Weeks 11 – 16
Developmental Milestones and Play
Although every baby develops at a different rate, here are some general milestones you might be noting:
- Smiling and laughing.
- Showing his preference for you and other caregivers by getting excited to see you and searching for you when he hears your voice.
- Your baby’s senses – like vision, smelling and hearing – are sharper now, so you might notice an increased sensitivity to his or her surroundings.
- Better head control, possibly even lifting up 90 degrees while on his or her stomach.
- Arm waving and leg pumping, especially when the baby sees you walk into the room.
- More attentiveness and focus. You might even notice the baby following an object or person moving across the room.
- Rolling over one way.
- The discovery of their hands, which they can now bring together and open and shut.
- More leg strength, possibly even holding his weight when held upright.
- Reaching and swatting, which helps to develop hand-eye coordination.
- Toward the end of the month, your baby might start to be more curious about the world around him – laughing at the mirror, intently watching cars pass and generally being more animated and fun.
The more strength and body control your baby develops, the more fun playtime can be. But as always, playing is more about learning and developing than anything else:
- Be more vocal. You’ll notice your baby starting to explore more sounds with his or her voice, so keep up the chatting, singing and reading, using simple, familiar words. Continue to include your baby in your conversations by asking questions and responding to the gurgles and babbles.
- Make them laugh. There’s nothing better than an unexpected belly laugh, and you’ll find yourself going to silly extremes as your baby’s humor develops. Funny faces, hand gestures and singsong melodies are sure to amuse your little one at this point.
- Do lots of touching. Gently massage and rub your baby’s skin to soothe and comfort your little one. (Skin-on-skin is an important bonding experience for the two of you.) This is also a good time to let your baby explore different touch sensations, like fabrics and touch-and-feel books.
- Play the copy-cat game. Start a game out of imitation by copying the little noises your baby makes, hopefully laying the groundwork for your baby to start imitating your language.
- Tummy time. Just as last week and the week before, it’s important to set aside some time for playing on his or her stomach. Since babies are spending less time on their tummies (now that experts agree they should sleep on their backs), they need to build up their muscles during playtime. And as they develop more head control, tummy time will seem less torturous.
- Play mats and gyms. Now is the perfect time to introduce your baby to a play mat or baby gym that has dangling toys to practice swatting. Believe it or not, hitting, grabbing and batting are all major milestones, indicating hand-eye coordination.
- Watch what your baby is playing with, however, because everything will be going in the mouth.
- Be a little more adventurous. More head control means less careful, delicate motions. While you still shouldn’t be too rough with an infant, most babies can handle – and enjoy – activities like bouncing on your lap, dancing in your arms and playing airplane on your legs. As always, be gentle and careful, but also add some excitement to your little one’s life.