Do you read me, baby?

It's never too early to read to your baby.

Armin Brott Is it too soon to be reading to my two-month-old son? If not, what should I read?

Entertaining your baby with play

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Jamie Davis Smith It seems that by now that I would have a lot of things figured out. But figuring out how to play with an infant still remains a challenge.

Expert Q&A: Gross motor skill development in babies

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Dr Katie Heathershaw Dr Katie Heathershaw answers questions about babies' gross motor skill development, including crawling, tummy time, reaching, using a jumper chair, and neck movement.

Expert Q&A: Gross motor skill development in toddlers and preschoolers

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Dr Katie Heathershaw Dr Katie Heathershaw answers questions about jumping, toe walking, riding a bike and being pigeon toed.

Why sleep is so important for learning and play

Good sleep leads to productive play

Lucy Cooper During the first 12 months of life, your baby's brain grows rapidly, and getting enough restful sleep is vital for assisting this growth.

Babies 'benefit from iPads at a young age': study

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JO HARTLEY More often than not, you'll read that screen time for children should be kept to a minimum - but some scientists are now challenging this way of thinking.

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How to play with your baby, from 4 to 12 months

Get down and play at their level

Lucy Cooper Playing with your baby is a skill that some mums need to learn - it doesn't always come naturally.

Physical play and development

Add sessions of tummy time into your baby's day.

Lucy Cooper Learning occurs in areas of development for babies and young chidren through play. Physical play is important for their fine and gross motor skills.

Encouraging baby's cognitive skills

Encourage reading with your baby

Lucy Cooper A baby will develop their cognitive skills through a range of play activities. You can help encourage this learning through some of these play tips and ideas.

Social & emotional development through play

Babies are captivated by faces, allow her to explore.

Lucy Cooper From our recent 30 days of #PlayIQ the play tips and ideas focusing on the social and emotional skill sets with play ideas and tips.

Five ways playtime helps your toddler develop

Your toddler's gross motor coordination develops rapidly at this stage, so provide play opportunities to hone them.

Lucy Cooper Once your baby has mastered walking, they enter the 'toddler' phase. Here are some ideas for play opportunities that build on the cognitive, social and physical skills your child established as a bub.

Toys for all senses

Babies love to look at faces, and gazing at their own in a toy mirror is no exception!

Lucy Cooper From the moment your baby is born, they start using their senses to learn about the wonderful world around them.

Building your baby's emotional and social skills through play

Your baby will build social skills and awareness equally through one-on-one playdates or by visiting loved ones like Grandma.

Lucy Cooper Babies are social beings who enjoy being around people they know and love, especially you.

How to play with your newborn

During tummy time, your newborn will enjoy seeing the world from a different perspective

Lucy Cooper Even though they're immobile and can't speak, there are plenty of ways you can engage and communicate with your newborn to stimulate their physical, cognitive and emotional development.

Building your baby's confidence

You can also boost your baby's confidence by showing them that they are an important and special part of the family!

Lucy Cooper What is a confident baby? A child that feels secure and safe.

Expert Q&A: Playtime from 12 months to toddlerhood

Chalk is a great playtime supply for a nice day outdoors.

Dr Katie Heathershaw Paediatrician and Fisher-Price paediatric specialist Dr Katie Heathershaw answers questions mums and dads have asked about playing with their children from 12 months to toddlerhood.

Expert Q&A: Baby playtime from birth to 12 months

A simple cardboard box can provide lots of fun for little ones.

Dr Katie Heathershaw Paediatrician and Fisher-Price paediatric specialist Dr Katie Heathershaw answers questions mums and dads have asked about playing with their babies from birth to 12 months.

How to play with your baby

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The first time your child learns a new skill at playtime is very exciting - for both you and your baby! Play is important to your child's development for a variety of reasons - here are some simple ideas for you to try at home.

The importance of music play

Get out the pots and pans!

Lucy Cooper Even in the womb, music can help build an emotional connection between you and your child. As your baby grew inside you, they became used to your voice, and you might even have sung to your unborn child or played soothing music.

Video: Baby shows dog how to jump - or vice versa

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LETITIA ROWLANDS They say dog is man's best friend, but this playful pooch seems to have chosen a jumping baby as her number one buddy.

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Why movement is so important for your baby's growth

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Maggie Dent Letting your child move as much as possible in the early years – using all senses, engaging in the real world, preferably outside – will help them grow up healthier, smarter, calmer and stronger.

Guilty beagle sorry for stealing baby's toy

Charlie the beagle and baby Laura are best friends

Letitia Rowlands Charlie the beagle steals baby Laura's favourite toy, but the lovable hound makes it up to his little best friend.

Dog tries to teach baby how to crawl

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The baby girl was working on her crawling technique when the family's pet dog saw she was struggling and came to give a helping paw.

My baby plays with Barbie, and I'm okay with that

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Donna Webeck Barbie is a representation of some of the happiest times in my childhood, and I’m all for fostering a similar love within my baby girl.

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Parents throw one-year-old a 'Game of Thrones' party

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Dennis Green A very lucky one-year-old had the birthday party theme of every nerd's dream - complete with an Iron Throne.

Man devastated by fiance's faked quintuplet pregnancy

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Melanie Mahoney A woman has duped her boyfriend, friends and well-meaning strangers into believing she was going to have quintuplets until arriving at hospital to supposedly give birth.

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Clean start for thousands of babies' bottoms, thanks to kindness of strangers

Letitia Rowlands The inspirational team at The Nappy Collective are thrilled with the total number of nappies collected during their most recent drive.

Video: Baby starts his day with a dance party

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Melanie Mahoney Few people start their day the same way this little guy does – dancing, smiling, and generally having an awesome time.

Video: Dad joins in cute tummy time workout

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Letitia Rowlands Dad Michael Stansbury decided to join his six-month-old daughter Lilly Ann on the floor for tummy time. The result is an adorable video clip that's gone viral.

Meet the super important 'business baby'

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Dennis Green Reddit unearths a picture of a baby doing business at breakfast and the community goes wild.

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The truth about RIE parenting

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KASEY EDWARDS Turns out the latest 'bizarre Hollywood trend' is not that weird after all.

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Why 'baby talk' is best

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Rachel Clun If you've found yourself cooing in ‘baby talk’ to your baby, you're off to a good start - recent research has confirmed that that this kind of communication can be more beneficial for your child's language development than using normal speech.

The iPad Apptivity Seat: just what every newborn needs?

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LETITIA ROWLANDS Fisher-Price has released a baby seat which comes complete with a space for an iPad. But is their 'Newborn to Toddler Apptivity' seat the worst toy idea ever?

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Study: winter babies behave better than summer kids

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COSIMA MARRINER Summer babies are more likely to struggle with sharing, concentrating, making friends and helping than those born during winter, new research suggests.

Parental anxiety over creating clever kids

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RACHEL BROWNE It’s natural for parents to want the best for their children, but current emphasis on cognitive development puts a huge amount of pressure on everyone.

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New parents need empathy, not telling off

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CATHERINE RODIE If Dom Knight's recent Daily Life article is anything to go by, it would seem I owe my childfree friends a massive apology.

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App Review: NAN Toddler Talk

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Staff Writers Ever wondered what your toddler is trying to tell you with their babbles and squeals?

Decoding baby babble

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Amity Dry While a happy baby babbling is easy to listen to, an upset baby trying to communicate can be one of the most frustrating and upsetting experiences of new motherhood. How do you know which cries mean what?

When your child should learn to swim

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Tanya Ryan-Segger Swimming classes teach children - and their parents - about safe water habits, even from a very young age.

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My favourite friend: why kids love animals

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LEGO® DUPLO® Children and animals are a match made in heaven. Not only do children have a natural affection for furry, four-legged creatures, but they can also learn a lot from their animal friends.

Return to the classics: what makes an 'evergreen' toy

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LEGO® DUPLO® Not sure how all those new interactive toys work? Or even if your child will play with them? When in doubt, return to the classics.

How to play with your newborn baby

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Brooke Tasovac When you've got a newborn there's not much you can do together - all he does is sleep, eat and dirty his nappy, right? Not quite. Here are some simple ideas for playing with your baby in his first three months.

Kids of married couples have better outcomes

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The children of married parents have better educational and social outcomes than those raised by de facto couples or single mothers, according to new research.

Child car seat review: SWiSH air convertible booster seat from Safety 1st

It can take the skills of a structural engineer and the fortitude of an amateur wrestler to install a new car seat. Eleanor James explains why the Safety 1st SWiSH air convertible booster seat is worth entrusting with your time, money, and your child’s safety.

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Babies outperform best computers

Babies outperform best computers

Deborah Smith Given a choice between raw broccoli and a salty cracker, 18-month-old children will invariably choose the tastiest: the biscuit.

Forums

Birth to six months

Congratulations on your new baby! There are lots of useful tips and information to be found here, and it is a great place to ask those questions that crop up through these early months.

Six months to 12 months

First foods, crawling, words. This next six months includes plenty of new things - you will find advice, tips and questions answered in this forum.

Win a Mountain Buggy Swift

To celebrate Essential Baby reaching half a million Facebook fans, we have a Mountain Buggy Swift to giveaway to a lucky fan.

Shopping with kids: breaking the pester-power cycle

You're out shopping with your little one and they're incessantly whining that they want a treat. It's easy to say no ... the first time, at least.

eBay jacket may hold clue to murdered girl's identity

A jacket similar to the one found with the remains of a brutally murdered little girl in South Australia has been identified on eBay.

New mum forced back to work early due to paid parental leave 'technicality'

Shelley Parker had to keep driving buses until the date her baby was due and will have to rush back to work at the end of this week after being denied paid parental leave on a "technicality".

Pregnant Amanda Palmer poses naked for book drive

It has to be the most original way ever of promoting a children's book donation day.

The conception dilemma facing many parents today

Some parents who conceived through a sperm donor will be wary of telling the child, while others prefer to deal with it early on. But recent research suggests it makes little difference either way.

The wedding photo the bridesmaid would rather forget

We've probably all seen a passed-out bridesmaid at one wedding or another, but it usually happens towards the end of the night.

Pregnant TV meteorologist takes on haters

Pregnant TV meteorologist Katie Fehlinger has hit back at haters who called her a "sausage in casing".

Honest words from first-time mums

I didn't want to say anything negative to my pregnant friend, but I wish I'd been more honest.

Adorable baby experiences rain for the first time, couldn't be happier

Harper had seen rain from the comfort of indoors before, but had never had the pleasure of being outside and experiencing it first hand.

What it's really like to start a family in your fifties

Many people suppose that it must be much more tiring to have a baby in middle age, but all the mothers in the playground look exhausted, whatever their age.

'Biggest hypocrite ever': Josh Duggar admits to Ashley Madison account

An American reality TV star has been busted with a cheating website account, according to US media.

Long recovery ahead for girl hit by car weeks after baby brother's death

A little girl is more alert and starting to talk after being hit by a car a week ago, but still faces a long recovery.

How to react when a toddler lies

Q: My almost-3-year-old is starting to figure out that he can lie when asked if he ripped the book, threw the food, hit his brother, etc. Totally normal, I know. How do we respond?

The circular experience of a Centrelink client

A mum-to-be experiences the frustration of dealing with Centrelink, myGov and everything in between.

Kelly Clarkson announces live on stage: 'I'm pregnant!'

Singer Kelly Clarkson has announced she is pregnant with her second child during a concert in Los Angeles.

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How to search the leaked Ashley Madison data

At least three sites are republishing Ashley Madison's user data on the public-facing internet.

Mum dances her way through labour

There are a fair few ways to distract yourself and beat pains while in labour, but it's probably a rare woman who chooses her dance her way through it.

'Rest in peace, my little lion': premmie baby Jacob passes away

Baby Jacob, whose photo of him born at just 27 weeks was deemed 'too graphic' for a fundraising site, has died.

Mum killed three young sons 'to help her daughter', prosecutor says

Niall Pilkington's death last summer apparently raised little alarm in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Tragic accidents happen, after all.

Shorter women have shorter pregnancies: study

When a group of researchers studied nearly 3500 mothers and their babies, they noticed a curious pattern.

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The worst 20 minutes of my life

Thirty seconds was all it took to turn a shopping trip into my worst nightmare.

Top baby names for England and Wales in 2014

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Do you read me, baby?

Is it too soon to be reading to my two-month-old son? If not, what should I read?

Minimising sibling rivalry when you've got a baby

Sibling rivalry is an act of competition, but if your children feel involved and special, this type of jealousy will be minimised.

Will studying on maternity leave take you away from your most important job?

I remember when I was trying to decide if I could combine motherhood and furthering my university education.

Win a Pacapod this Father's Day

To celebrate dads and families, we are giving away a Picos Pack from Pacapod Australia filled with a few extra goodies ENTER NOW

Preschooler hit by car shortly after baby brother's death

A mother has had a frantic race to the hospital after her daughter was hit by a car, just four weeks after her infant son died.

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