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A Look At Infants 0-2 Months (Dec 2014)

Julia Mitchell-Hoffman, ECE Behaviorist

One of the most important tasks of the first 2 months is to help newborns feel comfortable in their new world. They are learning to regulate their eating and sleeping patterns and their emotions, which help them feel content, safe and secure.

What can you do?

● Observe carefully. This will help you figure out what your baby’s cries are telling you.

● Soothe your baby. When you respond to your baby’s cries and meet his needs, you let him know he is loved.

You cannot spoil a baby. In fact, by responding lovingly to his needs, you are helping him learn skills now that allow him eventually to soothe himself. You are also promoting a strong bond and healthy brain development.

Some questions you may want to examine:

● What soothes your baby? How do you know?

● What most distresses him?

Newborns use their gestures (body movements), sounds and facial expressions to communicate their feelings and needs from day one. They use different cries to let you know they are hungry, tired or bored. They ask for a break by looking away, arching their backs, frowning or crying. They socialize with you by watching your face and exchanging looks.

What can you do?

● Figure out what your baby is trying to tell you. Responding makes him feel important and tells him he is a good communicator. This builds a positive sense of self and a desire to communicate more.

● Talk and sing to your baby. Tell him about everything that’s going on around him. Pay attention to the sights and sounds he likes. Find toys and everyday objects with different colors and textures and see which he likes best.

Questions you can ask yourself:

● How does your baby communicate with you?

● What kinds of interactions does he like best? How do you know?

● How does he let you know when he has had enough?

Even as newborns, babies can play in many ways. They can connect sounds with their sources, and love when you talk and sing to them. Play helps babies learn about the world around them. It is also an important way they connect with you, helping them to develop a strong attachment and promoting healthy social development.*

What can you do?

● Offer your baby lots of different objects for him to look at, touch and even grip in his palms. He can focus best on things that are 8 to 12 inches away.

● Play “tracking” games by moving yourself and interesting objects back and forth. First he will use his eyes to follow. Eventually he will move his head from side to side. This helps strengthen his neck muscles as well as exercise his visual abilities.

Questions you might consider:

● What experiences does your baby seem to like best? (For example, talking with him; looking at toys or other objects; hearing the cat “meow.”)

● What kind of toys grab your baby’s attention? How does he let you know what he’s interested in?

● What kind of play do you enjoy most with your baby?

* From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development