Taking his first steps
That major rite of passage is almost here, if it hasn't happened already — some time this month, your baby may take his first steps alone. (If he doesn't, don't worry — it takes some children several more weeks or months to start toddling.) If he's like most children, your little one will take those early strides on tiptoe with his feet turned outward. Keep the camera ready to capture the moment!
New kinds of play
Your baby's play probably will start shifting from mastering his fine motor skills — he's got that thumb-and-forefinger grasp down pat — to exercising larger muscles. Some children this age have an attention span of two to five minutes for quiet activities, although your child's favorite games may not be all that quiet.
Your child probably thinks it's fun to push, throw, and knock everything down. He'll give you a toy as well as take one, and he likes games where he can put things in containers and dump them out again. This works well with blocks in buckets or boxes and with pots and pans, which he can nest inside one another. He'll thrill to the loud sounds of those pots and pans banging together, too.
Your baby's hands should be mostly open now — ready to reach out to the world. In the early days of your baby's life, grabbing was mostly automatic and instinctual and she couldn't let go if she wanted to. Although she can't really grab objects just yet, she can hold things placed in her hands. And, once she wraps her hands around something, she might not let go so easily. She'll also begin to try and bat at objects, so keep potentially dangerous objects far from your little one's reach. This means not holding hot liquids or sharp objects while you're holding her.
Learning begins now
You may notice short periods of time when your newborn is quiet and alert. This is prime time for learning: Your baby's brain will grow about 5 centimeters during her first three months!
Use these calm intervals to get better acquainted with your baby — talk to her, sing to her, describe the pictures on the walls. She may not be able to add to your conversation just yet, but she's learning nonetheless.
New textures for her hands to feel and new sights and sounds (all in moderation) are all learning opportunities. Even bath time becomes a laboratory for understanding life.
Eyes can track objects
With both eyes now able to follow things consistently and well, your baby can track a moving object much better, something she may have been able to do for only brief periods since birth.
The stores are packed with developmental toys, but you'll do just as well with everyday objects. Pass a rattle or a bright plastic ladle horizontally in front of her. Then try moving it up and down. This should attract your baby's attention, though she probably won't be able to smoothly follow things vertically for another three months and diagonally for another six months.
You can also play eyes-to-eyes by moving very close to her face and slowly nodding your head from side to side. Often her eyes will lock onto yours.
Remember, your baby is an individual
All babies are unique and meet milestones at their own pace. Developmental guidelines simply show what your baby has the potential to accomplish — if not right now, then soon. If your baby was premature, keep in mind that kids born early usually need a bit more time to meet their milestones. If you have any questions at all about your baby's development, ask your healthcare provider.