Baby Brain Boosters
Month 4, Week 1
Many products claim to boost your baby’s IQ. Will your child be behind if you don’t invest in these products? Not at all!
You don’t need any special equipment, DVDs, or computer programs to teach your baby. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time for kids under 2 years.
Instead, you can:
- Talk to your baby. Use grown-up words, and describe what you’re doing. “It’s bath time! I’m running water into the tub for Ethan! Now let’s use some soap.”
- Read to him. The best “educational toy” you can get for your child is a good library. Board books are sturdy; plastic books can stand up to baby's drool and bites.
- Listen to music together, sing, and dance.
- Teach him about texture and noise by giving him different objects to hold and squeeze, like cups, keys, soft toys, and smooth cloth.
Your Baby's Development This Week
When he was first born, your baby saw the world as if through a dense fog. He could only really focus on objects that were within 8-12 inches of his eyes (the perfect distance for seeing Mommy’s face when nursing.) But now, his world is coming into ever-sharper focus.
Your baby’s vision is developing in many ways:
- By now, his eyes should no longer cross. They’re well coordinated and he can easily follow and reach for moving objects.
- He likes watching faces best of all, and can track you for a full 180 degrees. He may even babble to get your attention when he sees you.
- His ability to perceive color is getting better. He prefers bright, bold colors to muted pastels, which are harder to distinguish.
- He can now distinguish objects from backgrounds even when they look similar, such as a pink button on a pink blouse.
You might wonder about:
- Too many tears. All babies cry, but if your baby’s eyes seem weepy or crusty, it could indicate blocked tear ducts or an eye infection.
- Using a night light. Is this a good idea for your baby? Definitely! Having a night light or other dim lamp in his room can help with your baby’s visual development.
- Your preemie’s eyes. Premature babies are at greater risk for vision problems than full-term infants, so keep a closer watch on your baby’s vision development if he was premature.
- Solid foods. Your pediatrician should discuss introducing solid foods at the 4-month checkup.
Month 4, Week 1 Tips
- Help your baby enjoy the book you’re reading to him by being a ham. Make funny voices and animal noises to engage his interest.
- Your baby isn't crawling yet, but babyproof ahead of time. Make sure there are locks on low cabinets that store dangerous items such as household cleaners.
- Your baby is sitting up better and better, but he still needs your support to stay upright safely. Don’t leave baby alone in a Bumbo-type seat or propped on a nursing pillow.
- Put gates up to secure stairways and doorways to areas where your baby might fall or get hurt.
- Don’t use a baby walker. They can tip over and cause injury. Also, babies who use walkers take longer to learn to walk.
- Your baby has started drooling. This does not mean he is getting teeth just yet. It means his saliva is changing in preparation for solid foods.
- Check your baby’s car seat periodically to make sure it is firmly installed, especially if you’ve taken it out for any reason. Your baby must always be strapped in, even if you’re just going a few blocks.