safe motherhood

How your baby develops

During the first 12 weeks of a baby's life you and your newborn are still very interdependent. But three months into your pregnancy, the fog begins to clear and a whole new chapter begins to open up in you and your baby's relationship. Gradually, the simple routines you have developed will give more predictability to events and help to separate out your needs from your baby's.

You will also begin to work together and co-ordinate your actions. For example, if you always feed your baby in the same comfy chair and follow the same 'getting-ready' routine, your baby will begin to recognise what's happening and prepare itself for the feed. He or she will be able to tolerate waiting while you get ready and you, in turn, will feel more comfortable about letting your baby wait. This is why doing things the same way, in the same place, in a calm manner, helps a new baby learn what to expect and gives them confidence in the arrangement.

Developing co-ordination on all levels is now very much the name of the game. Over the next few months your baby will learn to fit different activities together. Seeing and touching will begin to dovetail as hand-eye co-ordination grows. The baby's hands, which by now will have become uncurled from the tight fists at birth, will soon become familiar toys.

They will start to enjoy games like 'pat-a-cake' where you teach your baby how to clap their hands together, or 'round and round the garden' where you 'draw' circles on their palm with your index finger. Most babies will happily play alone with their hands. "Graham [4 months] spends half his waking time chewing his fingers as though fascinated by these clever 'toys'. He loves to play with them and watch what they do!"

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