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Month Two of Development

As you settle into some semblance of a routine of feeding, diapering and putting your baby to sleep, you'll be developing a deeper bond with your increasingly responsive little one. Spend more time stimulating your child and interacting with it, and you will be suitably rewarded with its first real smile. Here is what you can expect from your newborn this month:

Mental Development
Emotional growth will be evident this month, and your little one will be smiling with intent instead of out of spontaneity or in imitation of an adult's smile. Your baby will also be expanding its arsenal of sounds; gurgling, cooing, grunting and humming at everyone around. Nurture this new ability by responding with sounds of your own in imitation. Also developing will be your baby's appreciation for music; either sing to your child or play different types of music until you find the genre your child enjoys. To give your baby the mental stimulation it needs, make sure you talk to it and interact with it on a regular basis. Learn what makes your baby happy or bored and accordingly adjust the way you play with it.

Physical Development
Your little one will be grabbing at different things this month to develop its eye - hand coordination. Mobiles are a great way of exposing your child to compelling toys to look at, reach for and swipe at to practice moving its arms, hands and fingers. You can also enhance your child's awareness of its extremities by playing with its arms and legs, allowing it to watch as you do so. Your child's neck muscles should also be getting stronger, enabling your little one to hold its head up for longer periods of time while lying on its stomach. Your baby will be increasing its range of facial expressions, experimenting with different facial movements and poses such as pursing its lips, furrowing its brow, and raising its eyebrows. Its eyesight will also be improving, making it take greater interest in its surroundings.

Eating Habits
While each individual baby will have its unique feeding needs, in general most babies in their second month will require at least 8-12 feedings a day. To determine when your baby needs to be fed, check for signs of hunger, such as lip smacking, placing its fists in its mouth, fussing, pushing its tongue out, and moving its head toward your voice while opening its mouth. Try to become proficient in reading your baby's body language to determine when it needs to be fed as opposed to waiting until it starts to fuss and cry. You can tell that your baby isn't getting enough to eat if it has trouble falling to sleep at nap times and if it's not gaining 170-225g a week, which is the recommended rate of weight gain.

Sleeping Habits
You can rejoice: your child should begin sleeping for longer intervals of time at night now, around 4-6 hours in fact, giving you more breathing room to relax. You can help your baby establish healthy sleeping habits by placing it in its crib to sleep when it's drowsy instead of when it is outright tired, as doing so would help it learn to soothe itself to sleep. You should also look into setting a bedtime routine  for your little one that involves a calming night bath and a baby massage before you lay your child in its crib. Remember; when you place your child to sleep make sure you do so on its back, not its stomach, in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some experts recommend limiting the total amount of day naps to 4 1/2 hours between the hours of 7am and 7pm in order for it to put in longer hours of sleep at night.