A lot of babies are born in the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August is the most popular month for new babies, with 387,798 kids being born. July and September are also popular months, with 367,934 and 374,711 babies being born in those months, respectively. By contrast, the lowest month for births is February with 319,235 babies born.
Summer births mean that amid all the hysteria of the holidays, parents learn they’ll be celebrating the new year with a new child.
And while there’s plenty out there on what expecting parents should know, there was some new research in 2014 that shows new things to know with the new year approaching. Here are 15 things parents who are expecting can expect in 2015 — some time tested, others new:
Names are already trending
Want your kid to have a cool name? Better get cracking on it. According to The Huffington Post, there are already a slew of baby name trends for the new year. For example, names that were typically associated with girls, like Alexis, are being taken over by boys. And a lot of baby names are references to the South, like the states Georgia, Carolina and Alabama, HuffPost reported.
But what might be the oddest trend of 2015 is parents are putting the letter “X” in their baby’s names, according to HuffPost. Yes. Expect to see a lot more Rexs, Baxters and Dexters.
Dads change, too
Moms aren’t the only ones adjusting to hormonal changes when they’re expecting a child. According to research published in the American Journal of Human Biology, dads see a decrease in testosterone and estradiol, which increase for women during pregnancy. This makes expecting dads less sexually active and aggressive during those pre-birth months.
Don’t worry that you’re a little older
Research has found that women are having babies later. So, it’s a big possibility that parents expecting in 2015 are a little over 30 years old. But that’s not reason to freak out, according to Yale doctoral candidate Jenna Healey, who recently wrote for The Washington Post that having babies at a later age is an ongoing trend in America. Modern moms, she said, shouldn’t worry about it.
She said while a human’s biology may be made to have kids at younger ages, economic and societal issues are also important.
Soft bedding is a problem
Careful about where you put your baby for nap time. According to new research from the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies shouldn’t be placed near loose or soft materials, like crib bumpers or pillows, since it can lead to suffocation and asphyxia — in addition to letting babies lay on their backs.
The AAP recommends parents find a way to create a safe bedding environment without using toys or baby blankets to keep kids sheltered.
“We have tried to make it easier for parents and providers to understand the recommendations by providing specific answers to common questions,” said Dr. Rachel Moon, FAAP, chairwoman of the AAP SIDS task force. “As a health care community, we need to do a better job translating what the research identifies as ‘best practices’ into the day-to-day practice of caring for infants in both the hospital and home environment.”
Babies only remember the good times
New parents have a lot to handle, and times can get tough. But if research tells us anything, it's not to sweat the small stuff. According to a BYU study cited by Lois Collins of Deseret News National, babies younger than 5 months are more likely to remember the happy times in their early life rather than the neutral or negative ones. So if you make a mistake as a parent, your child likely won't remember it. So do the best you can and make their childhood a happy one.
Educational products won’t make your baby a genius...
Forget what you heard about baby geniuses and how they became that way. According to a New York University study, products that are “educational” or meant to make your child smarter won’t actually do so. Babies nine to 18 months can’t actually learn how to read, the study said, no matter what the products might say.
...neither will household products...
According to a study cited by Kelsey Clark of Deseret News National, two chemicals that you see every day in your home can actually make your children's IQ drop. Those two chemicals — Di-n-butyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate — are often found in lipstick, nail polish and even shampoo, Clark wrote.
Too much exposure to these chemicals by a woman during pregnancy will have a larger effect on the child moving forward, Clark wrote. The best practice is to avoid these two chemicals as much as possible and only use them in moderation.
...But talking to your baby might
OK, so you’ve given up the educational products. But there’s another way to turn your child into a genius — talk to them. Experts told The Guardian that children whose parents spoke to them often did better on test scores than the children of those who didn’t. When kids talk to their parents, they develop a better understanding of how the world works, which gives them benefits for later in life.
"You need to start talking to them from day one," said Stanford University professor Anne Fernald at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago, according to The Guardian. "You are building a mind, a mind that can conceptualise, that can think about the past and the future."
It’s a digital world
Your kid is about to enter a digital world, one that they’re certainly going to take advantage of. Such was the case with children during this holiday season who, according to The Wall Street Journal, spent time talking to Santa Claus online. That’s right. If you need to talk to Santa, there’s an app for that. And kids are having an easy time using it. With new smartphones and devices coming out next year, expect your child to be more engrossed in a digital world.
Breastfed babies lose weight faster
One early decision for parents is whether they should breastfeed their child or not. According to research published in Pediatrics, children who were breastfed lose weight faster and later in life than those who didn’t. The study found that since women don’t produce breastmilk quickly, the babies who are being breastfed might not eat as much, and thus lose weight. But then they maintain a healthy weight as time goes on because they're getting a regular supply of nourishment from their mother's breast milk.
There’s a way to erase autism signs
If your baby shows signs of autism, there may be some help. And while that should worry parents, there may be a way to erase those medical issues, too. According to a study cited by USA Today, researchers said babies can lose their signs of autism if they are exposed to therapy from a very young age. The study found that when babies who showed the smallest signs of autism — like lack of eye contact or inability to babble or interact — were taken to therapy, most of the signs were gone by the time they reach 3 and 5 years of age, a common age for being diagnosed with autism.
Women weigh more after birth
Parents, prepare to gain a little weight after you have a child. According to research from the University of Chicago cited by the New York Daily News, most women don’t lose all of the weight they gain from pregnancy. In fact, the study found 75 percent of women weigh more a year after they gave birth than before they were pregnant.
To avoid this, the research says it’s important to be in shape before you’re pregnant. It’ll help your child avoid the risk of obesity, diabetes and cancer. And it will help you lose the pounds after the baby is born.
You can learn a lot from celebrities
Celebs are always in the news. Whether it's going to the grocery store or meeting with some friends, celebs get a high amount of attention. But sometimes they give back with parenting tips. In fact, many celebrity mothers have shared tips about parenting and raising a child.
If that’s not cool enough, we recently had a list of baby names chosen by celebrities, which you could use in your search for the right name for your child this year.
You may have to have a conversation about the world
The world was a scary place in 2014. There were terrorist attacks, disasters and protests in many months during the year. And it’s something that parents may have to prepare their child for, according to Deseret News National’s Chandra Johnson.
Experts told Johnson there are four different ways to handle dark news with their children. Parents should make sure they’re ready, not place blame on anyone specifically, comfort their child and make them know they’re safe, and make the issues as less complicated as parents can.
"Tommy is probably really wondering: How many more bad guys are out there?" experts said, according to Johnson. "This is a good time to remind Tommy that there are a lot more good guys than bad guys in the world."
There’s a reason you love the way your baby smells
Why does your child smell so dang good? It’s because — for women, at least — a baby’s smell lights up the same part of the brain as chocolate does, according to a study cited by Deseret News National’s Lois Collins.
That’s right. Your baby makes you feel as good as chocolate. Make sure to enjoy that during the new year!