVeiga, M.D., a mom of three children and a pediatric allergist with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "We were living in Cleveland at the time. The winters were cold, and we stayed indoors a lot.

"A few years ago, my son mentioned a book that he had enjoyed as a toddler, called 'Good Night, Gorilla' by Peggy Rathmann," DaVeiga adds. "'I'm going to remember it for the rest of my life,' he said. That thought still brings a smile to my face!"

"I'm a huge fan of the public library system," says Antoinette Cheney, D.O., a mom of a son and a daughter and a family physician with Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colorado. "I've taken my kids to the library from a very young age. We go to story time, and we sign out books. We've signed out so many books over the years, it's sometimes a challenge to find books that we haven't read. It's all free, and I think that going to the library is a wonderful experience for kids. It's a valuable lesson for them to learn they can borrow these books for free, take good care of them, return them, and then they can borrow more."

"The Your Baby Can Read program was given to us for my first son," says Sharon Boyce, M.D., a mom of two sons and a family physician at DayOne Family Healthcare Clinic, in Battle Creek, Michigan. "It really did help my son with sight reading. When he was only three, and if I turned off the volume or showed him the words on a flashcard, he could say them."


"My toddlers loved being read to," says Susan Besser, M.D., a mom of six grown children and a grandmom of nine, a family physician with Mercy Medical Center/Mercy Personal Physicians, in Baltimore, Maryland. "We read whenever, whatever, wherever we could. We loved Dr. Seuss books -- all of them. Also, 'Goodnight Moon' was a favorite, as was 'The Napping House.'"

"As my kids got older, books specifically for toddlers would bore the older ones, so we also read "big-kid" books at story time," Besser adds. "Story time at my house was frequently for all the kids at once -- sort of like library reading time."

"Reading to my kids was one of the dearest things to me," says Ayala Laufer-Cahana, M.D., a mom of three, a pediatrician and the founder of Herbal Water Inc., and Dr. Ayala's Magic Spice in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. "I think that reading should begin at age 0! And it should continue even after kids are able to read themselves. I enjoyed reading some of my favorite books to my kids, and I also enjoyed discovering new favorites. The moment after my kids got out of the bath, when they were sleepy and snuggly, was such a great time to read to them.

"We have books spread all over our home, not just in the playroom or family room," Laufer-Cahana adds. "I think it's important that my kids see me enjoying books, too. The books that you read -- as well as the people whom you meet -- are what make you wiser, at any age."


Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, founding CEO of woman- and veteran-owned custom publisher Bright Communications LLC, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years" and six other books in the Mommy MD Guides series. She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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