Entering what could be called its golden age, your child will most likely be all smiles this month, sleeping longer hours during the night and remaining contentedly where you leave it during the day for longer stretches of time. Make sure to give your little one plenty of belly time to practice pushing up and strengthen its muscles, and spend lots of time exposing it to physical and mental stimulation to help it grow into a healthy and happy child.
You'll be glad to hear that your child will be learning to keep itself amused for longer periods of time around this month. In addition to playing with its hands and feet, it will be fond of repeating one action over and over until it's sure of the result.
Your baby's actions will also seem to be more purpose-driven as its awareness of its surroundings and its understanding of cause and effect deepens. It will also begin associating names with faces, and will likely greet you and your spouse by showing excitement or moving its arms up and down to be held. Take time to interact with your baby throughout the day to stimulate the development of its social skills.
Another delightful development awaiting you this month is the emergence of your child's sense of humor! Your little one will be laughing at peek-a-boo games, bouts of tickling, and other general silliness. Encourage your baby's newly discovered funny bone by indulging in its humor.
Continue nurturing your baby's steadily improving verbal skills by imitating its expressions and sounds to encourage it to try to communicate with you. Doing so is also great for its self-esteem as it will teach the baby that what it does can garner a reaction. You'll also notice the development of your child's emotional intelligence as it begins to learn to read your emotions through your tone of voice and facial expressions.
In addition to being able to sit up with support, reach for small toys and objects, and place weight on its feet for a few seconds to stand up with your help, your little one should also be able to roll over when placed on its back or stomach. If it can’t do so yet, give it the opportunity to practice by placing it on its back and dangling a toy to its side to prompt it to roll over to reach it. Help your baby improve its skills and coordination by dressing it in comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that allow for easy movement.
Your little one might begin teething this month, but you won't see that first tooth until a month or two later. In the meantime, give your baby teething rings to chew on and play with. Your baby's vision should also have improved, becoming 20:40 and extending its visual range partway across the room. Its eyes should now move together evenly and smoothly when it surveys the room or when following a moving object with its eyes. Place a child-safe mirror in front of your baby to keep it amused as it discovers itself and its surroundings.
A bigger tummy means less feedings and a bigger appetite at each feeding. Chances are your little one will only need 4-5 feedings per day if it's being fed formula, and roughly 6-8 feedings if its diet exclusively consists of breast milk. Continue to follow your child's queue when it comes to deciding how often to feed it. As a result of its growing appetite your baby might have doubled its weight by now and will continue to gain weight in the upcoming months.
If you feel that your child is ready, you can start offering it a bit of rice cereal to see how well it stomachs it, but there's no rush to introduce solid food at this point. Your baby should still be fine continuing on a diet of breast milk or formula for another few months. Some doctors recommend against introducing solids this early on as doing so might cause the infant gas pains and possibly allergic reactions.
Feedings might become a bit frustrating as your little one becomes more easily distracted by the things happening around it. If this is the case, try feeding it in a quiet, dimmed room to eliminate distractions.
Make things easier for yourself and your little one at bedtime by establishing a nighttime routine that helps prepare your child for sleep. Be consistent in the sequence of events that you adopt as part of your nighttime routine for the best results. Use low and ambient lighting in your child's room when you want to put it to sleep, as harsh lights might keep it from sleeping comfortably. Its room should also be warm and comfortable to make it feel safe and secure, and its cot should be large enough to allow for free movement. Make sure that the cot's bars are closely spaced so that your baby can't dangle its arms and legs between them.