5 things you need to know about your eight-week-old
By eight weeks your baby is interested in the world around him and has learned to smile – not just at you, but at other people he knows, too. Seeing his face break into a big gummy grin is the best sign ever that he loves you every bit as much as you love him.
1. His eyes are moving around a wider area now, and his vision is improving all the time. Now he’s able to focus, quite small things near his face will be of huge interest. Whereas black and white pictures used to keep him occupied, now he’ll prefer more complex designs. If you hold an object above his face and move it slowly around, he can follow it.
2. His movements, which used to be jerky, have become smoother and more circular. He’s a lot more coordinated and is now able to bring his hands to his mouth.
3. His grasp is improving too. Since the early days he’s been able to grasp an object if you put it in his hands; now he can grab something because he wants to. Letting go of it is harder, though, and you may need to prise things from his hands.
4. He’s making some sounds now, sweetly-pitched coos-sometimes when familiar people, especially Mummy and Daddy, are in view! Expect lots of ‘ooh, ooh, oohs’ and ‘ah, ah, ahs.’
5. His hearing is fully developed, but of course he’s only just starting to make sense of the sounds he can hear. What he’s most interested in is the sound of a human voice, particularly yours: you’ll find he’ll follow your voice with real concentration. But don’t worry if he doesn’t always respond to sounds-if he’s overstimulated, he’ll eventually switch off.
By two months, he’s much more interested in what’s going on around him
Help them grow
Here’s how you can help nurture your little one’s development
- Vary the pitch and tone of your voice. Talk to him softly, then a little louder. Buy a book of nursery rhymes and re-aquaint yourself with all the old favourites. Five years from now, he’ll have great talking and pre-reading skills because of all the talking you’re doing.
- Massage will soothe a baby and help make him more aware of his own body. It can also stimulate the immune system and circulation, and can ease digestive upsets. Make sure the room is warm before you start: lie him down on a bed and gently rub each part of his body separately – neck to shoulders, chin to chest, the crown of the head, the cheeks, upper and lower back. Stroke down each arm and leg, hands and feet. Soft, relaxing music and dim lights may make the massage more calming.
- Hang a mobile over your baby’s cot, or lie him in his pram under a tree. He’ll enjoy watching the movement and they stimulate his brain’s development.
- Let him look at and touch a wider variety of objects now – good choices include plastic toys and soft balls. Look for toys with lots of colours and patterns.
- Give your baby some exercise time-take his clothes and nappy off when he seems bored or restless, at bath or changing time, and let him enjoy the feeling of being able to kick around freely.
- Avoid having hot drinks while feeding your baby – now he’s moving about there’s more potential for accidents such as scalding.