Now that your baby is interacting more with the world, you are likely enjoying the benefits and joys of playtime. Remember that playtime for your baby can mean different things. Simply holding your baby, walking around, and looking at the world can be playtime. Your baby is exploring and learning about the world, and everyday something different will catch your baby’s attention.
Tummy time is also an important part of play. Try this position for a few minutes at a time, and encourage autonomy by allowing your baby to play and explore the toys and objects around him or her. If your baby prefers lying on his or her back, provide a comfortable and safe spot for your child to lie down and take in the environment. You can also join your little one on the floor and play games like peek-a-boo or singing songs to encourage play and interaction. Because your baby’s vision is improving, holding a mirror up to his or her face may be fascinating — at least for a few minutes. Tickling and lightly massaging your baby’s back is also sure to bring about smiles and giggles.
If your baby doesn’t seem to be interested in playing, he or she could be tired or simply not in the mood. Signs that playtime isn’t in the cards could include turning away, arching his or her back, or not maintaining eye contact with you.
This is also right around the age that babies begin to learn object permanence. Put in simple terms, this means that your baby is learning that if an object isn’t visible (like if you hide it behind your back), the object still exists. This is an important developmental stage, and it’s easy and fun to help it along. You can take a toy, such as a block or rattle, hide it under your hand or a piece of fabric, and reveal it to show your baby where the object is.
When your baby begins to grasp the concept of object permanence, you may find that he or she will start to drop or throw things, often with the expectation that you will retrieve them. This is all part of your baby learning and interacting with you.
And don’t forget to read! Reading is a wonderful activity with babies, even if they are far too young to recognize letters and words. It’s a great bonding time, and it will help with communication and socialization. Don’t be discouraged if your baby looks at the book for less than five minutes; their attention span grows with age. Big board books with pictures of other babies or animals, vibrant colors, and different textures are great. Your baby may want to nibble at the books, so make sure they are safe and sturdy.
Eating and your baby
As your baby is growing, so is his or her stomach. This can reduce the need to feed as often, but your baby is still taking in as much food, if not more, at every feeding. Your baby is likely feeding four to five times per day. If your baby continues to gain weight and your doctor is happy, then there’s nothing to worry about.