Communication and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old
After the newborn stage, you and your baby will start to enjoy two-way "conversations" — exchanging smiles and sounds. As your baby becomes a more active and alert, a new personality will begin to shine through.
How Do Babies Communicate?
Crying continues to be a baby's main way to communicate, and lets parents know that they need something. They also may still have fussy periods, or cry when overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds of the world.
Your baby will respond to the sound of your voice by turning their head and becoming quiet, smiling, or getting excited and moving their arms and legs. When you smile, your baby might smile back.
Babies are discovering their ability to make sounds: Soon you'll have a cooing and gurgling machine! Your baby will "talk" to you with a variety of sounds. Some babies begin to make some vowel sounds (like "ah-ah" or "ooh-ooh") during this time.
What Should I Do?
- Interact with your baby often. Your baby loves the sound of your voice. So talk, read, sing, and coo away during these first few months. Respond enthusiastically to your baby's sounds and smiles. Tell your baby what they are looking at or doing and what you're doing. Name familiar objects as you touch them or bring them to your baby.
- Have "conversations" with your baby. If you hear your baby make a sound, repeat it and wait for an answer. You're teaching your baby valuable lessons about tone, pacing, and taking turns when talking to someone else. This also sends the message that your baby is important enough to listen to. Don't interrupt or look away when your baby is "talking" — show you're interested and that your little one can trust you.
- Notice when your baby needs quiet time. Sometimes babies aren't in the mood to talk or vocalize. They may need to take a break from all the stimulation. Babies might turn away, close their eyes, or become fussy or irritable. If this happens, let your little one rest or just try cuddling.
Is My Baby Crying Too Much?
Most babies have a fussy period about the same time every day, which usually begins in early evening. Though all newborns cry and can be fussy, when an infant who is otherwise healthy cries for more than 3 hours per day, more than 3 days per week for at least 3 weeks, it is a condition known as colic.
This can be upsetting, but the good news is that most babies outgrow it at around 3 or 4 months of age.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your baby's communication skills or hearing. By the end of this period, most babies:
- react to loud sounds
- make sounds other than crying
- smile when you talk to them
- smile when you smile at them
Keep in mind that there's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some babies gain skills earlier or later than others.