My Two-Month-Old Baby and Me
"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."
— Charles R. Swindoll, Insight for Living Ministries
Communication with Baby:
You may have noticed that Baby is becoming more interactive. Just when you thought you could not bear another messy diaper, he gave you that beautiful smile. He is thrilled when you smile back. He's found a way to make you happy!
He will be listening and watching for your reactions, and his desire to please you will become his drive to learn language. It all starts with smiles, oohs, and ahs. Have fun with Baby!
Some ideas for play:
- Repeat sounds that he makes.
- Sing and read to him daily.
- Talk to him in multiple languages if you speak several in your home.
- Blow raspberries on his tummy.
- Play or make music; shake a rattle or bell with him.
- Watch him follow a toy as you move it from one side to the other.
- Give him tummy time while you are watching him.
- Be amazed as he discovers his toes, hands and ears!
- Take him on a walk (before 10 am or after 4pm in summer time).
- Visit a neighbor or relative.
- Do some mom/baby exercise:
Exercises to Prevent Misshapen Heads:
It is very important to prevent neck muscle stiffening (torticollis) which can lead to a misshapen head. Tummy time and strengthening exercises are important to do at least 3 times per day while your infant is very young. Be sure that you talk with your pediatrician if you notice your baby prefers to look or tilts his head in one direction. This brochure has a good explanation of the exercises you can do with your baby:
Some parents may feel detached or particularly "down" at this time.
If you are feeling this way, please call your doctor or pediatrician. Seek out a counselor. Do not ignore the feelings. If you ever feel like you cannot bear anymore, tell someone you trust and let them look after your baby for a while. For the sake of your baby and yourself it's best to ask for help! See mothers’ group resources listed in “My One Month Old Baby and Me.”
Your baby probably still has some rashes on his face and maybe some diaper rash. See the rash section in “My One Month Old Baby and Me” for a full description.
Typical Routine for Baby:
It's time for Baby to adjust to your routine so everyone can be in harmony in the household. She will adjust if you expect her to adjust. Developing a routine for your baby is a step in loving discipline. A typical routine is outlined below; of course actual times may vary. See ideas above for play and exercise time.
|5am Early-bird Feed*||(breastfeed 20 min or 4-5 oz bottle with dim lights)|
|7 am Wake- Up Time**||Parent picks baby up from crib and changes diaper.|
|8 am Play then Feed Time||(usually breast-feed for 20 min. or 4-5 oz bottle)|
|9 am Morning Nap Time||(allow her to awaken on her own from nap)|
|11 am Play and Exercise Time||This is perfect for Tummy Time|
|12 pm Feed Time||(breastfeed for 15-20 min. or 4-5 oz bottle)|
|1 pm Afternoon Nap Time||(allow her to awaken on her own from nap)|
|2 pm Play and Exercise Time||This is perfect for Tummy Time|
|3pm Feed Time||(breastfeed for 15 - 20 min. or 4-5 oz bottle)|
|4pm Play, Walk Outside Time||(sunlight exposure for 15 min).|
|5pm Exercise, Stretches, Bath, Massage||Don't forget to apply lotion.|
|6 pm Feed Time||(breastfeed for 15-20 min or 4-5 oz bottle) with lights low.|
|6:30pm Bed Time||(Place baby in crib with eyes still open)|
|7pm Mom pump time||(20 min dual electric pump) then Mom to bed.|
|10 pm Mom pump time, Dad’s Feed time***||(give pumped milk or formula)|
*Change diaper (if full) before feeding, and after this early AM feeding place Baby right back to bed. Keep lights off and low stimulation. Some babies skip this feeding altogether and sleep until 7am.
**For the baby who sleeps through until 7am, give a first feeding immediately upon awakening and again just before the morning nap.
***Avoid much play or stimulation with this “Dream feed.” Keep lights dim. Change diaper quickly, swaddle and lay baby right back to bed.
Overnight: Baby may wriggle, make noises or even cry as she enters her next sleep cycle (every 3 hours). She may fall back to sleep on her own and sleep until about 5am if no one stimulates her or interferes with her process of falling back to sleep. See steps for sleep training detailed below.
Sleep Training: Teaching Baby to sleep through the night.
- Why? Baby will be more alert and ready to play and learn in the daytime if she receives 6-8 hours of sleep at night. Consolidated sleep at night aids in development.
- Meet with your pediatrician at the 2 month well visit to discuss if your infant and you are ready for sleep training. It is very important that your pediatrician review your baby’s growth and health before you start sleep training. It is even more important that both parents be ready for the sleep training process. It will only work if every family member is in agreement and your baby is also ready. If you do not think you are ready for some crying, then do not start this process yet. Sleep training can be quite successful anytime between 2-4 months of age for a healthy infant. It becomes more difficult by 5-6 months.
- Signs that your baby is ready for sleeping through the night include actually sleeping through the night without any need for training, feeding very little at night time, drifting off to sleep at the beginning of a feeding at night time, and normal growth.
- Decide on a bedtime for baby. Remember that you can expect her to sleep 6-8 hours (2 sleep cycles) at night at her age. For example, if you make her bedtime at 6:30 pm, she will most likely actually fall asleep at 7pm (should take about 20 minutes to fall asleep), take a feeding after the first 3 hour sleep cycle (10pm) then sleep through the next 2 sleep cycles until 5am.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Keep it short. This routine may be giving her a bath, massaging her with moisturizer, some gentle stretches, reading, etc. Then feed her with low lights, soft music or soft singing/ soothing talking. Avoid highly stimulating games at night. Do that type of play in the daytime. Keep the house a little cooler, about 72-74 F.
- At Bedtime, lay Baby in her crib with her eyes open and facing up. It usually takes 20-30 min for an infant to fall asleep. If your baby falls asleep right away, she is too tired and you should move the bedtime up sooner. Do not rock or hold her until her eyes are closed. It is important that she is still somewhat awake when you lay her down in the crib. If she cries as you lay her down, place your warm hand on her tummy and tell her “shh” for about 10 seconds then walk out of her room, even if she is fussing.
- Intervals to check on Baby: After you first lay her down, if she starts to cry, check on her after 2 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 20 minute intervals until she falls asleep. When you check on her, keep the lights low or off, place your warm hand on her tummy and say “shhh” for about 10 seconds then walk back out. The purpose of checking is to be sure that she is not “messy” with a soiled diaper or spit up, that an arm is not caught in crib rails and that she is not too hot or cold. Some babies roll onto their tummy at this age and become fussy because they cannot roll back. It is also a good chance for her to be soothed for a moment. It is best to keep these checks extremely short, avoid much stimulation and avoid picking her up unless she does not soothe just by your presence. If you must pick her up to calm her a bit, do so only for a few seconds to “shh” her, then lay her right back down on her back.
- Continue the checks at the intervals until she falls asleep.
- Night 1, start the intervals at 2 minutes, 5 min, 10 min, 15 min, 20 min…
- Night 2 start the intervals at 5 minutes, 10 min, 15 min, 20 min…
- Night 3 start the intervals at 10 minutes, 15 min, 20 min…
- Night 4 start the intervals at 15 minutes, 20 min…
- Night 5 start the intervals at 20 minutes...
Usually Night 3 is the most difficult due to a phenomenon called “extinction burst” as the behavior (crying and resisting sleep in this case) can worsen before it disappears.
- A mistake you can make during this routine is “giving in” after an hour or 2 of the process and feeding her, rocking her or putting her in your bed with you. If that happens, it would be best for you to completely abandon the sleep training and try again in a month or so when you feel that you may be more ready for the process. Some babies hardly cry at all during this process and some cry a lot. It just depends on the baby and the parents. If you feel worried about sleep training at this 2 month age, then don’t do it. Your worry will show in your demeanor and your infant will pick up on those cues and not adjust well to sleep training. Just wait and try again closer to 4 months of age if your baby does not start to sleep through the night on her own. Avoid putting her in your own bed as it is dangerous and much more difficult to sleep train later.
- Create some rhythmic "white noise" in her room such as a ticking clock or fan (not directly on her) but avoid stimulating sounds such as a mobile or lively music. Be careful of white noise makers as some are quite loud. 85 dbels for 8 hours can cause permanent hearing damage. There are smart phone apps to measure dbels of sounds:
- When she awakens again around 3 —4 am, remind yourself that she needs a chance to soothe herself back to sleep. It is easier to give her this chance if her crib is in another room as you will not hear (and act upon) every move she makes. Follow the same interval checks until she falls asleep at this time.
- At your predetermined "Wake-Up" time (see sample schedule above), enter Baby's room and gently wake her up. She may awaken around 5 am. If so, do a quick diaper change if it is full, then feed her quickly and with lights off or dim. Lay her back down in her crib and leave her room quietly. Sometimes the “Early Risers” have a hard time falling back to sleep. Do the intervals at this time if baby cries until your predetermined “Wake up time” or about 7 am. Try to keep her in the crib until the wake up time.
- Baby will adjust her sleep cycles to the routine you have set for her after 5-7 nights of practice. Be consistent.
- When she moves closer to 3-4 months of age, you can expect her to sleep 10-12 hours (3 sleep cycles) at night and you can teach her to sleep through her other late night awakening (around 10 pm) with the same method.
- Sometimes Baby may be ill or her routine may be thrown off by travel; be flexible during these periods and give her extra comforting. She can go back to her regular routine when her illness is resolved or when you return home.
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