Category Archives: Your Infant

Articles related to helping you raise your infant.


2month oldBabies are born with their own temperament and unique personalities. Every baby develops at his own pace. No one book on infant development will describe your child. I know it is difficult, but try not to compare your child with others! Your family practitioner or pediatrician will be following your infant’s development with you at each visit.

Two-month-olds are learning to smile. It is truly a wonderful moment when your baby responds to you after all your hard work. As your baby is rewarded with smiles in return, smiling will occur more often.

A daily change of environment is also good for everyone. Take your baby out to explore the world.

Your baby will love mobiles and cradle gyms. Most babies love brightly colored objects, high-contrast black and white designs with primary colors, big round shapes (especially faces) and mirrors.

Your baby’s hand becomes a new “toy” by about three months of age. Hands are loosening up and are less often held in a closed fist. Babies may stare at their hands for hours. Your baby can hold a rattle placed in the hand, but cannot yet reach for it.

You will notice increasing vocalization, with your baby making echoing sounds. Take time to cuddle and talk to your baby. By three months of age, your baby will turn in the direction of a sound. Babies love music and singing, as well as just “chatting.”

By this age, babies have increasing neck strength, but remain wobbly until four months of age. It is not dangerous to practice standing if you have a baby who wants to be in that position. However, most babies will not be able to support their own weight on their legs at this point.

Because babies are now placed on their backs to sleep, some babies have developed a flattening of the backs of their heads. To help avoid this, it is recommended to place the baby on his or her tummy for short periods, or to keep the baby held upright in order to counter the time spent on the back of their heads.

Feeding Solid Food

infant_feedThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends beginning solid food between the ages of four and six months. Nutritionally, your baby does not need to eat solid foods until six months when his iron stores become depleted.

Eating from a spoon is a new experience. It may take some time before your baby learns to swallow solid food.

How do I know if my baby is ready?
Eating solid food from a spoon is a new developmental task for your baby. Some babies are ready early and others are not. There is no reason to rush. Signs of readiness include good head control, interest in your food, and a shorter time between feedings. If your baby is pushing the food out with his tongue, crying, or closing his lips, it is too early. Wait a few weeks and try again. When your child is developmentally ready, eating is an enjoyable experience for parent and child.

What should I start with?

Most pediatricians recommend starting with a simple single grain cereal like rice . The cereal should be iron fortified to help increase the baby’s iron supplies to help prevent anemia.

How should I mix the cereal?

To start, mix a tablespoon of cereal with one to two ounces of breastmilk or formula. Make the mixture more liquid in the beginning and then increasingly thicken the mixture. Most four to six month old babies will not eat more than two tablespoons of cereal (before mixing) at one feeding. After your baby is eating cereal well, try adding a little fruit to mix up the taste.

What if my baby has a reaction to a new food?

Remember to introduce only one new food at a time. Allow three to four days between new foods to make certain your baby does not have a sensitivity or an allergic reaction. Signs of sensitivity to food include vomiting, diarrhea and gas. True allergy involves the immune system. Signs of allergy in infants include skin rashes, wheezing, vomiting and diarrhea. If this occurs, you should notify your family practitioner or pediatrician right away. If your baby tolerates the new food, it can be combined with other foods that have already been introduced. For example, if you already have given rice cereal, you may add applesauce at the same meal.


Common Questions Regarding Starting Solid Food
How do I know if my baby is ready?
What should I start with?
How should I mix the cereal?
How much should the baby
What time of day should the meal be?
When should I start a second meal?
In what order should solid food be introduced?

All Babies Are Not Created Equal

2mooldwithmomI have always felt that the first two months of a baby’s life are like an extension of the nine months in the womb. They need total care and sustenance from you, and they spend most of their time sleeping .

Occasionally their eyes meet yours and a dreamy connection is made. But it is not until about two months of age that not only do their eyes open widely at the sight of your face, but they give you back something wonderful- a smile.

What an honor! A baby’s smile is the first social gesture that they make in this world. And you are the first to receive it. This is the beginning of your relationship with your baby and it signals the end of the newborn period and the beginning of infancy.

Every month your baby will grow at a rate faster than at any other time in their life besides adolescence. They will develop large muscle skills, fine motor skills, the beginnings of language, and an increasing ability to socialize with the world. When your baby first smiles it means that he or she understands that connecting with others is what life is all about.

Discovering the uniqueness of your baby is one of the joys of becoming a parent. You will soon learn that your baby is a unique combination of innate traits, genetic material, environmental influences, and something called temperament. All of these combine to form your baby’s personality — who they are and how they interact with the world and with those who share our world.

Throw away the idea that all babies are created equal. Since every baby is different from the start, what works for one baby-parent may not work for another. If you are having difficulty, it’s easy to think, “I’m a terrible parent” as you see other mothers “easily” handling their infants. But try not to get too discouraged, and don’t take it as a reflection of your skills as a parent. It is true that some babies are innately more of a challenge than others, and it may be that you have been blessed with just that – a challenge! Remember – the “easy” parent’s next baby might not be so compliant. Then they too will understand the trials, and joys, of raising a more challenging child.

You will, however, receive so much advice from so many sources that you may begin to feel unsure of yourself. Remember that because of the special bond that begins with that first smile, no one else will be able to understand your baby better than you do. Trust your instincts and keep it simple. Babies need only to be fed, kept reasonably clean, played with by you, and loved a great deal. Enjoy your baby.


by Winnie Yu Sherer
Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento (as medical advisor)

All new parents expect their babies to cry, some perhaps more than others. But when unrelenting wails of a newborn become a nightly occurrence, your baby may be suffering from colic.

Colic is a frustrating and distressing condition that describes a pattern of excessive crying for no apparent reason. The condition is quite common and affects up to 10 percent of all babies. Colic typically starts a few weeks after birth, peaks at about six weeks of age, then gradually improves somewhere between the third and fifth month.

Dealing with colic can be extremely difficult, especially for first-time parents who can’t calm their baby’s screams and are at a loss as to what to do. To make matter worse, most new parents are already exhausted and sleep deprived. The combination makes for a frustrating experience. The mom’s diet (if she’s nursing) and the way you feed a child might make a difference, but is no guarantee of relief from the nightly cries.

What it Looks Like

Many babies go through fussy spells in the late afternoon and early evening, which is why pediatricians are often reluctant to label these bouts of crying colic.

True colic starts between the second and fourth weeks after birth. Colicky babies may cry around the clock, but worsen in the early evening. The crying is inconsolable and often accompanied by the baby extending or pulling up his legs. During the crying jab, the baby may pass gas and their stomachs may be enlarged or distended by gas. Fortunately, the crying does dissipate eventually.

What to Eat

Consider giving your baby a teaspoon or two of chamomile tea, a remedy that may help calm you baby’s cries. If you do, make sure the tea you buy contains the purest form of chamomile possible. Moms who are nursing might also want to consider drinking chamomile tea, which can soothe their jangled nerves as well.

If your baby is using formula, consider switching to a different formula. A study in the journal Pediatrics found that babies who ate a hypoallergenic infant formula made with whey hydrolysate, a type of protein, decreased the amount of daily crying in colicky infants by 63 minutes.

What Not to Eat

If you’re nursing, consider cutting out foods that might promote gas, such as beans, broccoli, and cabbage. Consider also eliminating spicy foods, caffeine, and high-fiber foods, all which can irritate your baby.

Nursing moms might also want to consider giving up cow’s milk. One older study looked 66 moms of breastfed infants who were put on a diet free of cow’s milk. The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, found that the colic disappeared in 35 infants, but reappeared in 23 of the infants when cow’s milk was reintroduced.

Other food allergens may be involved, too. A separate study in the same journal looked at the effects of a maternal diet low in food allergens. Moms in that study eliminated highly allergenic foods such as cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and fish. Babies whose moms ate the low-allergen diet experienced a reduction in the duration of their crying spells.

Supplements for Colic

There are no supplements recommended for the colicky infant or a nursing mom.

Stay-Healthy Strategies

  • Feed your baby whenever she’s hungry. Babies are generally less fussy on a full tummy.
  • Make sure to take care of yourself. Colic can be exasperating. Enlist help from family and friends who can provide you with a brief reprieve.
  • Soothe her in other ways. Try swaddling her tightly in a blanket. Sing to her. Walk her around the room to soft music. Consider massaging your baby.
  • Make some noise – white noise. The hum of a dryer or a vacuum cleaner can help settle some colicky infants. But be careful where you put the baby if you use a dryer. Never place the baby on top of a dryer, only beside it.

What Can A Newborn Do?

newborn babyAlthough a newborn baby does not appear very active, there is actually a great deal of brain activity going on. And many new parents wonder just what is going on inside that adorable little sleepy head. It might surprise you how much is happening as your baby’s brain takes in the world with all it’s sights and sounds.

Infants at this age can focus clearly on an object eight to ten inches from their eyes. This is exactly the distance between the baby and the mother’s (or father’s) face during feeding. You may notice your baby trying to make eye contact with you during this time. This is because babies react to the human face (or even a drawing of a face) during this time period more than any other shape. They are most drawn to the eyes. Smiling and making faces at your new arrival is the best stimulation you can do – and it’s fun too!

At this age, babies are good imitators and they will try to mimic your facial movements (open mouth, stick out tongue). In addition to the human face, babies also enjoy sharply contrasting colors, large squares, bright lights and round shapes. Moving objects are more attractive than still ones.

There are also reflexes that every new baby will have during the first weeks of life. One that you may have noticed is the startle reflex. This occurs whenever the baby hears a loud noise or moves suddenly downward. Both arms will move out and then in, and the baby may grimace or cry. This is a normal reaction. Another reflex is to grasp his tiny hand around your finger. It’s a great way to connect with your baby. If you place your finger on the bottom of his foot, the toes will try to do the same.

Babies usually smile by two months of age. This can occur earlier and I will never argue with the grandmother who claims the baby smiled at one week of age. But most babies are at least six weeks old before they can smile in response to something (such as another smiling face.)

Touching, cuddling and holding are all important stimuli to your baby. They are a form of communication, which will often calm a fussy baby. When a baby is crying and upset, he will have some capacity to quiet himself by hand-to-mouth activities. This may range from brief swipes of the hand to the mouth to actual thumb sucking.

You should be able to use some of this information as well as your own observations to console your baby and to interact with him in a positive, stimulating way. Be careful not to over stimulate! If you see your baby start to look away, it might be time to decrease the stimulation and allow the baby to rest. Remember to relax and enjoy your baby!

Baby Blues & Postpartum Depression

baby_bluesAlthough the birth of a child is supposed to be a happy time, for some women it may be just the opposite as they are suddenly overcome by feelings of depression or anxiety.

Baby Blues

The most common form of postpartum depression is the well known “baby blues.” This occurs in the first weeks following the birth of the baby and lasts only a few days. The mother finds herself feeling sad, irritable or confused and has crying spells, difficulty sleeping or loss of appetite. Symptoms are most intense within the first week after childbirth. This occurs in 10 -16% of new mothers and resolves without treatment. The cause is suspected to be hormonal (similar to premenstrual syndrome.)

What can I do if this is happening to me?
If the symptoms last only for a few days, you need only to let it pass. If you feel like crying – cry. It helps if your spouse or family members recognize that this is a normal phase. Insensitive comments such as “Just snap out of it” or “How can you be sad with such a beautiful baby?” do not help the situation. If the symptoms last longer than two weeks, please notify your obstetrician. Prolonged baby blues may need to be treated with medication.

Postpartum Depression

This form of post-childbirth depression is less common than the “baby blues” but can affect 10 – 20% of new mothers in some form during the first year. The severity of the depression varies from mild to severe. The symptoms of postpartum depression usually begin one to four months after delivery and may last up to one year if left untreated.

Let’s take a closer look:

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
The symptoms of postpartum depression include the well-known signs of general depression. These include: overwhelming sadness, crying spells, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and an inability to feel happy with the new baby or with other aspects of life. Other symptoms can be the symptoms of anxiety. These symptoms are more subtle but may include a sense of overwhelming uneasiness or panic attacks. When this happens, the person usually describes a feeling of impending doom, often accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, and/or rapid heart rate.

What causes postpartum depression?
The cause of postpartum depression is not well known. It is most likely related to a combination of hormonal and psychological factors. The stress of caring for a new baby only adds to the problem, as does sleep deprivation.

What can I do if this is happening to me?
Many women do not seek help because they are ashamed that they are not experiencing the “joys of motherhood.” These women hide their symptoms, but continue to feel miserable inside. This disorder is treatable, and it is important to treat. Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics have shown that newborns (and infants) are affected by a mother’s chronically depressed mood. If you experience any of the symptoms listed or you just don’t feel “right,” let your physician know. Tell your obstetrician, family practitioner or pediatrician.

Where can I find more information on postpartum depression?
(800) 944-4PPD
Postpartum Support International
(805) 967-7636