This is an exciting time for parents — babies this age make real progress toward communicating. During this period you will be able to engage your baby in two-way "conversations" — exchanging smiles and oohs and aahs.
Your baby's personality begins to become evident as he or she becomes a more active and alert member of your family.
Crying continues to be a baby's primary means of communication for many months. Aside from letting parents know that they need something, they might cry when overwhelmed by all of the sights and sounds of the world.
Sometimes babies may cry for no apparent reason. As long as your baby is not sick or hurt, try not to get too upset if your baby cries and you aren't able to console him or her.
Your baby will respond to the sound of your voice by becoming quiet, smiling, or getting excited and moving his or her arms and legs. Babies this age begin smiling regularly at mom and dad, but may need some time to warm up to familiar people, like grandparents. Your baby probably won't smile and act friendly with strangers.
Babies now discover their ability to vocalize: Soon you'll have a cooing and gurgling machine! Some babies begin to make some vowel sounds, like "ah-ah" or "ooh-ooh," at about 2 months.
Your baby will "talk" to you with a variety of sounds; your baby will also smile at you and wait for your response, and respond to your smiles with his or her own. Your baby's arms and legs will move, and his or her hands will open up. Your baby may even mimic your facial expressions.
Your baby loves to hear your voice, so talk, babble, sing, and coo away during these first few months. Respond enthusiastically to your baby's sounds and smiles. Tell your baby what he or she is looking at or doing and what you are doing. Name familiar objects as you touch them or bring them to your baby.
Take special advantage of your baby's own "talking" to have a "conversation." If you hear your baby make a sound, repeat it and wait for him or her to make another. You are teaching your baby valuable lessons about tone, pacing, and taking turns when talking to someone else.
You are also sending the message that your baby is important enough to listen to. Don't interrupt or look away when your baby's "talking" — show you're interested and that your little one can trust you.
Babies this age seem to respond best to the female voice — the one historically associated with comfort and food. That's why most people will raise the pitch of their voices and exaggerate their speech when talking to babies. This is fine — studies have shown that "baby talk" doesn't delay the development of speech — but mix in some regular adult words and tone. It may seem early, but you're setting the stage for your baby's first word.
Sometimes babies aren't in the mood to talk or vocalize — even babies need their space and a break from all the stimulation in the world. Babies might turn away, closes their eyes, or becomes fussy or irritable. If this happens, let your little one be, or just try cuddling.
There might be times when you've met all of your baby's needs, yet he or she continues to cry. Don't despair — your baby may be overly stimulated, have gastric distress, or may have too much energy and need a good cry.
It's common for babies to have a fussy period about the same time every day, generally between early evening and midnight. Though all babies cry and show some fussiness, when an infant who is otherwise healthy cries for more than 3 hours per day, more than 3 days per week for at least 3 weeks, it is a condition known as colic. This can be upsetting, but the good news is that it's short-lived — most babies outgrow it at around 3 months of age.
Try to soothe your baby. Some babies are comforted by motion, such as rocking or being walked back and forth across the room, while others respond to sounds, like soft music or the hum of a vacuum cleaner. It may take some time to find out what best comforts your baby during these stressful periods.
Talk to your doctor if your baby seems to cry for an unusual length of time or if the cries sound odd to you. Your doctor will be able to reassure you or look for a medical reason for your baby's distress. Chances are there is nothing wrong, and knowing this can help you relax and stay calm when your baby is upset.
Babies usually reach these communication milestones during this period:
Keep in mind that babies communicate at different rates, just as they mature physically at different rates. There is usually no cause for concern, but talk to your doctor if your baby misses any of these milestones.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011
|American Medical Association (AMA) The AMA has made a commitment to medicine by making doctors more accessible to their patients. Contact the AMA at: American Medical Association|
515 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60610
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Zero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.|
|The Senses and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old Your baby is experiencing the first sights, sounds, and smells of the world through all five senses. What are your baby's responses to light, noise, touch, and familiar faces?|
|Feeding Your 1- to 3-Month-Old Whether you've chosen to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, your infant will let you know when it's time to eat.|
|Movement, Coordination, and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old The reflexes they had just after birth start to disappear as babies this age gain more control over movements and interact more with their environment.|
|Learning, Play, and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old After learning to recognize your voice, your face, and your touch, your baby will start responding more to you during these months and even give you a smile!|
|Growth and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old Like newborns, most babies continue to grow quickly in weight and length during the first few months of life.|
|Delayed Speech or Language Development Knowing what's "normal" and what's not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.