Baby Calendar Week 4Baby Development
Babies at this age just love their hands and feet. They are a source of entertainment as well as a means to self-soothe, plus all that reaching, grabbing, sucking and kicking or waving is building up baby's muscle control. You may already notice how baby's movements are gradually becoming less trembling or jerky. With all the practice, baby will begin to have smoother movements. Encourage little ones to enjoy their digits by playing This Little Piggy, or doing bicycling movements with their legs. Hold baby's hand in front of his face so he can see what he's doing, aim for about 6 inches away for ideal baby viewing range. Buy or make little socks with bells or rattles to reward baby's exercises with fun sounds. Likewise, let baby play with hand or sock puppets. Let baby grasp your hands and gently pull up into sitting position, making it a fun game. You will know when baby is tired of playing when she turns away or gets cranky.
Chances are your little one is becoming more vocal about now. Cooing, grunting, and squealing are all being added to your baby's communication repertoire. Language development and attachment and bonding go hand-in-hand. When baby vocalizes to you, make it a conversation. Answer baby back in a similar tone and then wait for a response. Soon you'll be chatting back and forth and baby will let you know how fun and exciting it all is by kicking and cooing, and giving you bright-eyed looks.
Besides conversations, make sure you keep the words flowing by narrating through your day with your child. Talk to baby about how your putting on his onesie, or folding up his blankie. Explain how you are peeling potatoes for dinner, or how Grandma just called you on the phone. No, baby doesn't know what in the world you're talking about--yet. But the intonations, sounds, and vocabulary are being absorbed and processed at the baby's level and those are the building blocks for language.
In addition to conversations and narrations, tell baby what he or she is doing or experiencing as it happens. A baby play-by-play, if you will.
"Did you just grab Mommy's hand? Yes you did!"
"You finished your bottle. Is your tummy full now?"
Lots of times parents focus on nouns, the people, places and things in baby's world. Don't forget the verbs, or action words. Kick. Suck. Drink. Wash.
Another great way to build your baby's language skills is by reading to her. You do not have to plop down a hefty amount on books. You can borrow from the library, or even create your own books to share with baby. Pasting bold bright pictures of faces, or common objects on construction paper or cardboard is quite alright with baby. However, you'll need sturdier versions when baby is old enough to swipe them from you and wants to mouth every page and picture. Baby will enjoy, and learn a lot from, books with rhythms and rhymes and plenty of repetition. When you have discovered some favorites at the library, be sure to tell grandparents and other relatives so books become a special present from baby's earliest moments.
Well Baby VisitIf this is your first child, you can expect a well-baby visit at month one. More experienced parents may very well hold off until month two. If you are seeing the doctor, it is possible baby will get the Hepatitis B vaccine, or maybe it will get lumped into next month's shots. Baby's growth will be measured and charted, and as long as baby is growing and content and seems to be alert and on track, there should be no worries. Babies have their own little timetable for things, and doctors know that one of the important things about regular doctor visits is being able to see the general patterns of development and growth. If baby is content and wets about 5 or 6 diapers a day, most likely he is getting plenty to eat. If you are breastfeeding and you haven not discussed it yet, you might ask the baby's pediatrician whether or not you should be giving baby Vitamin D.
Tips for Mom and Dad
Try to keep some regular recordings of baby's vocalizations. You will not believe how quickly those coos and gurgles become words and sentences! Plus, baby will love to listen to her own voice and will probably converse with herself. Another fun thing to do with sound recordings is to tape baby's favorite nursery rhymes in Mom and Dad's voice for baby to listen to, whether you are around or not. Or if baby's grandparents live far away, ask them to record themselves reading baby's favorite story or rhymes aloud to build that bond and the language skills simultaneously. Also, make sure that you save baby's favorite books at different ages in a special memory box. Your child will be delighted some day to see all those old favorite friends, chewed up edges and all.
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