By the time your little one becomes a healthily developing 2 month old baby, you will have probably learnt to deal better with the demands and challenges of motherhood. You would also be more prepared for baby care. It is also the time when you would start to notice some very distinctive changes in your baby development.
Unlike a 1-month-old, the phases of a 2 month old baby development are comparatively more profound. There are some baby activities that are similar to the first month, while some more may be up for discovering. One remarkable change will be that your baby will display more coordination in her activities. She will start showing a bit of synergistic pattern in her movements. This effectively means more coordinated pattern of movement related to each joint of the upper limb and lower limb, flexion of shoulder, elbow and wrist and opening and closing of the palm. Normal adult synergy starts to show from this month on wards as part of developmental milestones.
So, let’s figure out together where your precious bundle stands at 2 months of age in terms of baby development as part of developmental milestones.
- Motor skills, cognitive, social and communication development of a 2 month old baby
- Other notable physical developments
- Also, let’s discuss some activities to boost the baby milestones
- Nutrition, feeding time and sleep-wake cycle as baby care
- When you should consult the doctor
A clearer development of the body structure, reflexes, and more head control are some baby milestone developments to look out for. Broadly, experts categorize baby milestones into motor, social and emotional, cognitive, and communication skills. But before getting into the developmental milestones, it is crucial to remember that each baby is different and grows at her own pace. These are just generalized guidelines to help you.
Motor skills development of your 2 month old baby
Head control becomes a wee bit easier for your baby now, though it is still not there fully. The neck muscles start becoming tighter. Also, with each baby movement, muscle activity improves making the movements steadier and less jerky. The limb movements also are more refined now; not perfectly coordinated though but better than the first month. During tummy down, she will hold her head steadier and for longer. When happy or excited she will kick and flay her legs and wave her little fists (Your 2 month old baby can start un-clenching her fists, although it may vary from child to child. Some may continue to keep fingers fisted until the 3rd month), giving you moments of pure happiness. But the best part? Holding her upright will be easier now since her neck won’t flop back immediately.
Hand to mouth movement will also start (if it hasn’t begun already) with the baby taking her thumb or index finger inside her mouth. That way, she also gives a signal of her hunger. Hence, it becomes easier to know when to feed her. Also, thumb or finger sucking soothes a cranky baby. It is a good way of self-healing for the baby. As a mother, it is essential to learn to identify the difference between the signals for hunger and irritation.
As a general rule, if you touch the corners of the baby’s mouth and she opens her mouth eagerly to take in your finger, she could be mistaking your finger for a nipple and henceforth maybe hungry. This is also called rooting reflex and is an important baby activity to boost the sucking motion of a baby. Check out a simple exercise video, developed by our child development experts, on how to boost the rooting reflex in your baby here.
Researchers see infants and toddlers as active learners who purposefully see, touch, and do, and who consequently develop additional cognitive skills.Developmental Psychology: CliffsQuickReview
Cognitive development of 2 month old baby
Your little one though still quite small and almost helpless, is fast learning the ways of the world. She is aware of her requirements and know how to communicate it to them–an important child development milestone. When left alone, she may not enjoy it and cry for company. She will start to distinguish mom’s voice from others and once in a while, may reward you with a strange lop-sided half smile…both voluntarily and involuntarily. She will also start getting bored of being in the same spot and become fussy when she will want a change of scenery or activity. Some other cognitive developments noticeable in her are:
- Sucking, rooting, palmar, and grasping reflexes would be established. These reflexes helps her to latch on for breastfeeding and grasp things better.
- Newborn reflexes—moro and tonic—will start to fade out now. She will be less startled now as compared to earlier (moro reflex).
- She will show a marked preference for bright colours and bold designs since her vision is fast getting better. This will enable her to focus and track bright objects or you–an important milestone of baby development
Communication and Language development—an important baby milestone to achieve at 2 months
Now you can hear some ‘coo’ and ‘hmm’ sounds from her. They may not be loud; neither can they be heard frequently. She will interact during playtime with soft coos, squeals, gurgles or even little laughs. When excited, drooling or drool bubbles can surprise you, so keep that napkin handy at all times. You will be able to differentiate her crying patterns of hunger from boredom, since now besides hunger and diaper change, she has other requirements as well–an important aspect of child development. A constant low level whining maybe a sign on boredom or exhaustion while the crying for hunger or diaper change will be more immediate and urgent. She will be turn her attention in the direction of voices in her vicinity. Talking to her is imperative at this stage to boost her language milestones.
Social and Emotional Development at 2 months
Your baby is still too little to show any signs of social interactions but largely she is learning about the presence of people in her life. Her attachment to her mother is going to be profound at this stage since she is probably the only face and smell she recognizes. She will also start giving you
- The first awry smile when happy. Sometimes it maybe intentional while at others the baby gives a smile, just so…the blissful world of babies!!!
- She will be able to make and hold eye contact for longer duration, especially when you are talking to her and making conversation.
- Since you are her lifeline as of now, she will follow you with her eyes as far as possible as normal child development.
- The smart one that she is, she will learn to comfort herself by sucking her fists or thumb/fingers.
Sensory development of your 2 month old baby
As the baby is developing fast, so are her basic senses of touch, smell, hear. Here’s what to expect in the second month of your baby’s life.
Touch: The touch sensation is still pronounced. Your baby understands the mother’s touch and can differentiate it from others. Hold her, take her on your lap, breastfeed her, spend more time with her. Give her all the love you can.
Olfactory (smell) sense: Mother’s milk has a typical smell that the baby loves. The smell or scent of her mother’s body comforts her instantly as she had been feeling it from the very beginning by the virtue of being enclosed in your womb. It is a smell she knows and identifies easily. Babies inherit the preference of soft, light smell. Try to keep things with hard, pungent smell away from your 2 month old baby as they may irritate her.
Hearing: Another remarkable baby development your 2 month old baby has achieved now is to respond to sounds coming from a distant. She listens keenly and will try see the source of the sound by trying to look towards the sound an important milestone of child development.
Vision: Your baby can see objects that are within 1-2 feet of distance. She prefers to see the faces of parents, especially the mother’s face. Your infant likes to make eye contact more during this time. Isn’t it an excellent opportunity for you to make the mother-baby bond more meaningful! Another excuse to look at your sweetie once again and indulge in some baby talk. Rods and cones in the eyes continue to develop. So, she focusses on shapes and structures of different objects and later develops the ability to identify colours.
A doll in making—the physical development of your 2 month old baby
The baby looks chubbier and facial features are more defined now. Hands and legs are developing now with fingernails sharper. You can see the tiny fingers with irregular white nails–unfortunately the same tools with which the baby might scratch his own face. So, every week, you should check the growth of the nails and trim them gently when she is asleep. Or during winters, keep them covered in cotton fabric mittens.
Posterior Fontanelle’s closure at 2 months of age
At birth, the bones of your baby’s skull are not joined firmly. This lets the head change shape to pass through the birth canal. The areas, on the head, where the bones join have a membrane-covered soft spot called fontanelle. There are several such fontanelles on the back, top and sides of a newborn’s skull that harden over time.
The posterior fontanelle (in the back of the head) closes by the end of 2 months. Your paediatrician will check it during the regular assessments. Anterior fontanelle (at the top of the head) still remains soft and opened.
Other physical developmental changes in your baby
- By now, your baby will gain around 900 g -1 kg weight, approximately. Her height would be between 1-1 and a half inches long.
- Head circumference increases by 15 inches a month.
- These are the average measurements mentioned. But note that every child is a different individual. So, variation will be seen every time. Read up in details on weight, height and head circumference development at https://www.indianpediatrics.net/mar2007/mar-187-197.htm
- You may notice cradle crap (crusty, greasy, scaly patches) on her scalp. Bathing regularly, with pH balanced body wash can cure these harmless skin conditions. Comb her hair with soft hair brushes.
- If your baby is using pacifier, check for any wear and tear.
- Give her the pacifier only when required. Do not substitute feed time with a pacifier.
- 2-3 times bowel movements per day are acceptable. But, check the colour and consistency of the bowels. If there is a marked change in the colour or smell of it, consult a specialist.
Newborns express their need to sleep in different ways. Some fuss, cry, rub their eyes or indicate this need with individual gestures. It is best to put babies to bed when they are sleepy, but not asleep.National SLeep Foundation
Nutrition and baby sleep cycle of your 2 month old baby
Your baby will still be exclusively on breastfeeding. Even at two months, there will probably be no schedule to her feed times. They can be as much as the first month, less or more. Her intake of milk might increase though insignificantly. As a general rule, if the baby demands more milk, and the frequency increases, then the growth rate is at a reasonable pace. Remember at this stage your baby does not need any top foods or even water. Read here to know why.
Many babies tend to vomit milk immediately after feeding. This occurs due to the reflux syndrome, which is very common in case of 2-month-old infants. So, burping regularly and after each feed is necessary. Various burping positions can be followed to ease the baby. But the most suggested one is to hold the baby on your shoulder and gently tap her back from bottom to top. This will drive the air towards her mouth and help her let it out easily. It will also help you deal with hiccups that the baby may have due to intake of air while feeding.
Baby sleep time is still irregular
Baby Sleep-wake cycle remains irregular but better than the first month. The baby now takes 2-4 naps during the day time and may wake up every 3 hours at night. Your baby can be a noisy sleeper and make rattling or whistling sounds when sleeping. This is normal since her lungs are still exercising to draw in breath. But if you find her breathing through her mouth or making unusual sounds during her baby sleep, you may want to check with the doctor once. Keep her cozy with comfortable temperature to induce good baby sleep. Avoid over cladding her else too much warmth will make her uncomfortable. As per doctors, one layer extra than what the mother is wearing should be the thumb rule when deciding how warm to keep the baby.
Activities to encourage baby development
While your little ones are learning and growing on their own, with a little assistance from you their growth can be more meaningful. Here are some tips to help your baby meet her developmental milestones.
- Since your baby is starting to develop head control, tummy time activity can be tried with her.
- Put a toy in front of the baby. Move it upward and side ways, so that the baby tries to move her head to look at it and catch it.
- Try flex-on activity, developed by our child experts, with her to improve her gross motor skills. Check the video here.
- Passively move her hands, legs in different directions. Leave and observe her response. She will try to do the same. Check the video here for a simple, fun activity.
- Give her soft toys, blankets, pacifiers to touch and feel the objects.
- Talk, talk and talk to her. When talking to her, wait for her to respond. Mirror her response to reinforce communication.
- For family and friends, it is natural to come home and greet the new baby. So, introduce the baby to everyone. Ask them to wave at her with a smile, talk to her loudly, nod heads at her.
- Name everyone. If there are kids at home, then let them play with her introducing them as brother/sister or friends.
- You can encourage some baby activities by using rattle toys, any musical toys, play songs and rhymes in front of her. But don’t go overboard. When your baby starts fussing, it is a sign that she has had enough and now wishes to rest or feed. Put away the toys.
- Move the sound-producing object in various movements and see her response. The baby will try to move her head, arms, and legs in the direction of the sound. Play different kinds of music to help her relax or stimulate her.
- Call her by her name from a distance.
- Show her the same toy again and again, maintain eye contact with her. Mother baby bonding helps her improve cognition skills as she remembers her mother quickly. So, attend to her whenever she needs you. Comfort her with hugs and kisses.
- Introduce the family members to her. Though she is unaware of everything, she looks at and will develop the sense of closeness and gets familiar with one and all.
- Let grandpa and grandma hold her. She can now differentiate between every touch.
- Reading out books to her, while she watches you also improve her cognitive skills. Vary your tone and intonation to maintain interest and drama.
More in store!!
- Babies love watching nature. So, take her out or simply hold her on your lap and sit in your balcony/outdoor area where she can see what is happening outside.
- The blue sky, birds humming, people talking, the wind blowing, horns of vehicles can improve the entire development of the baby and activate her nervous system as well.
- You should expose the baby to sun during early sunrise for at least 8-10 minutes (initially, but gradually increase the duration). This improves Vitamin D absorption and calcium production in the body and strengthens the bones.
- Massaging the body at least once in a day can be extremely beneficial for your little one. It improves the tactile senses (sense of touch), helps in develops muscles, soothes the baby, helps her fall asleep faster, and improves blood circulation and gives complete baby care.
- The right way to massage includes stretching out the arms and legs. Use your finger pulp area to massage the larger body parts like back and chest area. Move her legs in circular motions as if she is riding a bicycle. It is great to massage the baby twice a day for at least 10-15 minutes minimum each time. It is an important part of baby care regimen.
- Your baby may develop diaper rash. Use a diaper rash cream every time when changing a diaper. Also, give 10/15 minutes diaper free time during each change. As a practice, change diapers every 3-4 hours. Considering cloth nappies is also advisable since they are ideal for a baby’s delicate skin though they increase a mom’s job manifold.
It is normal for a baby to poop less than the first month or not to poop for a day or two at a stretch. Since their intestines are developing fast, they can hold the waste in longer.
When to consult the doctor
Apart from regular check-ups for baby care, it is always necessary to look for any unusual signs in the baby. Such as:
- If the baby is not holding her head steadily.
- When she does not respond to any sound or your voice.
- If she does not maintain eye contact with you.
- When your little one cries incessantly for hours at a stretch.
- Or denies feed and goes without feed for more than 2-3 hours at a stretch.
- If you notice any unusual bumps or swelling in her body that appear and disappear. They could be indicative of a hernia and will need medical attention.
On a closing note, with such a small baby, home or herbal remedies are not recommended since they can trigger allergic reactions and complicate things. If the baby has any problem, it is best to consult her paediatrician. Carry her previous medical history—growth, developmental milestones record, medication records every time you visit the doctor.
Also, if you are considering going back to work, this is a good time since your baby still hasn’t developed separation anxiety. Happy Parenting!