How your baby's growing
Now that she's hit the 2-month mark, your baby is becoming an increasingly agreeable companion when she's happy. No longer do her built-in newborn reflexes govern her movements: She's learning to control her body and mind. She listens for new and different sounds. She looks around the room for interesting things to see. She focuses intently though briefly on whatever grabs her attention. Most of all, she really enjoys looking at her hands, mashing them together, and stuffing them in her mouth.
Coos are her way of expressing delight, as well as exercising her vocal cords. You can carry on a "conversation" with your baby now. When she gurgles or coos, say something brief or coo back at her. Then wait for her to "say" something back to you. This kind of conversational turn-taking may not sound like much to you now, but it's actually the beginning of learning how to talk!
Your baby can differentiate familiar voices from other sounds and is becoming a better listener. She also can show you that her's in tune with her environment. Notice how she looks to see where certain noises are coming from.
An ongoing conversation (although still one-sided!) can help your baby develop her sense of place. She may even watch your mouth as you talk, fascinated by how it all works.
If your baby's sleeping through the night (five or six hours at a stretch), you're one of the lucky few. Most 10-week-old babies still wake up in the middle of the night. But even babies who aren't sleeping through the night at this stage should be sleeping and staying awake for longer intervals instead of cycling back and forth so much. Your baby will most likely have two to four long sleep periods and as many as ten hours of awake time in 24 hours.
An interesting note: Whether your baby is a night owl or a morning lark, a long sleeper or short sleeper, she'll probably stay that way throughout childhood.
She's no Fred Astaire yet, but your little one's movements are getting a bit more coordinated. You'll notice that the jerky arm and leg movements of her newborn days have given way to smoother, more circular motions, especially when she's watching people.
Give your baby enough space to stretch and move her arms and legs. Lay a blanket on the floor and let her move as he pleases. These movements can help your baby strengthen and tone her developing muscles. On her tummy, she'll start to push off with her legs — the first step in getting on the move.
Reading to your baby, even at this young age, will pay off. Hearing you read helps your baby develop an ear for the cadence of language. Varying the pitch of your voice, using accents, and singing will make the connection between you and your baby that much more interesting.
If she looks the other way or loses interest while you're reading, just try something else or give her time to rest. Take your cue from her responses.
You'll find plenty of good books to read to your baby — such as Goodnight Moon, Good Night Gorilla, and The Big Red Barn. Choose board books that have large, bright pictures and simple text — or even wordless books that have pictures for you to narrate. At this point you needn't be slavish to age guidelines. Books designed for older children can captivate a baby if they have clear, crisp images and bright colors.
*Don't forget birth control!
*Handling unwanted advice
When you have a baby, everyone in the world seems to have an opinion about it: "Shouldn't she be wearing a sweater?" "He won't grow big and strong if you don't feed him solids now." "If you let her suck on a pacifier, she'll ruin her teeth!" Whether the advice is right or wrong, it's the sheer intrusiveness of it all that can irk a mom.
How to deal with it? First and foremost, don't take everything you hear seriously. There's no quicker way to undermine your confidence than to listen to every shred of information you're offered by friends, relatives, and strangers. Do what you think is best.
Realize the advice is mostly well intentioned. People are drawn to babies. Sometimes they make "helpful" comments simply to have something to say. In response, say something noncommittal like, "Thanks for your concern." Or, "I'll think about it." A great way to handle grandparents who have their own ideas about feeding or sleep is to enlist a third party: "Thanks, Mom. I'll see what my doctor says."
3 questions about: The 2-month exam
What will the doctor be looking for?
She'll weigh and measure your baby to be sure she's growing at the proper rate. Your baby's vision and hearing will be checked, and the doctor will examine her for common health issues at this age, including diaper rash, baby acne, and cradle cap. This is also a great time to bring up questions you have about breastfeeding, returning to work, or any health and behavior concerns you have.
What vaccines will be given?
Your baby will probably be vaccinated against hepatitis B; polio; diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (the DTaP vaccine); and meningitis (the Hib vaccine). The pneumococcal vaccine is given to protect against severe bacterial infections, ear infections, and meningitis.
3 questions about: Reflux
What is reflux?
It's normal for all babies to spit up a little milk after some feedings. However, if your baby is burping up milk throughout the day or vomits more than twice a day, it could be gastroesophageal reflux disease.胃食道逆流Reflux may also be associated with prolonged crankiness and, in severe cases, gagging and coughing. Mention reflux symptoms to your pediatrician if you notice them.
What causes it?
The main problem is a weak esophageal sphincter — the valve that connects the throat to the stomach. Swallowing too much air and overfeeding can also be causes.
How is reflux treated?
In most cases, babies grow out of the problem by their first birthday without treatment, as their sphincter muscles grow stronger. If your baby is being formula fed, her doctor may suggest changing her formula or the amount you feed her. Holding her in a semivertical position after feedings will help keep the milk from coming back up. Your doctor might also prescribe an antacid (but don't give your baby one without a doctor's order). He may even suggest an endoscope of the baby's upper gastrointestinal tract. That means a tube will be inserted into the baby's throat to view and biopsy the area.
3 questions about: Colds
How did my baby catch a cold?
It's practically a given that your baby will catch a cold during his first year — the numerous viruses that cause colds are nearly impossible to avoid. They're spread through airborne droplets and by contaminated hands and objects, such as doorknobs and toys. Your baby can't fight them off as easily as you because his immune system is less developed than yours.
On top of this, your baby is constantly putting his fingers near his eyes and in his mouth, giving any viruses lurking on his hands easy passage into his body where they can set up camp. If your baby is in group daycare or has older siblings, he's even more likely to come into contact with cold germs.
How can I make my baby more comfortable?
Suction stuffy nostrils with a rubber bulb syringe, and use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in the room where he sleeps. These steps help keep his mucus thin and moving so he can breathe more easily.
Raise the head of your baby's mattress by a few inches, if possible, to ease his postnasal drip. Never use pillows for this purpose, though. If his crib mattress won't raise, try putting him to sleep in his car seat in an upright position.
Don't give your baby any over-the-counter cold remedies. Pediatricians typically do not recommend them for children under 6 months of age because it's unclear whether they help, and their risk of side effects may be high.
When should I call the doctor?
Play it safe and call the doctor if your baby:
• has a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) taken rectally;
• exhibits labored or rapid breathing (more than 60 breaths a minute), has a worsening cough, or is wheezing or gasping;
• has a discharge from his eyes, which may signal conjunctivitis (pinkeye) or an ear infection;
• tugs at his ear or cries when sucking during a feeding, which also suggest an ear infection; or
• seems to get sicker after five to seven days or has ongoing symptoms for more than two weeks.