Your Baby at Four Months

blog 4 month The social, active, cooing little person you spend every day with probably seems to have little in common with the person you brought home from the hospital just a few short months ago. Four months marks a big turning point, because your baby is much more capable of learning. This means that parents who expose their children to lots of different information are more likely to have intelligent, social children. Help your child learn as much as you can during this critical period, and the results could last a lifetime.

Physical Development

  • Your baby has likely doubled her birth weight now, even if she was born premature.
  • Your baby has complete control over her own head, and arm and leg movements are becoming more refined.
  • Your baby can now coordinate his hand movements together, and will likely grab any shiny, attractive object. Now’s the time to take out earrings and jewelry!
  • Your baby can hold her head and neck upright when she lies on her stomach.
  • He may be able to roll over, and if he can’t he likely tries to roll over during tummy time.

Intellectual Development

  • Your baby tries to communicate through babbling, and has distinct cries denoting pain, hunger, sleepiness, and fear.
  • Your baby can coordinate her hand-eye movements by successfully reaching for and grabbing a toy.
  • Your baby may be sleeping through the night.
  • Your baby’s five senses are developing rapidly, and her eyesight is becoming quite good.

Social Development

  • Your baby now actively seeks out play time, and may cry when people stop playing with her.
  • He smiles at familiar people regularly, and may spontaneously smile.
  • Can recognize familiar people from a greater distance, and has strong preferences for favorite people.
  • May actively seek out affection, and is soothed by being snuggled or held.
  • May develop separation anxiety, though strong separation anxiety is still a few months away.

What You Can Do

Now is a good age to evaluate for potential problems, so if your child’s development seems behind, talk to your pediatrician. In addition to taking the positive steps you took for the first three months of your child’s life – including talking and reading to her – try the following measures:

  • Continue feeding your baby formula or breast milk – not cereal or solid foods.
  • Help your baby practice motor skills by encouraging her to lie on her stomach then look up at you. You can also encourage her to reach for objects.
  • Help your baby learn to self-soothe by waiting about 30 seconds before getting her when she begins crying. This is especially helpful at night, when young babies may be able to soothe themselves back to sleep.
  • You can prevent separation anxiety by continuing to allow a wide variety of people to play and interact with your child when you’re not there. Try giving your baby to a friend or relative while you take a shower, for example.
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Your Baby’s Development at Three Months

blog 3 month

The third month of your child’s life is a period of rapid physical development. You might notice that your baby no longer sucks everything he puts in his mouth and that he doesn’t “walk” when you put his feet on the ground. This is because most innate reflexes disappear around the three-month mark. Don’t worry; these reflexes are going away to make room for learned physical skills such as walking and crawling. They may seem like distant goals now, but these incredible developmental milestones are really only a few months away! Remember, each baby is an individual. If your child hasn’t reached all of these developmental milestones, it’s not necessarily cause for alarm. If you’re worried, though, talk to your pediatrician just to be on the safe side.

Physical Development

  • As your baby’s nervous system matures, he may begin sleeping for stretches of six to seven hours without waking up to eat.
  • Your baby will likely be on a semi-regular sleeping schedule, with two to three 2-hour naps per day.
  • Your baby is gaining better control over her head and arms, and may even reach for objects.
  • Your baby’s senses are getting better, and you may notice that he’s interested in bright lights and sounds.

Social Development

  • Your baby can recognize familiar people up close, and may even begin preferring certain people.
  • Your baby is likely smiling.
    Your baby may gurgle and coo regularly, and may even “talk” in response to your words.
  • May imitate some sounds, including the sound of your voice.

Intellectual Development

  • Your baby is growing more interested in speech, and may quietly listen for brief periods when you read to him or talk.
  • Although you don’t know it yet, your baby’s brain is rapidly laying down nerve connections for speech. Continue talking to her if you want her to have a good vocabulary.
  • Your baby may develop a favorite comfort object, such as a stuffed animal or blanket.
  • Your baby is now classified as an infant instead of a newborn.

How You Can Help

In addition to continuing healthy practices such as talking and reading to your baby, you can help expand her social and intellectual skills by adopting some of the following practices:

  • Let lots of people interact with, hold, and play with your baby. This helps reduce separation anxiety and enables your baby to begin recognizing familiar faces. It also helps nurture nascent social skills.
  • Sing to your baby. Babies exposed to music show better brain development when they get to elementary school.
  • Keep breastfeeding your baby if you’re nursing; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months. If you’re formula-feeding, don’t switch to solid foods or cereal. Babies under six months shouldn’t eat these items.
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Your Baby’s Development at Two Months

blog 2 month

At the two-month mark, you may begin to notice your baby’s unique personality springing to life. Your baby is becoming more physically active, and his or her five senses are developing rapidly, making it easier for your child to engage with the world. All children develop according to a slightly different trajectory, but knowing the developmental milestones your child will likely reach by the end of his or her second month can help you plan your activities and detect problems early.

Physical Development

  • Your baby’s eye sight is improving, and she may begin tracking things with her eyes.
  • The movements your baby makes with his arms and legs will be smoother and more coordinated.
  • She may begin pushing up when she has tummy time.
  • Your baby can hold his head up for brief periods of time, but will still continue to need head support.
  • Your baby likely discovered her hands around the end of her first month, but is now intensely fascinated by her hands and feet, and may bring them as close to her eyes as she can.

Social Development

  • Your baby may begin briefly soothing himself by sucking his thumb or a pacifier.
  • She will seek eye contact, and turn her head toward faces.
  • May begin to smile at people.
  • Your baby may begin to cry out of boredom, particularly when he is forced to sit for long periods of time.

Intellectual Development

  • Your baby is becoming more interested in observing the surrounding world, and will turn his head toward novel sounds.
  • Your baby may begin gurgling or cooing, and will soon gurgle or coo in response when you talk to her.
  • Your baby can now see people and objects that are 18 inches away or less, and his hearing is improving. He now regularly listens for the sound of your voice, and may even stop crying when he hears you talk.

How You Can Help

Even though your baby can’t yet talk, he or she is still observing everything that goes on in the surrounding world. Studies show that babies exposed to a wide variety of information at an early age develop more brain cells and talk earlier. To help your child develop her intellectual, social, and physical skills, try the following:

  • Give your baby at least three 10-minute “tummy time” sessions per day.
  • Respond quickly when your baby cries, and don’t leave him or her to cry alone.
  • Read to your baby. You don’t have to read the words in the book; instead, simply showing her books and pointing to pictures can help your baby begin to develop a love of learning.
  • Talk to your baby as much as possible. Babies whose parents talk to them all day talk earlier and have bigger and better vocabularies.
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Your Baby’s Development at One Month

blog 1 month

It might not seem like it, but there’s a lot going on in your newborn’s brain and body. She is steadily adjusting to life outside the womb, laying down neural connections, and taking in information from her environment. Every child develops according to a slightly different trajectory (and preemies develop more slowly than other babies), so it’s important to double-check with your pediatrician if you’re concerned about your child’s development. If you’re itching to see what the first month has in store, though, you might be surprised to see that a lot changes in the first few weeks.

Physical Development

In the first days after your baby’s birth, he’ll probably lose about 10% of his body weight. By two weeks, he should gain this weight back, and will continue gaining weight at the rate of about an ounce per day. Some other changes you’ll notice in the first month include:

  • The ability to turn his head while lying on his stomach.
  • Prefers looking at you to looking at other objects; newborns have bad vision, though, so you may only notice your baby gazing at you when you’re nearby
  • Begins moving hands and feet, and may even take an interest in them by trying to grab his feet.
  • Is able to go home from the hospital. This requires your baby to pass several milestones, including the ability to regulate her own temperature and to suck on a breast or bottle.

In the first month, your baby’s movements are dominated primarily by reflexes. Some reflexive behaviors you might see include:

  • “Walking” when his feet are on the floor and you support his body weight
  • Sucking anything that comes into his mouth
  • A strong startle reflex that causes her to flail her arms and legs.
  • Focuses eyes on nearby objects, particularly black and white items
  • Keeps his hands in balled fists.

Social Development

Babies are born with very primitive senses, which means it takes a while for them to begin interacting with others. Over the course of a month, your baby will gradually become more social. Some changes you can expect to see include:

  • Some babies begin smiling at the end of the first month.
  • May coo, grunt, or make other sounds.
  • Turning toward the familiar sound of your voice.
  • Reaches for interesting objects or people, but is not yet able to grab them.
  • May begin to prefer familiar people over others.

Intellectual Development

Because newborns can’t talk and can’t move very well, we’re not fully sure of their intellectual capabilities at this age. However, you may notice some signs of thoughts and preferences. Your baby may:

  • Choose a favorite toy that he prefers over all others.
  • Enjoy music and rhythmic sounds.
  • Respond to being read to.

How You Can Help

Development doesn’t just unfold on its own. It’s a product of the interaction between your baby’s genes and her environment. If you want to help your baby develop more quickly, some steps you can take include:

  • Always supporting her head.
  • Giving her plenty of “tummy time.” This helps her practice moving her head.
  • Talking to your baby as much as possible. Try narrating daily activities or reading to him every night.
  • Being in physical contact with your baby as much as possible.
  • Breastfeeding your baby if you are able to.
  • Encouraging other family members to regularly hold and interact with your baby.
  • Turning off the television and computer when your baby is around; television can harm brain development.
  • Giving your baby black and white images or toys to play with.
  • Giving your baby a variety of textures to explore.
  • Responding quickly when your baby cries; this helps build strong relationships and trust.
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3 Burning Questions that Run Through Every New Mama’s Head as She Heads Home from the Hospital

By: Kymmie Krieger

Newborn baby

From the moment you peed on that stick nine months ago, you’ve probably been dancing on a cloud of happiness, waiting for that little bundle of joy to be delivered, right? And aside from the morning sickness, sore breasts, and “cankles,” you’re totally overjoyed. Then after a few short (or very long) hours of screaming pain, a gooey little love of your life, who you’d instantly take a bullet for, enters your world. So, whether you are going it alone or have an army of support and advice (even unwanted perhaps), there are usually three big, burning questions that every new mother asks herself on that joyful ride home from the hospital.

1.“How long will I have to wear these not-so-comfortable, not-so-fashionable lady diapers?”

Ladies, if you’ve given birth already, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Whether natural or C-section, giving birth is a messy process. And although you have a sweet, snuggly baby to reward your heroic efforts, no one warned that you would have what feels like an eternal period. It’s no ordinary period, and no tampon can block this seemingly endless raging river, forcing you wear the largest pads you have literally ever encountered. Rest assured though, it WILL eventually stop, and you’ll get back to normal. But, in the meantime, you’ll have two sets of diapers to change.

2.Will I ever poop again after my C-section?

Whether by choice or not, C-sections come equipped with a few unexpected side effects. During a cesarean, your doctor is forced to slice through fat, muscle, and nerve endings. They literally scooped out your intestines and moved them aside in order to bring your precious baby into the world. So, as you can imagine, this procedure inevitably takes a while to heal. This means that all those nerves will also take a while to coordinate their efforts again. So, your best bet is to munch on some yummy fiber-filled foods, drink a lot of water, and wait….and wait. Not to worry though…#2 will come again!

3.How am I going to do all of this?

As you stare lovingly into the innocent eyes of that precious little gift that has joined your family, this question will inevitably run through your head…”What the hell do I do now?” But, have no fear! Every new mom asks herself this, and if any woman tells you she didn’t, she is totally lying! Figuring it all out is one of the many rewarding challenges of becoming a parent. You can literally read every parenting book that you can get your hands on, but in the end, it all comes down to trial and error and figuring out what works best for you and your baby. There truly is no magical recipe – it’s simply whatever makes you and your little one happy that matters.

So, let this be your mantra when you are groggy, sleepless, and irritable at one in the morning, rocking your crying baby to sleep while covered in spit-up, “All these things shall pass!” And, then, go grab yourself a refreshing glass of chilled wine. After all, after nine months of hosting a little guest in your tummy and the fun road of recovery that lies ahead, MAMA DESERVES IT!

 

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