The newborn in its 2nd month

With the second month of life, the senses of the newborn begin to operate in a more coordinated way, and this fact facilitates his continuous discovery of the world around him.

Definitions

The term newborn refers to a child from birth to 28 days, or 4 weeks, of life. The first week of life is called the early neonatal period .

To refer to the child from the 29th day to the 6th month of life it is more correct to use the word infant . The term child is more generic and is used in both situations.

In everyday language, and therefore also in the searches you do online, the term newborn is used as a synonym for infant. For this reason, on some occasions we have used the word newborn instead of infant.

With the second month of life it would be desirable to make the child have sensory experiences, and give him the stimuli he needs.

This is the month where her first social interactions begin, her first smiles and first leg and hand “waggles” to show her excitement to be in the world.

This is the period in which many parents would like to be able to record every single new experience: every gesture or grimace.

If your mobile phone is not suitable for this purpose, to take all the necessary photos and video/audio recordings, it could be more than enough to buy a reflex or mirrorless camera!

In addition to smiling and fidgeting, in this period the child also begins to learn the consequentiality of events, the relationships of cause and effect, and to understand that he himself can “make things happen”.

Development

5th week

This week the baby’s movements are becoming more aware and more proactive, while the jerky and random movements that characterized him in the first weeks of life are disappearing.

His muscles are not yet developed enough to support his head in an upright position – a head that therefore still needs to be supported: but you can encourage him to do some gymnastics in a resting position, perhaps by making him “fly” on his stomach.

6th week

During this week the child’s smile becomes more and more genuine and irresistible.

Every time he opens his mouth, his eyes will open wide and show themselves in all their size.

More and more, you will see it responsive and able to follow up on your action with a reaction.

This will make your desire to smile at him irresistible every time you look at him, hoping to receive a smile from him in return.

Stimulate and encourage him daily in his discovery of the cause-effect link between your actions and his.

7th week

In this week the baby is busy studying the – complex – relationships between the outside world and his own senses.

He begins to associate an object (such as a bell) with the sound he perceives when this object is struck.

With each discovery, an inevitable smile full of satisfaction will follow.

He will also begin to show preferences, and therefore, you will notice that he finds three-dimensional and colored objects more interesting than two-dimensional and black and white ones.

8th week

During this week the baby’s head is still wobbly, but the muscles in his neck are getting stronger day by day.

You will notice that, from the supine position, he will begin to lift his head only 45 degrees, but will not go any further.

It is important to support him, to put him in a position to put this skill into practice, perhaps by stimulating him by showing him objects that hang above him, and which entice him to lift his head or touch them.

Its weight

During this time, your child should continue to gain weight, week after week.

Follow the pediatrician’s instructions on how to feed him and how to weigh him, without falling into the temptation to weigh him more than strictly necessary.

A general rule regarding the  weighing of the baby  is that,

  • if you magic and drink regularly,
  • if it is active,
  • if he is lively and soils his diapers 5-8 times a day,
  • it means he is eating enough,
  • and that you can rest assured.

If your baby isn’t gaining weight as he should, make sure he’s getting enough milk and – if you’re using formula – that the bottle you’re using is working properly.

In any case, but without too many worries, contact your pediatrician right away.

At this age, the baby should only eat breast milk or formula milk.

Do not try to feed him other foods until at least the  fourth or even sixth month, as these could cause digestive problems.

Games

Baby gyms

The special gyms are the ideal solution to encourage gestures and knowledge of sounds, and for the development of children’s cognitive abilities. Some advices :

  • Place them at floor level to have a view of the baby, with the toys above his head: this will help you know how to best position the gym.
  • Change the child’s position from time to time to vary his vision.
  • Some gyms also have a music function to “reward” the child every time he presses certain buttons, and this further contributes to his development and growth.

The carousel for the baby

The musical mobiles help to accompany your child to sleep. Thanks to their colors and shapes, they promote the development of the child by helping him to concentrate. Some advices:

  • Try to look at the carousel from the child’s point of view.
  • Change his position once in a while, or (which is the same) occasionally change the child’s position to give him a new view.
  • Play with your newborn, talk to him to encourage communication and to stimulate him even vocally.
  • Choose a time when the child is in active play, not sleepy or hungry, but not overly stimulated either.

For more information on baby gyms see this other article

The pacifiers

For a newborn, sucking is instinctive, natural.

For newborns, the soother has a calming and relaxing effect, and also plays a fundamental role in the development of the mouth and teeth of the same.

For more information on baby soothers see this other article

Portable toys

Portable toys also serve to stimulate children’s creativity, and help them learn by playing. Some advices:

  • Toys with high-contrast colors are a great way to stimulate a child’s visual sense.
  • When you play with your baby with toys with colors, animals or common objects, pronounce their names: even if the child will not understand their meaning immediately, he will certainly be stimulated.
  • When you talk to him or sing him a song, be expressive with your face, in this way, by observing you he will learn to connect expressions, emotions and sounds.

Hand-eye coordination

At this age, newborns do not yet know that their hands are a part of themselves, and can therefore use one hand to play with the other, almost as if it were a toy.

So, a toy that can be held in the hand – such as a rattle – helps the baby understand that those little hands belong to him.

A rattle which when shaken produces a sound, lets the baby know that it was he who made that noise. This is another great discovery that the little one will respond to with a smile.

For the first six months, babies use their eyes and hands separately: the baby touches things without looking, or looks at things without touching them.

As long as this separation of the senses persists, the child will remain a passive observer of the world, rather than an active participant.

One of the biggest challenges of the first year of life is developing hand-eye coordination.

In order to fully explore the world, the little baby will have to win this little big challenge, and to do so he needs his toys (and you)

Always remember that playing is the child’s “real work”. A child who wants to play is doing his job and must be supported and indulged in this.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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