Childhood Development: 3 to 6 Months
Your baby is becoming more social these days. Your baby will smile more often, and begin to laugh. Your baby will enjoy playing simple games with you. In these games, you and your baby will take turns doing something that delights the other. Your baby learns that her actions can cause a reaction in her surroundings. As your baby gains better muscle control, she is able to really explore her world around her. When your baby is asleep, make sure he lying on his back.

What your baby can see:
  • Your baby can focus on objects as far away as three feet.
  • Your baby can follow objects going across him and over-and-under him.
  • Depth perception is developing in your baby. He can begin to differentiate between objects that are close to him and objects that are far away.
  • Your baby likes looking at his hands and feet.
  • He can look back and forth at two different things.

How your baby eats:
  • You can begin introducing solid foods once your doctor says it is okay (usually at the 4 or 6 month check-up).
  • When solid foods are given, be sure she is sitting upright to reduce the risk of choking.
  • Solid foods should begin with iron-fortified, single-grain cereals and slowly shift to strained/pureed baby meats and baby vegetables.
  • Stay away from "low-fat" foods at this stage because your baby needs the fat content in foods to grow.

How to care for your baby's mouth:
  • Your baby's gums need to be cleaned with an infant toothbrush or wet washcloth/gauze after feedings and at bedtime.
  • Your baby may be experiencing pain and/or swollen gums as her teeth begin to come in. Most babies get their first tooth at 6-7 months, although some get it as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months.
  • Try gently massaging the gums with a clean fingertip to provide relief for teething pain. Your baby may feel better when chewing on cold objects (e.g. chilled washcloth, teething ring, or cool spoon). Make sure the object won't break or make her choke.

How your baby moves (your baby's gross motor skill development):
  • During this period, your baby learns to hold her head up on her own.
  • When you put your baby on her belly, she will learn to push up on her hands to look around.
  • She may start to roll over during these months. It is a good idea to always make sure you leave your baby in a safe place, like a crib or on the floor.
  • If you prop pillows around your baby, she will enjoy sitting up. However, your baby probably can't sit yet without support.

How your baby uses her hands (your baby's fine motor skill development):
  • Your baby can reach and grab things now.
  • Your baby can play with her hands together.
  • Your baby enjoys reaching for his toes.
  • Your baby puts all kinds of things in his mouth. It's another way of exploring toys.
  • Since your baby loves to put things into his mouth out of curiosity, keep small objects that he could swallow and choke on away from his reach.

How your baby communicates (your baby's speech and language development):
  • Your baby is imitating more facial expressions.
  • Your baby will begin using many different vowel sounds.
  • You may hear your baby making more sounds when playing by herself.
  • Your baby may start "squealing" during this time as she explores making high pitched and low pitched sounds.
  • You may hear growling or gurgling; you can have a "conversation" by copying your baby's sounds and taking turns "talking".

How your baby is growing emotionally (your baby's social and emotional development):
  • Your baby will become more active in getting your attention.
  • Your baby may respond differently to the voice of a stranger than to the voice of a familiar person.
  • Your baby will begin to smile at herself in the mirror

Loving and playing with your baby:
  • Your baby may enjoy playing peek-a-boo with you.
  • Prop up your baby with pillows, or sit him in your lap, and give him toys to explore with his hands or mouth.
  • Give your baby lots of opportunities to reach for things with different textures.
  • Sing songs with rhymes to your baby.
  • "Read" books with bright pictures to your baby. Your baby will enjoy the sound of your voice and the pictures in the book!
  • Your baby probably still needs 2-3 naps per day. Remember to rest if you can during this time!

How to keep your baby healthy:

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