Your Baby’s 2nd MonthPam Gelman
Watch what happens when Baby is on his back and you dangle an irresistible toy above him. Compared to last month, his movements are now becoming more fluid. He may stretch to reach an interesting object and try to bat at it. If you offer baby a rattle he may be able to hold it for a short amount of time in his small fist. Give it a little shake. Babies respond to such stimulation differently. Some may watch and listen in wonder. Others may find it too stimulating and begin to cry. Babies are unique and process information in their own individual ways.
By the end of the second month, Baby may be giving you an adorable, toothless smile in response to your own. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will surely come soon. Watch how your baby’s whole face lights up when you smile at him. At the same time, he may move his arms, lift his brows, or coo. Finally, after weeks of taking care of your precious baby at all times during the day, Baby rewards you with this momentous milestone. Keep smiling and talking to your baby; he loves to watch your face and talk to you through his expressions.
Putting Baby to sleep on his back is a very important discovery towards the prevention of SIDS. When your baby is awake and interested in playing, spending time on his tummy is still important for development. Becoming comfortable on tummy will help baby develop strong neck muscles to hold up that heavy head.
By the end of this month, your baby will probably be strong enough to hold up his head for moments to scan the room. Development works like steps. By building a strong neck, Baby can hold up his head. Then while lying on his tummy, he will start to push up with arms, building a strong upper body and back. This will help him one day to sit. These muscles will also help him learn to move and eventually pull up to a stand.
You can spend time with your baby on his tummy by lying down next to him. Talk to him so he knows you are there and supporting his development. Also, putting him on mats with interesting textures, bright colors or ones that play different sounds will make lying on his tummy even more intriguing.
Some babies are not comfortable on their stomachs and may fuss. Respond to your baby as you think is appropriate. You are the expert concerning your child. The sound of your voice alone may be a comfort. Others need the connection of a parent’s warm arms.
By now, you have learned when your baby is telling you “yes, I like this” or the opposite, “S.O.S.” We have heard from parents about different ways babies communicate to engage or disengage from you or another stimulus.
Some cues that tell a mom and dad “I’m interested” include:
- Looking at your face
- Smooth movements of arms and legs
- Reaching out to you
- Turning eyes or head toward you
- Smiling, cooing, and having general bright, happy expressions
Some cues we have learned that tell parents “I need a break” include:
- Turning head and eyes away
- Crying, fussing
- Back arching, squirming, pulling away
- Blushing of skin
- Breathing faster, hiccups
Again, all babies are unique, so your baby may give you a cue that is unique to him. It is important to pay attention and learn about these cues for loving, respectful, responsive care giving. This type of information about your child is also very important to share if you eventually decide to leave Baby with a childcare provider.
This month Baby is making strides with language, too. He is actively listening to what you are telling him, watching your mouth and studying how your tongue moves.
Baby will start making different sounds that usually begin with a vowel. He will hear himself and keep practicing moving his tongue to repeat sounds. Keep talking to him by repeating the sounds he makes and taking turns. Let your baby answer you. Follow his eyes to see if he is looking at something. He may be talking about an object or another person. Whatever it is, he is talking to you and will adore your loving attention back.
Babies love to suck. Whether it is a pacifier, a blankie, dad’s finger, or Baby’s own thumb, sucking is an important skill for baby to comfort himself.
When Baby is getting fussy or tired, we have heard of strategies from parents to help a baby by putting his fingers up to his mouth or offering a pacifier. Even gently folding your baby’s arms against the midline of his chest and wrapping him in a soft blanket or your safe arms is a way to help baby relax. This body position is a soothing, physical reminder of the safe, warm world from which he came.
Are you a pacifier pro? Take our quiz to find out!
Mood & Behavior
By now, you have seen your baby in a number of moods and behavioral states. These moods are normal and help a baby to make it through the day. Keep in mind; a simple description of these states has its limitations. Babies proceed through these states at different paces; the same baby can show different moods on different days depending on many factors, such as sleep, feeding, growth spurts and many others. (Read more about parenting your child’s temperament throughout his early years.)
Here are six different states that you probably know all about:
- Quiet sleep is when Baby’s eyes are firmly closed with little or no motor activity. This is a great time for you to get a much-needed nap.
- Active sleep is when Baby’s eyes are closed but may move. You may have seen your baby twitch, smile, frown and stretch while actively sleeping.
- Drowsy is when eyes are partially open, the body is still and expression is dazed.
- Crying is a state that needs no explanation.
- Active alert is a period of activity, which may include vocalizations, moans, grunts, and fussing. It often precedes sleeping.
- Quiet alert is the beautiful time during the day when Baby is relaxed, eyes are open and bright. Baby is observing all the interesting things in his world.
Often by the end of the second month, Baby likes to be held upright, facing out. Baby can now see many feet in front of him and marvels at interesting sights, such as water, animals, other children, and of course, doting grandparents. Placing your baby in a reclining bouncy seat is a safe position for him to view the exciting scenery.
Many babies love riding in a front carrier and experiencing the feeling of being contained next to a parent’s soft, warm body. Some babies will only want to face inward and cuddle up against a parent’s heartbeat. In time, when you think your baby is ready, turn him around and face him out. It will be a treat for him to see the world. Also it is an opportunity for you to be able to use your arms for the never-ending to-do list that accompanies parenthood.