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and lift their heads while lying on their
tummies. Although newborns aren’t
likely to roll over, your baby may soon
turn from side to back. Your baby’s
stretching and kicking are likely to get
more vigorous. If you offer a toy, your
baby may grasp it and hold on tight for a
few moments.
• Hearing. Within a few weeks, your baby
may respond to loud noises by blinking,
startling, frowning or waking from light
sleep. Even everyday household sounds
- footsteps on the floor, water running
- may elicit subtle responses, such as
increased limb movement or slowed
sucking rhythm. Expect your baby to
respond to the sound of your voice.
• Vision. Your baby will probably focus
on your face during feedings. Soon
your baby may begin to examine more
complex designs, along with various
colors, sizes and shapes. You may notice
your baby studying his or her hands and
feet. By age 3 months, your baby may be
easily distracted by an interesting sight
or sound.
• Communication. Newborns are sensitive
to the way you hold, rock and feed
them. By age 2 months, your baby may
smile on purpose, blow bubbles and coo
when you talk or gently play together.
Your baby may even mimic your facial
expressions. Soon your baby may reach
for you when he or she needs attention,
security or comfort.
Promoting your baby’s
development
Your relationship with your child is
the foundation of his or her healthy
development. Trust your ability to meet
your baby’s needs. You can:
• Hold your baby. Gentle caresses and
tender kisses can help your newborn feel
safe, secure and loved. Hold and rock
your baby. Allow him or her to study
your face. Let your baby grasp your little
finger and touch your face.
• Speak freely. Simple conversation
lays the groundwork for language
development, even before your baby
can understand a word. Ask questions
and respond to your baby’s coos and
gurgles. Describe what you see, hear and
smell around the house, outdoors, and
when you’re out and about. Use simple
words that apply to your baby’s everyday
life. Remember that your tone of voice
communicates ideas and emotions as
well.
• Change positions. Hold your baby
facing outward. With close supervision,
place your baby on his or her tummy
to play. Hold a colorful toy or make
an interesting noise to encourage your
baby to pick up his or her head. Many
newborns get fussy or frustrated on their
tummies, so keep these sessions brief
at first - just a few minutes at a time. If
drowsiness sets in, place your baby on
his or her back to sleep.
• Respond quickly to tears. For most
newborns, crying spells peak about six
weeks after birth and then gradually
decline. Whether your baby needs a
diaper change, feeding session or simply
warm contact, respond quickly. Your
attention will help build a strong bond
with your baby - and the confidence he
or she will need to settle down without
your help one day.
When something’s not right
Your baby may reach some developmental
milestones ahead of schedule and lag
behind a bit on others. This is perfectly
normal. There’s typically no cause for
concern. It’s a good idea to be aware of
the warning signs, however. Consult your
baby’s doctor if you’re concerned about
your baby’s development or you notice any
red flags by age 3 months:
• No improvement in head control
• No attempts to lift the head when
lying facedown
• Extreme floppiness
• Lack of response to sounds or
visual cues, such as loud noises or
bright lights
• Inability to focus on a caregiver’s
eyes
• Poor weight gain
Remember that every baby is unique - but
your instincts are important, too. The
earlier a problem is detected, the earlier it
can be treated.
H