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Baby Brain Boosters

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on July 25, 2021

Month 4, Week 1

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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 them. 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 them about texture and noise by giving them different objects to hold and squeeze, like cups, keys, soft toys, and smooth cloth.

Your Baby's Development This Week

When they were first born, your baby saw the world as if through a dense fog. They could only really focus on objects that were within 8-12 inches of their eyes (the perfect distance for seeing Mommy’s face when nursing.) But now, their world is coming into ever-sharper focus.

Your baby’s vision is developing in many ways:

  • By now, their eyes should no longer cross. They’re well coordinated and they can easily follow and reach for moving objects.
  • They like watching faces best of all, and can track you for a full 180 degrees. They may even babble to get your attention when they see you.
  • Their ability to perceive color is getting better. They prefer bright, bold colors to muted pastels, which are harder to distinguish.
  • They 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. A warm compress may help with the symptoms. If there is fever or you have concerns, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Using a night light. Is this a good idea for your baby? Definitely! Having a night light or other dim lamp in their 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 they were premature.
  • Solid foods. Your pediatrician should discuss introducing solid foods at the 4-month checkup.

Month 4, Week 1 Tips

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  • Help your baby enjoy the book you’re reading to them by being a ham. Make funny voices and animal noises to engage their 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 they still need 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 they are getting teeth just yet. It means their 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. If you are borrowing a car seat from a friend or relative, make sure the dates of the seat are still valid for use and that the seat is in good condition and has not previously been in a car accident.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Indiana University Infant Vision Lab: "What Can a Baby See?"

Nationwide Children’s Hospital: "Infant Development."

American Optometric Association: "Infant Vision: Birth to 24 months of Age."

About Kids Health: "Development of Vision."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "TV and Toddlers."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "The Secret to a Smarter Baby."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Helping Your Child Learn to Read."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Safety for Your Child: Birth to 6 Months."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Your Baby's Vision: 4 to 7 Months."

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