As your baby grows and develops, she will be spending more time awake than before. Babies now start to take notice of more things around them. Your baby will be busy looking, listening, and learning. During this time, your baby begins to develop trust and an emotional attachment to you. Making sure your baby feels safe and cared for is an important part of helping her to grow strong and healthy.
What's it Like to Be a Two-Month-Old?
- I smile, gurgle, and coo when I'm happy.
- I might stay awake as long as ten hours a day.
- I can recognize different people and voices.
- My head still wobbles a little when I'm propped up.
Feeding Your Two-Month-Old
By now, you and your baby are quite experienced in sharing feeding times, whether you are breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or combining the two. You are probably noticing smiles and signals from your baby, too, and those signals can help you become very good at the give-and-take process of infant feeding.
Your baby knows how much he needs to eat, and this amount will vary from day to day. At the age of two months, babies cannot push food (the bottle) away, so you must recognize the signals he gives when he is full. A baby who has had enough will lose interest in feeding--maybe slowly, or perhaps suddenly--and release the nipple. At this point, it is important to follow your baby's lead. The best feeding approach is one controlled by the baby rather than by you.
Not only does your baby know how much to eat, she also knows how often she needs to eat. Many parents attempt to get their baby on a schedule or establish a routine. Just remember, your baby knows hunger or fullness, but not how to tell time!
So it is your task to follow the baby's lead and feed on demand, not by the clock. A hungry baby whose "requests" for food are met quickly will feel assured and comforted, and you will have laid the foundation for good eating habits in the future!
Right now, your baby needs no nutrition other than breast milk or iron-fortified formula. This is ideal, since the two-month-old baby can only root and suck--she isn't able to chew, or even swallow thicker liquids or thin solid foods yet. Sometimes, well-meaning family or friends recommend offering a baby solid foods (usually cereal) to help her sleep through the night.
While it is probably true your baby wakes up because she is hungry, it is also true that she is not developed enough to need or tolerate solid foods yet. She will probably develop the ability to move solids to the back of her tongue, and swallow them, at around four to five months. Being patient about introducing solid food will benefit your baby's health now and in the future.
How Do You Know How Much to Feed?
- Babies will give signals.
- Follow your baby's lead.
- Feed at your baby's request.
All children grow, learn, and develop at different rates. The information in this brochure is considered typical for children of this age. If you do all you can to help children grow and develop now, they will have the best chance to do well in school and in life.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012. Nutrition for Infants and Toddlers. Getting Started on Eating Right.
- Aronson, Susan. 2012. Healthy Young Children: A Manual for Programs. National Association for the Education of Young Children.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2002. Healthy Start, Grow Smart.
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, Family and Consumer Sciences. 2009. Parent Express: A Guide for You and Your Baby.
Originally prepared by Katherine Cason, associate professor of food science.
Updated in 2014 by Jill Cox, MS, RD, program development specialist, Penn State Better Kid Care and Mary Alice Gettings, MS, RD, nutrition consultant with funding from the Penn State Extension Better Kid Care program.