By the time your little one becomes a healthy developing 2 month old baby, you will have settled into motherhood and its demands. It is also the time when you would start to notice some very distinctive changes in her development.
Unlike a 1-month-old, the developmental phases in case of a 2 month old baby are comparatively more profound. There are some activities that are similar to the first month, and some may be new to discover. 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 which means more of coordinated pattern of movement for each joints of upper limb and lower limb, flexion of shoulder, elbow and wrist with opening and closing of the palm. Normal adult synergy starts to show from this month.
So, let’s discuss-
- Motor, sensory, cognitive, social and communication development of a 2 month old baby
- Other notable physical developments
- Activities to boost the baby milestones
- Nutrition, feeding time and sleep-wake cycle required
- When you should consult the doctor
The development of the body structure, reflexes, head control are some more baby milestone developments to look out for. Broadly, experts categorise milestones into motor, sensory, social, cognitive, and communication skills.
Motor development of your 2 month old baby
Steadier head movements
Head control becomes easier for your baby now. The neck muscles start becoming tighter. With each baby movement, muscle activity also improves. It becomes steadier and less jerky.
The limb movements also are more refined now, not perfectly coordinated though but better than the first month.
Hungry or irritated?
Hand to mouth movement starts 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. Therefore, 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.
Look! She can open her tiny fists!
Your 2 month old baby can start unclenching her fists, although it may vary from child to child. Some may continue to keep fingers fisted until the 3rd month.
Already started turning on her sides?
Some babies start turning towards one side at around mid-end of the 2nd month. But again, this is child-specific. You will not find the same baby development milestones reached in all babies.
Your 2 month old baby will probably start to flay and kick her legs around this time. It is best to keep her unswaddled so that she can do so freely. Think of it as an exercise of the legs.
Some birth reflexes start disintegrating by now and you can see more of voluntary motor activities. To maintain and develop these movements, stimulate the baby more with continuo’s interactions, acts, and plays. Do all the funny movements along with her when she performs.
Activities to improve motor skills
- By now, your baby has started to develop head control. So, to maintain that, place the baby in a tummy down position or you can hold the baby on your lap.
- Put a toy in front of the baby.
- Move it upward and sidewise, so that the baby tries to move her head to look at it and catch it.
- Show her some toys; move them on different sides so that she tries to catch hold of them.
- Passively move her hands, legs in different directions. Leave and observe her response. She will try to do the same.
Cognitive development of 2 month old baby
She understands when she is being left alone, is hungry, or irritated. Most importantly, when the mother is not around, she will start to cry.
Activities to improve cognitive skills
- 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.
- Show her family photos.
- Let grandpa and grandma hold her. She can now differentiate between every touch.
- Reading out books to her, while she watches you also improves her cognitive skills.
Research shows that 40% of babies who were exposed to reading in childhood have higher IQ levels.
Sensory development of your 2 month old baby
The power of mother’s touch
The touch sensation is still intact. Your baby understands the mother’s touch and can differentiate it from others. Startle reflex is also pronounced at this age.
Olfactory (smell) sense
Sweet smell of mother
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.
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.
Now your 2 month old baby can respond to sounds coming from a distant. She tries to respond by moving her head towards the sound.
Activities to improve hearing
- You can use rattle toys, any musical toys, play songs and rhymes in front of the baby. 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.
- Call her by her name from a distance.
Look into your angel’s eyes as much as you can!
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, for bonding. 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 intense! 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 developes the ability to identify colours.
Activities to improve sensory skills
Mother’s touch is the best way of improving a baby’s sensory development.
- Hold her, take her on your lap, breastfeed her, spend more time with her.
- Give her soft toys, blankets, pacifiers to touch and feel the objects.
- Give her a regular massage to not only boost sensory development but also her physical growth.
Communication—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. But babies try to imitate what is being done in front of them. So, communicate with her more, even though she does not understand much of what she hears. Still, it is essential to keep talking and making funny faces in front of her to stimulate her.
Activities to improve communication
- Researches have proven that the more you move your mouth, the better understands the baby.
- So, start talking whenever she is awake. Sing rhymes, tell stories, or just indulge in some baby talk when with her.
Social Development at 2 months
Your baby now tries to get familiar with the faces she sees every day, (mother, father, grandparents, and/or caregivers). By this time she will start smiling at faces she likes and will want to interact. She now turns to the sounds made by people around her.
Activities to improve social skills
- 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.
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 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.
At birth, the bones of your baby’s skull are not joined firmly to let the head change shape to pass through the birth canal. The areas 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 developments in your baby
- By now, your baby will gain around 900 g -1 kg, 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.
- 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. Your paediatrician will guide you on the best products to use.
- 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. If you find any deviation, consult a specialist.
Nutrition and sleep wake 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. But the quantity of milk she intakes will be lesser. Formula-fed babies take in extra 5-6 ounces of milk every day.
As a general rule, if the baby demands more milk, and the frequency increases, then the growth rate is at a reasonable pace.
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. It will also help you deal with hiccups that the baby may have due to intake of air while feeding.
Nap time is still irregular
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. Where the child is formula fed, the baby tends to sleep more but in breastfed babies they may wake up every 2 hours to be fed.
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 the baby breathing through her mouth or making unusual sounds, you may want to check with the doctor once.
You cannot expect a 2-month-old baby to sleep longer at night. She will continue to have an erratic sleep pattern. She will take 3-4 naps per day. Keep her cozy with comfortable temperature to induce good 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.
According to studies, almost 90% of babies have a disturbed sleep pattern up to 3 months of age. They tend to get back to the normal sleep only after 3-4 months.
More in store!!
- Babies love watching nature. So, take her out or simply place 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Drooling is another typical feature you can see during the second month of your baby. Though she doesn’t start teething yet, her saliva is watery now, hence drools out. Wipe it whenever it happens with clean clothes or wipes.
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 faster, they can hold the waste in longer.
When to consult the doctor-
Apart from regular check-ups, 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.
- If she cries incessantly for hours at a stretch. (put the link of the blog why does my baby cry)
- If she 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!