General: You have probably noticed that over the last two months your baby has begun to organize his sleep/wake cycle to some extent. You may have noticed that he is having longer periods where he is awake and quietly alert. These are wonderful opportunities to hold him and talk with him.
- Feeding: Breast milk and formula continue to meet all of your baby’s nutritional needs. Feeding intervals are now likely 3-4 hours during the day and longer at night. Amounts taken vary widely, but average 4-6 ounces per feeding, 5-7 times per day. Hold baby for all feedings – never “prop” baby’s bottle.
- Elimination: As the digestive tract matures, most babies begin to have fewer bowel movements. In fact, some breast-fed infants have only one bowel movement per week. Again, if the stool remains soft your baby is not constipated.
- Sleep: Sleep patterns are highly variable at this age. Most infants are still awakening every 3-4 hours, though some will have organized their sleep patterns to allow for 7-9 hours of sleep a night and frequent, short naps during the day. Adding cereal and other solids has not been found to help babies sleep through the night, and is not recommended.
- Immunizations: Fever and fussiness are possible side effects of the immunizations your baby will receive today. Feel free to use acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) for the first 24 hours. If you have questions about the appropriate acetaminophen dose for your baby’s weight, please feel free to ask your doctor.
- Motor Skills: You will probably notice that your baby’s head control is improving and will continue to do so over the next few months. Baby will also follow faces and objects with his eyes and reach for and hold objects briefly. We will also begin to raise his chest off the floor using forearms for support when placed on his tummy, and will be interested in watching his own hands.
- Communication/Socialization: This is a delightful time in terms of baby’s improved responsiveness. You will notice that he is beginning to smile in response to your smile and will show pleasure in his ability to make sounds – cooing, laughing out loud and squealing.
- Your baby is becoming more mobile and may soon be able to roll over. Therefore, you should never leave baby unattended on a bed, couch, table or countertop even if he is in an infant seat.
- Infant walkers have been found to be very hazardous and we discourage their use.
- Always use a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of your vehicle.
- Eliminate baby’s exposure to tobacco smoke as it has been strongly implicated in childhood illnesses including ear infections, colds, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). As a parent, you have both the right and the responsibility to protect your child when visitors come to your home.
- Check all toys for sharp edges and small or loose parts that can be pulled off and choked on or swallowed.
- Careful hand washing by all caregivers and visitors can protect your child from respiratory illnesses.
Parenting: Meeting your child’s needs in a loving and consistent way will result in secure attachment. When baby is awake and quietly alert, spend time talking and singing with him and encourage his vocalizations. It’s great fun and it teaches him that his actions can affect the world around him.
Play: Babies this age enjoy increased contact with family members. Rattles or other easily grasped objects are excellent toys, and mobiles that are securely attached to baby’s crib provide wonderful stimulation. Remember that singing and vocalizing with your baby as you make eye contact is still baby’s favorite activity.
Next visit is at 4 months of age.