By Tammy Morey
In the first few months of your baby’s life, most of his energy will be directed toward self-regulatory functions such as sleeping and eating. But with each passing week, they begin to take in more from their environment. Activities for your 2-month-old should focus primarily on face-to-face interactions, touch, head and neck strengthening exercises and developing the core muscles.
In the second month of your baby’s life, you’ll observe some of the following milestones:
Baby is able to focus and track objects as far as 12 inches away.
- He’s able to focus and track objects as far as 12 inches away. He can recognize and respond to familiar people. He becomes more eager to explore the sights and sounds around him.
- He will delight you with big, wonderful, purposeful, face-to-face smiles.
- He may suck his fingers, fist or a pacifier. For an infant, sucking is associated with pleasure and, therefore, is soothing. Infants often soothe and calm themselves by sucking on their fingers.
- His movements will become more fluid as his control increases, and you will see less of the jerky, random, erratic movements of the newborn (except for when he’s upset or hungry).
- His grasp is still a reflex, but he will grab objects that are placed in his palm.
- He may bicycle his legs and wave his arms when placed on his back. He can also twist, flex and arch his body.
- He can bat and swipe at dangling toys. Mobiles are great for this age.
- His communication and social skills will increase daily as he coos and makes happy noises. He is also more aware of sounds around him.
- His head and neck muscles will be getting stronger, especially if you encourage and practice tummy time daily. He can now hold his head up at a 45-degree angle for a brief period of time. When you hold him over your shoulder, you may notice that he can lift his head to look around. These muscles will still need your support, so be careful to guard his head and neck when lifting him and holding him.
- His nighttime sleeping periods may increase.
- He may become more patient with feeding as he becomes more social.
- He may experience colic (unexplained crying).
Keep in mind that developmental milestones are only loose guideposts that were designed to aid parents in detecting possible health concerns. All babies develop at different speeds; some may be early in one area and late in others. The most important thing is not to spend time comparing and worrying about developmental milestones with other caregivers.
The following exercises were designed to help your baby work on many of these month-two milestones. Remember, they will stimulate your baby’s entire body, so take cues from your baby during playtime. Babies will turn away from a toy or activity when they have had enough of it. Respect your baby by allowing him to enjoy the activities he’s most interested in and removing the toys he’s had enough of or that he’s least interested in.
The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town.
The doors on the bus go open and shut
Open and shut, open and shut.
The doors on the bus go open and shut all through the town.
The people on the bus go up and down
Up and down, up and down.
The people on the bus go up and down all through the town.
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish
Swish, swish, swish
Swish, swish, swish.
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish all through the town.
The horn of the bus goes toot, toot, toot
Toot, toot, toot
Toot, toot, toot.
The horn on the bus goes toot, toot, toot all through the town.
Begin by placing Baby on his back on the floor. While singing the above song and holding Baby’s hands in your hands, move Baby’s arms in a circular motion like a wheel turning over. Continue with the second verse while opening Baby’s arms out to his sides and closing them together over his chest, making an open-and-close motion.
For the next verse, raise Baby’s hands straight above his head and then lower them down to his sides for the people moving up and down. Say the fourth verse while moving Baby’s arms from right to left in front of his face to mimic the wiper movement. Then, finish the song by gently touching Baby’s nose with your finger on “toot, toot, toot.”
Muscles exercised: pectoral, upper back, arms, rotator cuffs, shoulders and hands
Exercises performed: arm cross, arm circles, arm raises, pectorals and tactile stimulation
The Insty Weentsy Spider went up the waterspout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the Insty Weentsy Spider went up the spout again.
Place Baby on his back on the floor. Kneel down on your knees at his feet, and while leaning over him, place your hands underneath his back. Gently lift Baby toward you into a sitting position while you say the first line. For the second line, lower him back down to a lying position and grasp his hands with yours. Then stretch his arms straight out to his sides at shoulder height. For the third line, while still grasping his hands with yours, stretch his arms above his head in a circular motion to make the shape of the sun. For the last line of the song, place your hands underneath Baby and gently raise him to an upright position.
Muscles exercised: head and neck, core/abdominal, pectoral, upper back, arms, rotator cuffs, shoulders and hands
Exercises performed: arm cross, arm circles, pectorals, upper back and core muscles with early sit-ups
London Bridge Is Falling Down
London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.
London Bridge is halfway down,
Halfway down, halfway down.
London Bridge is halfway down, my fair lady.
London Bridge has fallen down,
Fallen down, fallen down.
London Bridge has fallen down, my fair lady.
Place Baby on his back on the floor. Clasp your baby’s feet and ankles. For the first verse, gently bend his knees toward his chest and then straighten them out down and toward the floor. For the next verse, place your hands against the soles of your baby’s feet so that he will push against your hands to straighten his legs out (this is referred to as the “scooting” exercise). Gently add a little resistance so that he will straighten his legs so they are parallel to the floor. At first, he may kick his legs straight up in the air, but as the muscles develop, he will straighten them. While he is pushing against your hands, lower his straightened legs down halfway, then back up again toward the ceiling. For the third verse, repeat the first exercise, and for the last verse, repeat the scooting exercise.
Muscles exercised: feet, ankles, shins, thighs, hips and legs
Exercises performed: foot flex, knee bends and scooting
Rolling, rolling, rolling along
Rolling, rolling, rolling.
Now lift your head up high,
Way up high for all to see.
Now lower your head down,
Down to the floor so gently.
Place Baby on his tummy. Kneel behind and bend directly over your baby. While resting your elbows at your baby’s sides, grasp his arms with the palms of your hands under his armpits. For the first and second verses, roll your baby from side to side. For the third verse, slowly lift your baby’s entire upper torso off the floor, but make sure that his tummy remains on the floor. For the fifth verse, gently lower his chest back down to rest on the floor.
Muscles exercised: upper back and lower back, head, neck, shoulders and abdominal muscles
Exercise performed: chest lift
Remember to incorporate tummy time into your baby’s daily routine so that he will begin to strengthen the muscles in his head, neck, shoulders and back. The development of these muscles is a prerequisite to rolling over and crawling.