Your Baby's Intellectual Development: Month 2
You've made it through the first weeks of being a parent and although you might still be sleep-deprived, you're probably feeling much more comfortable in your role as mom or dad. Even better, Baby will soon start showing you just how much he appreciates your efforts by flashing you a real smile. As his vision improves, he'll be more interested in the world around him and as his communication skills develop, you'll be able to have the first of many conversations with your little one.
What to expect: During this second month, your little bundle may start to blow bubbles and coo. Your baby may now show interest in what's happening across the room and may alternate studying your face with looking into the distance, especially if there's a high-contrast object such as a ceiling fan in sight. She will likely start to enjoy being outside, where she can take in the bright colors of nature. Your baby might also settle into a feeding routine (or she might not), but continue to follow her hunger cues and allow plenty of time for feeding. Now that she's more curious in life around her, she might start to become distracted by the interesting things around her.
Just as Baby is smiling more, she may start to fuss more, especially after doing the same activity for a while -- she's letting you know that she's bored and would like to do or see something new.
Progression: Baby will get better at following objects with her eyes as the month goes on and may start to recognize faces at a distance.
How to help: Give Baby plenty of time to inspect your face. Show her black-and-white images (family photos or board books with dots, stripes, or bullseyes are good options). Hold Baby in an upright position so that she has a better view of what's happening around her and imitate her facial expressions to reinforce her learning. (When she smiles, smile back even bigger!) Continue to talk to your baby and respond to her facial expressions and sounds. "One of the first skills that a parents needs to learn is tuning into your child," says Jenn Berman, Ph.D., a Parents advisor and author of SuperBaby. "Does something seem to interest them or does a noise or specific word you say make them smile? Read their cues and respond, because children who feel like they are responded to in a consistently nurturing way develop good self-esteem, learn that the world is a safe place, and know that people care about them," she explains. Chatter away to baby throughout the day, read to her (from a children's book or even your favorite magazine) to expose her to language, and listen to music.
Don't freak out if: Your baby's eyes start to change color -- they may continue to change for the first year (though dark eyes will likely stay dark). She may squirm more than she used to during feedings, but she's simply taking in more of the world around her.
When you should worry: If Baby doesn't smile at all, make any noise, or watch things as they move, check in with your pediatrician.
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