Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on September 01, 2020

One Month

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Spend time with your baby, up close. Why? They see best now when things are only 8 to 15 inches away. As their eyes are developing they'll love focusing on faces. So when they are not sleeping, hold your face close and feel free to coo away. 

One thing to keep in mind, is that their eyes may cross on occassion when you do this. But it's normal for a baby's eyes to cross occasionally at this early stage. They should grow out of it by the time they are 4 months old, If they continue to cross, or if the crossing seems more than occassional in your baby's first three months, tell your doctor and have them examine your baby'e eyes.

Two Months

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Help your baby develop better hand movements and vision by clapping their hands together and singing songs. Over time they'll try imitating your movements and voice, developing hand-eye coordination and language. Later on, baby will also begin copying your expressions. So try holding baby close and sticking out your tongue, opening your mouth wide, or giving baby a big grin. In the next few months, they will start mimicking you!

Three Months

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Your baby may start playing with their hands and swiping at things. Encourage hand-eye coordination by holding colorful rattles and toys up for them to grasp. They will also enjoy lifting their head. Encourage this with tummy playtime. Offer safe mirrors for them to peer in. It'll inspire them to lift their head even higher to see the adorable face looking back at them. When you pick them up, though, remember they will still need their head to be supported,

Four Months

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Social, motor, and language skills are blossoming now. Baby will show emotions by babbling happily when a bright toy appears, or grunting and crying angrily when you take it away. And guess what -- baby's ticklish now! The tickle reflex develops at about their fourteenth week.

Five Months

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Baby's eyes and ears are starting to work as well as yours do. Baby is also beginning to babble. Try talking back and repeating consonants to help them learn how to communicate. Repeat words and encourage baby when they try to imitate you. Start reading from books, pointing out objects as you say their name.

Six Months

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Soon baby will learn to sit up and move around. Get them moving by placing them on their belly. Then put a toy on the floor and encourage them to reach for it. Because babies this age put most everything in their mouths, be sure toys are bigger than the inside of a toilet paper tube. And be sure the house is baby-proofed. Also, be alert to your baby's movements so you can prevent falls.

Seven Months

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Your baby's hand skills are developing further -- and the pincer grasp will develop in the next few months. Stimulate their fine motor skills and coordination by providing small, safe objects to pick up. Plastic measuring spoons or small cups work well. Or sit outside and pick at the grass. At first they'll grab handfuls, but then become fascinated with -- and try to pluck up -- single blades.

Eight Months

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Time to stimulate baby's sense of space and word use. First, try giving baby toys that fit inside one another like pots and pans. Or try asking baby, "Where's your nose?" and pointing to their nose. As you repeat the game, add more body parts, it teaches baby the meaning of words.

Nine Months

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Baby may become fascinated with hinged objects and how they work. Watch as they entertain themselves with books that have stiff cardboard pages, cabinet doors, boxes with flaps, or toys that pop open. As they open and close a box or door -- maybe dozens of times -- they are developing hand-eye coordination.

10 Months

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Baby may love finding things that are hidden. Play "Where Did It Go?" to help them develop fine motor skills and the concept of object permanence -- that things don't go away when they can't see them. Hide a brightly colored object under a scarf or beneath some sand in a sandbox. Then put baby's hand over the object and help them uncover it. Soon they'll find it without help

11 Months

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Keep working on language skills with lots of games and songs. Language skills develop through human interaction -- not through baby DVDs or TV -- so talk to baby as often as you can. Tell them what you're doing, ask questions, and use dramatic gestures and tones. They are watching and catching on.

Your Baby's Development

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Some babies talk early. Others crawl months before their peers. All babies mature at their own pace. Different development rarely signals something is wrong with baby. If you have any worries, ask your pediatrician. It's often just normal differences among children. So relax and enjoy your baby's journey. 

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(4)    Alistair Berg/Photodisc
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REFERENCES:

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals: "Baby Play!"
Altmann, T. Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers, American Academy Of Pediatrics, 2009.
White, B. The New First Three Years of Life, 20th Anniversary Edition, Fireside, 1995.
Baby Center: "Play: Why It's So Important," "Let's Play! Inside the Box & Where Did It Go?"
KidsHealth.org: "Learning, Play, and Your 4- to 7-Month Old," "Learning, Play, and Your 1- to 3-Month Old."
Sears, M. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two, Little, Brown and Company, 2003.