Fun with hands
By the third month, your baby will spend a large amount of time entertaining himself with his hands. Most of the time, his hands will be open. The act of opening and closing them, as well as staring at them, will be almost as fun for your baby as exploring his stuffed animals.
While it may look like its all fun and games, your baby is also working on strengthening his hand muscles. In five to six months, he should be able to pick up toys. To help him along, put a rattle in his hand, and gently tugs on it; this also helps him build muscle.
Your emerging social butterfly
Your baby is becoming quite social, taking in more and more of the world around him.
Help him get more acquainted
- Carrying him in a cuddled "sitting" position and showing him lights or brightly colored objects
- Rocking him in a rocking chair while talking softly and looking into his eyes
- Singing quietly to him before bed
- Giving him different textures to feel, such as stuffed animals, plastic toys, or pieces of terry cloth or rubber. (Since your baby may put the objects in his mouth, be sure they’re not too small and that the pieces can’t be torn off and swallowed)
- Having quiet times. Babies need some quiet time to babble, play, and explore their world, so don't leave a radio, TV, or stereo on for long periods
- Looking in mirrors. Put a non-breakable metal or plastic baby mirror in the crib or playpen. Show him the mirrors around your home
- Propping him up so he can watch what goes on around him
The big stretch
By 3 to 4 months old your baby should be sleeping for five-to-six hour stretches during the night.
Here are some tips to try to help him get his rest:
- Establish a before-bed routine, whether it’s gently rocking him in your arms or stroking his back and arms
- Whenever possible, try not to run to him on his first cry – if it’s a cry of distress or continues for a few minutes, investigate
- Check for a wet diaper, vomiting, fever, or other signs that he’s in distress (If his diaper needs changing, try to do it quickly and quietly, without taking him out of the crib and stimulating him too much)
- If he doesn't need a diaper change (and he's not ill), gently rub his back and talk to him in a soothing voice until he calms down, then say "good night" and leave the room.