Into complex designs
At this point, your baby will begin to move beyond his early preferences for bright or two-toned objects toward more detailed and complicated designs, colors, and shapes. Show your baby — and let him touch — a wider variety of objects. Good choices include plastic cookie cutters, soft balls, and stuffed animals.
Hear ye, hear ye
Your baby can differentiate familiar voices from other sounds and is becoming a better listener. He also can show you that he's in tune with his environment. Notice how he looks to see where certain noises are coming from.
An ongoing conversation (although still one-sided!) can help your baby develop his sense of place. He may even watch your mouth as you talk, fascinated by how it all works.
Note: If you have any doubt about your baby's hearing, don't hesitate to mention your concerns to your healthcare provider. Even though your baby's hearing may have already been tested, new problems can arise.
A helping hand
The chaotic first months are over and your baby's schedule is probably becoming more predictable. If you and your partner are raising your baby, it's important for both of you to get a chance to care for and bond with your baby. Make sure whichever one of you is not the primary caretaker gets regular time alone with your little one, for bathing him, changing him, and just getting tuned into his needs.
If you're a single parent, try to find another adult, such as a grandparent or an aunt, to spend time with your baby. This will give your child an opportunity to bond with other loving adults, and give you a welcome break from the hard work of being a parent to a young child.
Remember, your baby is an individual
All babies are unique and meet milestones at their own pace. Developmental guidelines simply show what your baby has the potential to accomplish — if not right now, then soon. If your baby was premature, keep in mind that kids born early usually need a bit more time to meet their milestones. If you have any questions at all about your baby's development, ask your healthcare provider.
Resource: The Baby Center
Don't let your baby sleep with any soft objects until he's at least 12 months old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pillow-like toys, blankets, quilts, crib bumpers, and other bedding increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and death by suffocation or strangulation.
Although it may seem unlikely, there is a chance that a doll or stuffed toy could cover your baby's face and suffocate him. And unfortunately, such tragedies are on the rise: In 2010, more than 600 infants died because they accidentally suffocated or strangled in bed, and the rate has more than doubled since 2000.
The actual number could be even higher because soft toys and bedding may also play a role in some of the more than 2,000 SIDS-related deaths each year.
The safest option is to keep your baby's crib free of clutter, including stuffed toys and "lovies."
After his first birthday, your baby's risk of dying from SIDS goes down significantly. The likelihood of suffocation also diminishes because most 12-month-olds are able to roll over, sit up, and move objects away from their face.
After 12 months, it's okay for your baby to bring a special toy or blanket to bed for comfort, but it's still safest to keep his crib relatively empty – so don't give your child a pillow until he has transitioned from the crib to a bed.
Resource: The Baby Center