The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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The Social Ladder: Your baby laughs, squeals with joy and looks at you when you say her name. She has not yet developed stranger anxiety, so she is very social. She also understands cause and effect; for example, she knows that if she pushes a button on a toy, it will make a noise, light up or spin.
The Gift of Gab: At 4 months, she begins to make trilling, growling and lip-smacking sounds. By 6 or 7 months, she can say consonants, such as t or d, or a consonant-vowel combo like “ta” or “da.” By 7 months, she can imitate sounds, like clucking her tongue or saying “uh-oh” or “shh.”
Physical Feats: At 4 months, she can roll over from her stomach to her back (rolling in the other direction happens in the next month or two). She can hold her head up when sitting if propped by pillows. At 5 to 6 months, she can bear weight on her legs when held upright and can make purposeful hand movements, such as trying to grasp an object. By 6 months, she can sit up unassisted. She also can put her hands together, grasp an object by raking her fingers across it and move objects from hand to hand.
Age-Appropriate Activities: Put her on her stomach for at least a half-hour a day to build upper-body strength, Amzel suggests. Try propping her up in a sitting position and let her stand on your lap. Provide toys and rattles for her to grasp and shake. Talk to her constantly and imitate her sounds. As you do, Roth says, keep eye contact, and when referring to an object, direct your gaze and hers to it. Begin playing simple sound-gesture games, such as “Where Is Thumbkin?” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
Causes for Concern: At 4 months, her head lags behind her body when you pull her up from a lying to a sitting position. At 7 months, she doesn’t do any of the following: smile or laugh; roll over or bear weight on her legs; try to produce consonant and vowel sequences; or recognize familiar sounds, such as a ringing telephone or doorbell.