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Baby Care: Your 2 Month Old Baby

Feb 24, 2022 | 3 Minutes Read

The early weeks of parenting can be a very one-sided affair, with lots of input and not much feedback from babies to let their parents know how they’re doing. But now is the time when your baby will be more animated. They might be smiling, starting to coo, and are really connecting with you.

Seeing your baby smile will melt your heart! Even if you’ve never had much to do with babies before, you are likely to have some idea of how to talk to your little one now. They won’t be critical of your attempts. Just remember to establish eye contact with them, speak gently and show some animation on your face. As your baby smiles in response to you, then you, in turn, will respond to them. This is known as reciprocity or the “dance of communication” which happens between a parent and their baby.

Feeding at 2 months old

Your baby may show increasing signs of hunger this month and want to be fed more often. Try to follow their lead when it comes to feeding times and trust their ability to know when they are hungry. If you are breastfeeding, you may feel like you are not making enough milk. Do not worry—your breasts will catch up in a day or two.

It can take up to 6 weeks for your breasts to adjust to making the right amount of milk for your baby’s needs. You can help your supply adjust to your baby’s needs by feeding your baby according to need, rather than to a set schedule. It is common for breastfed babies to feed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours.

Your baby will still need to feed overnight, but some babies may have a longer sleep period, perhaps 5 to 6 hours between a couple of their night feeds. This longer sleep time can be an ideal opportunity for parents to make up for lost sleep in the previous weeks, so take advantage of it.

Sleeping at 2 months old

Watch for more patterns of sleep developing this month, with your baby sleeping anywhere from 1 to 3 hours during most of their day naps. They are likely to be showing signs of being tired 30 minutes to an hour after their feed. This is often the best time to place them into their crib for a nap.

Try to lay your baby down when they are drowsy, but not yet asleep. Avoid allowing them to become overtired as this can make it difficult to settle them for bedtime or a nap. Total sleep over 24 hours varies considerably and any amount between 9 and 18 hours is considered normal at this age.

Behavior at 2 months old

Many babies peak in their crying at 2 months old, causing their parents much frustration, anxiety, and stress. Some babies cry much more than others, even when it seems that all their needs have been met. Often there is no known cause for this, but it could be the maturing of the nervous system, being overstimulated or overtired, having a tummy ache from gas, or just wanting reassurance.

In these early months there will be times when you will need to attend to your baby’s needs and follow your instincts on what they need. If it feels right to just hold and soothe them or take them for a walk, then do it.

Developmental milestones at 2 months old

Your baby’s involuntary grasp reflex will disappear around now, and will be replaced by a deliberate grip. Make sure you have some rattles and small but safe toys which they can entertain themselves with. This is also the time when your baby will discover their hands and feet and will keep themselves amused for some nice periods of time.

At 2 months, your baby is still too young to know that those interesting appendages belong to them. They’ll be just as fascinated each time their hands and feet happen to cross their field of vision.

Baby's brain is hard at work learning to distinguish colors. As a result, your baby will probably begin to show a preference for bright primary colors and more detailed and complicated designs. Encourage this development by showing baby pictures, photos, books, and toys.

Your baby’s vision is developing rapidly at 2 months of age and they will be able to follow you with their eyes. Watch them as they track your face, fix on your eyes, and smile in recognition. Hold a toy in their field of vision and watch their eyes work in unison to focus on it.

If you notice your baby squints or has any other problems with their eyes, see your pediatric health practitioner. Vision development is rapid in the early years and early diagnosis and treatment of problems generally leads to better outcomes.

Growth at 2 months old

Your baby is likely to have a lot of growth in the second month, with an average weight gain of 5 to 7 ounces per week. Don’t worry if they gain a lot of weight in one week and not so much the next. Weight gain is only one indicator of growth. Head circumference and length, contentment, and general behavior are equally important to the numbers and percentiles on the scales. Look at their weight and growth over a period of weeks, instead of each week individually.

Keeping well at 2 months old

Two months is the age when your baby is due for their first immunizations since birth, when most newborns received their first Hepatitis-B vaccine. Vaccines are typically given during their well-baby checks. Make sure to take with you your baby’s vaccination record book so the vaccine dates can be recorded.

Staying safe at 2 months old

Provide your little one with lots of tummy time every day. If you have pets, you’ll need to keep them away from the baby, no matter how interested they may be. Never leave your baby unsupervised on their changing mat, on the floor, or in an unsafe place. They are still small and can be accidentally walked on. Make a point of scanning areas where you place them and look for small objects they could pick up. Toys need to be large, rounded, and soft, with no sharp edges.

Play and interaction at 2 months old

Watch your baby’s response to loud or sudden noises. If they jump and become startled, this is a reassuring sign that their hearing is normal. Babies typically have a hearing screen at birth and if there were concerns, a re-test is recommended. If you are in any doubt about your baby’s hearing, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider to see if a referral to an audiologist might be needed.

What about mom?

Try to invest a couple of hours into your own wellbeing each week and do something for you. You may want to start with some low-impact forms of exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga, or light weight training. All are good forms of activity which are unlikely to cause muscle strain or pain.

If you are breastfeeding, be aware that starting an intensive exercise program could reduce your breastmilk supply. If you want to go for a run, you will need to wear a firm and supportive bra which minimizes your breasts from bouncing. If you have had problems with urinary incontinence, jogging or repetitive jarring exercise will not be suitable at this time.

If you have not had your 6-week postpartum check yet, now is the time. Your vaginal bleeding should have stopped and your uterus and internal organs have returned to their non-pregnant state. Some women skip their postpartum check, saying they don’t have time and don’t see the point. However, it is just as important for mothers to have their check as it is for their babies to have theirs. It is also an ideal time to discuss contraceptive options with your doctor or midwife if you haven’t already.

Your emotions
Some mothers feel as if they are on auto-pilot at this stage, especially if they have older children. It is common to feel very tired and drained, even after having had some good sleep.

Although the number of stay-at-home dads is growing, in most cases it is the mothers who are the primary caregivers in the first year of their babies’ lives. If you have been used to a busy work life, then adapting to full time parenting will mean having to make a significant mental shift.

Try not to isolate yourself from your old networks and friends. It is important to still have mental stimulation and not feel lonely. Something as little as 10 minutes of mindful reflection or a brief but meaningful conversation with someone you love is recommended.

If you work outside the home, you might be back by now or planning to return soon. This can add another dimension to an already busy life. The key to successfully combining work and parenting is organization and trying not to be all things to all people. The cost of this is inevitable exhaustion and possibly some resentment. Give yourself permission to be assertive when negotiating your work hours and schedule, breastfeeding breaks, and time off when your baby is sick and will need you home.

Self-care
If you notice your hair is falling out, don’t despair. During pregnancy hair sheds less than normal on a daily basis. Then, after birth, hormone levels change and return to their pre-pregnancy levels. This means that for many mothers, they will shed more hair than usual for a time. Try not to worry, as it will more than likely settle down in the next few months and your hair will return to its pre-pregnancy feel and volume.

Look after your teeth and gums and don’t neglect your oral hygiene and check-ups. Even if you can’t find the time to do lots of other things, giving some attention to your teeth is important.

Your sleep needs
You may find yourself going to bed extra early these days. Night feeds are still a reality. If possible, aim to sleep during one of your baby’s longer sleep periods. Even if this means letting your own head hit the pillow at 8PM, so be it. Having a few hours of deep, restorative sleep each night can mean the difference between getting through each day and not being able to manage at all well. Some good sleep will help you physically as well as mentally.

Your relationships
Your relationship with your partner is likely to have been on hold for the last couple of months. Recovery from childbirth, physical exhaustion and being solely focused on baby leaves most mothers with little reserves to invest into much else. But if you are both ready to resume your sexual activity, then go for it!

Be aware that just because you have had a baby, and even if your period has not returned, you could ovulate and get pregnant. Speak to your obstetrician or midwife about contraceptive options before resuming sexual activity.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.