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Playing with your newborn is a perfect way to gently guide him into his new – and unfamiliar – world. Mobiles with high-contrast patterns and books with photos of babies' faces will captivate him.
A play gym full of compelling toys to look at, swipe at, and listen to will give your baby practice with arm, hand, and finger coordination skills – and make lying down more interesting! You can even lie down on the floor next to your baby and join in the fun.
Although your baby can grab with gusto now, he doesn't yet have the hand-eye coordination to reach for an object you pass in front of him. That skill will develop at about 4 months of age. In the meantime, you'll have to place toys in his hand – your pinky may be an unexpected favorite.
At birth, your baby had no idea that his arms and legs were attached to him. That's all changing now as he starts exploring his body. The parts he's discovering first are his hands and feet.
Encourage his interest by holding his arms above his head and asking "How big is baby?" or by reciting "This Little Piggy" and counting his toes. Try moving his hands in front of his face so he can see and feel them at the same time.
Babies have trouble regulating their body temperature, and their circulation isn't perfect just yet. Keep in mind that some of your baby's body heat escapes through his hands and feet. Make sure little toes and fingers are covered on cold days, particularly when the two of you go outside.
Your baby may gurgle, coo, grunt, and hum to express his feelings. A few babies also begin squealing and laughing. Be sure to coo and gurgle back, and talk to your baby face to face. He'll enjoy holding your gaze now.
If you have things to do, your baby will still enjoy hearing your voice from across the room. And don't feel silly about talking Motherese or baby talk – babies are particularly attuned to this high-pitched, drawn-out way of communicating that can actually teach your baby about the structure and function of language.
Narrate your day to your baby. He'll enjoy your conversation and may even start to chime in with his own comments.
Remember, your baby is an individual
All babies are unique and meet milestones at their own pace. Developmental guidelines simply show what your baby has the potential to accomplish – if not right now, then soon. If your baby was premature, keep in mind that kids born early usually need a bit more time to meet their milestones. If you have any questions at all about your baby's development, ask your healthcare provider.