Your baby may be years away from boarding the school bus, but don't let that fool you. She's already studying up on the world around her at an amazing speed. "Babies are learning and understanding far more than they appear to be," says Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years. We asked the experts to home in on the coolest learning leaps your baby is making. Keep in mind that the ages below are general guidelines; babies develop at their own pace. But they all have one thing in common: They'll astonish you with just how smart they are.
2 Months: Understanding Cause and Effect
In one study, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that 2-month-olds kicked their legs more when their leg movements made a mobile above them spin, suggesting that they "got" that kicking equals moving the mobile. Most toys for infants work on the same principle: By kicking a large bar, your baby can cause the toy to light up and play music, i.e., so introduce toys she can "work." Babies also learn cause and effect by watching and experiencing their parents' reactions to their facial expressions, sounds, and gestures, explains Lisa Shulman, M.D., a developmental pediatrician at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in Bronx, New York. "They realize, 'When I smile, Mommy smiles; when I make a sound, Daddy makes a sound back.'"