Doylestown Health: Baby Books Are Important, Even If They’re Not the Keepsakes Most Parents Think of

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Doylestown Health is promoting the habit of reading to babies.

Baby books, those chronicles of baby milestones, are certainly valuable keepsakes. But Doylestown Health now recommends a different kind of baby book — one to read to infants — in its Books for Babies initiative.

Citing evidence that reading to babies yields significant advantages, Doylestown Health now ensures that every parent leaving one of its maternity suites with a newborn also leaves with a book.

The directive is to read aloud, even from the earliest stages of life.

The habit, according to verified data, engages the senses, encourages language development, and strengths emotional bonds with parents.

“Babies tend to listen to mommy’s voice even when they’re in the womb,” says Shehla Siddiqui, MD, medical director of CHOP Newborn Care at Doylestown Hospital. “When we start reading to them, it stimulates their brain.”

In fact, a 2107 study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that reading to babies can boost vocabulary and reading skills before elementary school.

The “story” new parents depart with is a board book titled Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug. It’s now part of a packet of items presented to every maternity family upon discharge. Versions are available in English and Spanish.

“We like to think the packet is the babies’ first birthday present they receive,” says Danielle Malat, staff maternity nurse.

More on Books for Babies is online.