Baby Calendar Month 3Baby Development
Baby has just reached a big milestone! No longer a newborn, your child is now an infant at the start of month three. Most likely, you will notice that your little one is sorting out days and nights, staying awake and alert for longer stretches, and sleeping at night for more hours in a row. To help with sleeping, try putting baby down before he or she conks out. Transition him to the crib when you see signs of sleepiness like rubbing eyes or yawning. Ignore advice to start solid food in order to keep baby asleep through the night. Most pediatricians recommend waiting until 4 to 6 months of age before starting on solids like baby cereal. If you have allergies in the family, you will be wise to wait on the longer end of that time frame, too.
Your child is also depending less on tears to communicate needs to you. He is cooing, gurgling, making faces and increasing eye contact to let you know how he's feeling now. In fact, if baby cries more than one hour a day, consult your baby's physician to make sure something is not going on physically to cause all that crying. It could be acid reflux or some other ailment bringing on your baby's distress.
Your child will turn to voices, but especially familiar ones. To help increase baby's attentiveness and stimulate her intellectual growth, experiment when you talk to baby. Use different pitches, tones, rhythms and volumes when talking or reading to baby. Since baby is improving with his fine motor skills, incorporate more finger plays into reading time. Your baby can probably clap his hands now, and will love a regular pat-a-cake session. Other favorites include this little piggy, and five little monkeys. Don't remember all those little fingerplays? Get some books from the library for a refresher.
To further build on those emerging fine motor skills, let baby work on her grip with wringing out a washcloth during bathtime, or squeezing a small squishy ball during playtime with you. Make sure baby has plenty of different textures to touch, perhaps purchasing a book made with different fabrics and textures, or go to the craft store and make your own.
Baby's grasp right now is pretty much just either an open or closed fist, but count on your little one practicing all day long by reaching for toys, and batting at them. This month baby will hold onto a rattle all by herself, although probably not for too long at first. All that reaching and grasping practice can be painful for you, though. Babies at this age are infamous hair-pullers, jewelry swipers and glasses grabbers, so be aware!
To help your busy growing baby, consider a baby gym. Along with all the hand-eye coordination the gym will provide, your baby is probably becoming quite the little kicker, too, and will enjoy the foot and leg action the toy will provide as well. Another popular toy with this age group is a baby mirror for the crib. Your baby will love watching those now regular smiles flash back at him, and will experiment with all those new expressions.
Another skill on the horizon is rolling over. You can tell your infant is getting ready for this next milestone when she holds her head steady for longer periods and when you notice a lot more limb action, waving arms and kicking legs. You can help baby get to this milestone by pulling your child to a sitting position by raising him by his hands. This will help strengthen those core muscles necessary for rolling over. Another way to help your baby is to turn her over gently, holding both legs. Your baby will most likely roll from belly to back first, and most babies have a preference for either right to left or left to right. Of course, if baby is starting to roll, you need to give your home another close look. Babyproofing is a never-ending process.
Baby may also be starting to bear weight on both legs. Let baby stand on your lap and bounce while you sing and play with him. Just be sure to support him carefully under his arm pits while he jumps and takes practice steps. If your baby isn not really interested in all that much exercise quite yet, don't worry. Many babies are not ready to practice standing yet. Infants are really beginning to show their individual personalities at this stage. Some babies are much more content to watch and learn, passively taking in all kinds of information, while others want to move and explore everything physically. More and more, a baby's personality will affect how milestones will be tackled. Enjoy learning about how your baby likes to explore her environment, and encourage her in her own learning style.
Tips for Mom and Dad
Sleeping and babies. Ask any five people their best advice, and expect five very different answers. What that means is, you need to discover what works best for you and your family. And the answer may change with each child in the family, too. However, you should make sure you don't go against your own convictions or comfort level to please someone else. If you hate letting baby cry, don't force yourself to do the Ferber method. If you resent your loss of sleep and space, the family bed is not right for you, either. Also, consider that different times may mean different methods. Perhaps the family bed does work for you, until you wean your baby. While babies do respond to a pattern, some consistency, flexibility is also important. Like the rest of parenting, balance is always the goal.
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