Your baby may sit, crawl, move around the house, and with increased mobility will better understand how the world works and how he works in it. He may begin or continue to string consonants together, and you may see his gestures indicating what he wants. Here are other knowledge highlights to look for this month
What to expect: As your baby becomes more flexible, you can watch her make sense of things on her own. Will she change the way she crawls depending on the type of floor she’s on? Does she reach for toys and adjust her position when she realizes they are no longer within her control? Behind these physical movements is a growing understanding of how she can best live in the world.
Your baby’s language development may flourish this month as your talk box strings together long, teething sentences. “Teething is the foundation of speech and language acquisition,” says Michele Borba, a parenting consultant and author of The Complete Book of Parenting Solutions. “The best way to help your child learn language is to talk to her naturally. Point things out, explain what you’re doing, and give each object a name. Your child will tune into your voice and begin to imitate those sounds,” she says. Try responding to your baby’s speech as if it were a normal conversation (pause when it’s her turn, etc.) to reinforce her learning. Your little one may also show signs of understanding phrases such as “no” or “let’s go” and may listen intently to new or sudden sounds.
If your little one reaches for you, she may need help standing up or having someone else pick her up. (She may also just be going through a stage where she needs more of your attention.) The more responsive you are to your baby’s wants, the more she will let you know what she wants.
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Progress: As the months go by, your baby may make more recognizable sounds (although it may take another month or two to send “daddy” to the right person). You may also begin to recognize the meaning behind different sounds as your baby becomes better at letting you know he’s tired, hungry, or frustrated.
How it helps: Keep naming objects and reading them to your baby as you go about your day. Babies may also enjoy taking things out of boxes or baskets, exploring a low shelf or cupboard, or trying to put one toy in another. “Babies are easy to please – they don’t need expensive toys – and they like things in the house! Put the laundry basket on the floor and dump out a few socks. Show your baby how to pick up each basket and put them back in the basket, just like a game,” says Dr. Borba. “Your goal is not for your child to learn how to do laundry-just to imitate your behavior. Make things fun! All of these activities will help her make sense of the world around her.”
Don’t panic if: Your baby starts to show signs of separation anxiety. If he becomes distracted when you leave the room, continue to talk to him and let him know you are nearby.
When you should be worried: If your baby isn’t making any sounds, shows interest in things around him, or seems unable to focus on objects or toys, call your doctor.