Professor Robert Winston answers your questions on baby development

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We held a Facebook chat on baby development with scientist and presenter Professor Robert Winston. You had lots of brilliant questions on so many subjects – from crawling and talking to helping your baby learn. If you missed the chat, see below for our round-up of the best questions and answers.

Controlled crying – is it recommended or not? Is it true that not letting a baby cry actually fosters their sense of security, making them ultimately more independent? Also, is the four-month sleep regression a genuine thing?

There is evidence that leaving babies to cry makes them produce the stress hormone cortisol. I think being in the room with them quietly and not rocking them can reassure them better. Babies with a strong attachment to their parents are the most independent. At four months babies move more so they wake more. Find out more about crying

How can we encourage our son to learn new things without pushing him? He is very alert and has very good fine motor skills but is uninterested in developing his gross motor skills, eg crawling. He’s seven months old… I know all babies develop at a different pace.

Your son will be learning things all the time without special help. Babies are natural scientists!

My six-month-old son won’t roll over. I have tried everything but he’s not interested. He also has a flat head, which has only grown 1cm in 13 weeks.

Not rolling over at six months is fairly normal but it may cause more of a flat head. Lots of tummy time and going swimming will help.

My 9-week-old baby boy has a tongue tie. We are waiting for a referral to come through to possibly snip it. In meantime we are having to thicken his milk with Gaviscon. Will a tongue tie naturally stretch or is it always best to snip it at a young age?

Most breastfeeding experts recommend getting it snipped to help establish breastfeeding. It’s not a big procedure and helps reduce pain for the mum.

My son, who is two and a half, used to be a fantastic sleeper and would sleep through from 7pm until 9am. We then took his dummy off him and put him in his own bed. He can be up five times a night now and refuses to have his bedroom door closed. Do you have any suggestions?

It’s very stressful when a good sleeper starts waking in the night. Our sleep expert on the Essential Baby Care Guide, Mandy Gurney, suggests gradual withdrawal methods so you can slowly allow your child to learn to fall asleep without you or a dummy etc. Learn more about teaching your baby the difference between day and night

What time is best for baby to go to sleep at night? My little one always stays up until 10pm or later. I cannot get her to sleep earlier, even after a bath and feeds.

Children benefit from going to bed the same time every night. Babies take a while to understand day and night. 10pm is too late so try to gradually bring bedtime forward each night and do the same routine: bath, story, feed and kiss goodnight.

Can a three-year-old have speech difficulties or is it just because she is young and learning new words? My daughter just cannot say her Ls and Rs – we always get Ws.

Three-year-olds are still learning single sounds and this mispronunciation is very common. I wouldn’t worry too much.

My nine-month-old daughter has been teething since she was about five months old but still has no teeth. Is there anything I can do? Does she need to be referred?

Some babies don’t cut teeth until they’re 12 months. This isn’t unusual… sorry about the teething pain. Read more about teething

My daughter is nearly three and is keen to learn and know everything. I don’t want to discourage her while she is interested but I’m also concerned about whether she’ll get bored learning the same things at nursery in a few months. What is the best way to find a happy medium?

I think that by three we should be explaining as much as possible to children. Of course you are quite right that she may be ahead of other children in the first months but I really don’t think that should inhibit you from giving her the kind of stimulation that you think is important. Find out more about encouraging your baby’s brain development

I am worried I am not doing enough games or activities with my six-month-old baby! She is breastfed, held, hugged, kissed and loved all day long, but I was wondering what sort of things I could do to help her development?

I recommend lots of talking and showing her things when you are out and about. I wouldn’t worry – babies find the world fascinating.

My 21-month-old is still a restless sleeper and ends up in our bed. She is also really bad at biting and pinching!

It sounds tough. You need to be really firm about saying no about unpleasant or painful behaviour.

I have a six-month-old daughter who can’t roll over yet. I put her on her tummy every day and I roll her over to try to make her understand what she has to do. I put toys either side of her to try to make her reach them but she looks at them and gets frustrated, then cries because she can’t reach them.

I also have a six-month-old granddaughter who can’t roll over yet. I really don’t think this is a problem and the frustration will go when she can reach her toys.

My baby, who is just over 22 months old, is not saying much, just a few words. Is this normal? Could we be confusing him and slowing his speech development by mixing two languages at the same time?

I don’t think multiple languages are a problem and he is in the normal range for his age.

Is it possible that my three-year-old really remembers being in the womb? She seems to remember a tune I played a lot when I was pregnant – she told me it made her remember feeling ‘scrunched up’ and curled into the foetal position to show me. She started talking when she was three months old and has an amazing memory. Out of the blue she will talk about things that happened one or two years ago. She knows her way perfectly to all the places we visit regularly. She can recognise any building after visiting it once. It’s very odd.

Whether babies do have a memory of the womb is open to question and doubtful but it’s great that she has an amazing memory and that must be a great joy to you.

My son is almost six months old. He can practically sit by himself but isn’t interested in crawling, holding his own bottle all the time or talking. How can I develop him? I have tried every suggestion under the sun.

Just be patient, this is normal behaviour for a six-month-old baby. Read more about your baby’s developmental milestones

My 23-month-old daughter seems very forward. She is my third child and amazes me every day. She was walking at eight months and her speech is so clear. She asks, ‘what’s that?’ constantly and remembers everything. I have always made an effort to talk to her, even as a newborn. Is there anything else I can do to keep helping her develop?

Keep talking to her and enjoy your time together.

My 11-week-old daughter refuses to take a bottle. I have tried every day for the last three weeks or so. My partner and other family members have also tried to no avail. I have tried both expressed breast milk and formula, as well as different teats, but nothing works. As my baby feeds every 45 minutes it is getting very tiring and it would be nice to have a break from breastfeeding every now and then. Plus, I need to start going back to work for my ‘keep in touch’ days, which is worrying me.

Your baby prefers to breastfeed and it’s going to be tough but if you have to introduce a bottle you will just have to keep trying and let other people feed her with the bottle where there is no alternative. Find out more about bottle feeding

My two-and-a-half year old is potty trained. At nursery she is completely dry but at home, it’s a constant battle to get her to use the potty/toilet. As a consequence, she has constant accidents. I feel so frustrated.

Try not to make it a battle. A relaxed approach tends to work best with potty training.