8-Week-Old Baby Milestones & Development
The two-month mark is an exciting time for new parents. After eight weeks of life, babies are beginning to become more alert and responsive to the outside world. Although they’ll still sleep most of the day, a 2-month-old baby will be displaying exciting new levels of alertness when they’re awake that make them much more fun to interact and play with.
While change will be unmistakable, parents can use this useful checklist to keep track of their baby’s development. If you find that your child doesn’t achieve any of these 8 week old baby milestones, bring up your concerns with your pediatrician during their 2-month check-up.
Each of these milestones will be broken down into two primary categories: physical and cognitive. Your baby’s physical development will begin to align with their thought process, which is still being formed but starting to become more deliberate and conscious of others.
Physical 8 Week Old Baby Milestones
On the outside, there are several major 8 week old baby milestones that will begin to make your infant feel more like a proper baby and less like a newborn. Although they’re still extremely young, 2-month-old babies are a bit more comfortable being outside the womb and established enough in their daily routine to become more curious.
At 2-months-old, many babies begin to make the typical coos and gurgles associated with babies. The first few weeks, infants are usually pretty quiet when they aren’t crying, and some may not even do that often! You’ll be delighted to hear your baby start “talking” to you, and their noises may be in response to things you say to them.
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Although you can’t understand them, make sure you acknowledge their noises and talk back. Early noises infants make lay the groundwork for language development later.
One of the most noticeable 8 week old baby milestones is the frequent use of arms and legs together. Previously, your little one probably only squirmed about now and again, but now, they’ll be able to move in a more deliberate manner.
Your baby may start to suck on their fingers or hands now, which naturally soothes them. They won’t be able to play with toys, but their rapidly developing motor skills will enable them to hold onto things for a short period.
You’ll also notice that your newborn’s muscle tone is significantly improving, so they will begin to feel more stable when you hold them. Be careful, though; an 8-week-old baby still cannot hold up their own head entirely unsupported, so be extra cautious as they lift and look around to avoid neck injury.
One of the most common and talked about 8 week old baby milestones is neck and head lifting. Every baby is different, but the majority of 2-month-olds should be able to briefly lift their head when they’re lying on their bellies. They should also be able to turn their head from left to right, and some babies may even lift their head up when they’re lying on their back.
The cute chubby thighs, ticklish tummies and squishy cheeks are abundant in 2-month-olds. Your little one should now look like a proper baby and not just a teeny, tiny newborn. Their facial features will be more unique, and you may even start to notice stronger resemblances between them and your relatives.
Your baby should have gained 2 to 4 pounds since birth and will most likely be phased out of any newborn onesies and other outfits by this stage.
Many 8 week old baby milestones are bittersweet as you notice your child growing and quickly losing their newborn appearance and mannerisms. It’s okay to be a little sad at how fast time is already flying, but don’t forget this is just the beginning of an incredible life together.
Active play is still a while down the road, but a 2-month-old baby will begin to show interest in things you put in front of them and may even grasp a toy you put in their hand. Don’t shy away from daily practice; grasping is an important skill for developing babies that will aid them greatly as they consider to grow and gain mobility.
Eating on a Routine
Eating schedules are often sporadic with a newborn, but a 2-month-old should be following a relatively consistent schedule. However, acid reflux is one of the 8 week old baby milestones parents could live without.
It’s normal for a baby to spit up after they’re finished feeding, but some 2-month-olds will begin to experience acid reflux. Although acid reflux is uncomfortable, it isn’t necessarily a major health concern. As long as your baby continues to eat and is gaining weight, then the best thing you can do is feed your baby smaller increments at a time, burp frequently throughout feedings and avoid any major activity or movement after eating.
The average 8-week-old will drink 3 to 5 ounces every feeding, but every baby is different. You should talk to your pediatrician about how often and long your baby is breastfeeding or how much formula you feed them to ensure they’re not over or underfed.
Cognitive 8 Week Old Baby Milestones
The amount of change your child’s brain will undergo during the first year of life is miraculous to say the least. From birth to 3-months-old, your baby’s brain will go from 33 to 55 percent of the size of an adult brain.
Mental 8 week old baby milestones are unmistakable; from a dormant and passive newborn to a curious and alert 2-month-old, your baby will now start to take notice of your presence and begin to respond to others around them.
Newborns are equipped with a smiling reflex that, although adorable, isn’t deliberate. It won’t be until around two months of age that your little one begins to smile on their own in response to something.
The much-anticipated first smile will make you fall even more in love with your baby, and it will most likely be caused by physical stimulation such as a loving kiss on their cheek or blowing a raspberry on their belly.
A baby’s first smile is a strong sign of brain development. As they begin to smile in response to things they interpret as positive, your baby will begin to make pathways in their brain that help them engage more socially as they get older.
The second month of a baby’s life is filled with adorable moments, including their first laugh. Your baby may emit a high-pitched screech or gurgling giggle during playtime, and you’ll undoubtedly feel your heart melt in response. Keep in mind that a 2-month-old may not laugh for another month or so, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t developing properly.
While a first laugh can come early for some babies, one of the most important 8 week old baby milestones focus on is greater social engagement Your baby should establish and hold eye contact with you.
Responding to Basic Social Cues
An 8-week-old baby can identify a smile and should respond accordingly. They may not smile back every time, but they should respond to your voice and facial expressions. A 2-month-old baby is more conscious of their surroundings, so you’ll most likely find them gurgling and responding positively to being around you and other close loved ones.
A newborn can recognize its mother’s scent almost immediately. A 2-month-old will be able to recognize their mother and father by their face as well as some other close caretakers’ expressions.
You will be able to tell whether or not your baby recognizes a familiar face by whether or not they make eye contact and if they smile. Don’t worry if your baby isn’t always in the mood to socialize with family and friends, but speak to your doctor if your little one still isn’t making eye contact or responding to loved ones’ voices.
A doctor can help you identify which 8 week old baby milestones to look out for and which ones may come in the following months.
How to Help Your 2-Month-Old Develop
It’s important to find new and interesting ways to engage with your baby at different stages of their development. Every month, your infant will need greater levels of attention, communication and interaction to grow up healthy and happy.
Talk Directly to Them
Babies will begin learning the groundwork for basic conversations as you begin to coo back and forth. If they make a sound, make one back and give them pause to respond. You should also engage in active conversations with your baby. All of the words they hear during the earliest months of life will help them acquire language more easily.
Reading is a fun bonding activity that introduces an 8-week-old to different words and vocal sounds. Choose picture books that have lots of big, bright images and plenty of contrast, which will visually stimulate them and hold their attention more.
Have Daily Tummy Time
To help achieve many of the physical 8 week old baby milestones, make sure your baby spends at least 15 minutes a day on their stomach. Tummy time helps growing babies develop muscle tone and improve balance and coordination.
As you embark on your baby’s second month of life, be prepared for lots of changes. Understand that it’s okay if your little one doesn’t display every 8 week old baby milestone right away; babies grow at different rates, and some will achieve more in a short period of time rather than little by little.
Voice any concerns with your pediatrician, and give yourself plenty of time to destress so you can always be fully present and engaged with your baby.