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  • Elyon Dumebi Akpenyi

Get a Grip - Weeks 13 -16

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Your baby will have more control over their body by the time they are 13 weeks old.


Baby reaching for a hanging toy
Your baby can reach out to grasp objects of interest at three months old

The first few months of your baby's life are a period of rapid development and change. From the first weeks of life, your baby will start to become more aware of the world around them and begin to develop their senses and motor skills. By weeks 13-16, your baby will start to reach important milestones in their physical, cognitive, and social development.


1. HOW DOES THIS THING WORK?


One of the most significant physical developments that occur during this period is the development of your baby's gross and fine motor skills. Many babies will start to gain more control over their movements, which means they will be able to hold their head up for longer periods when they are on their stomachs or even sit up for short periods with support. They may also start to reach for objects and grasp them with their hands. If your baby loves to grasp things that they come in contact with, you may want to keep your hair out of reach (and your necklaces).


During this time, babies also typically experience a growth spurt, which means they will be eating more frequently and possibly sleeping less. It's important to make sure your baby is getting enough food and rest during this time to support their growth and development.



2. YOU'RE STILL HERE?


By this stage, your baby is also becoming more aware of their surroundings and are starting to make connections between different objects and people. They may start to recognize familiar faces and voices and begin to respond to them with smiles and coos. Some babies may also start to mimic sounds and facial expressions. Your baby may also begin reaching out to touch reflective images of themselves in the mirror.


Another significant cognitive milestone during this period is object permanence. This means that babies are starting to understand that objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight. For example, if you hide a toy behind your back, your baby may start to look for it or even reach for it, knowing that it is still there.


Baby laying on his back with big smile
You may begin to see your baby laugh and smile this month


3. IT'S JUST AN EXPRESSION


Around 13-16 weeks, your baby is starting to develop their social and emotional skills. They may start to show more interest in interacting with people and become more responsive to social cues like smiles and laughter. Some babies may also start to show a preference for familiar people, like parents or caregivers.


At this age, your baby may also begin to express their emotions more clearly. They may start to show signs of happiness, excitement, and even frustration or anger. They may also start showing signs of self regulation in anticipation of being picked up and will calm down when being held. It is important for you to be responsive to your baby's emotional cues and provide comfort and support when needed.





4. GET SOME SLEEP


Sleep is an essential part of a baby's growth and development, and by this age, your baby may be starting to develop a more regular sleep pattern. They may sleep for longer periods at night and take more predictable naps during the day. Your baby should be sleeping for approximately 14 to 17 hours in a 24 hour span, but not in a row much to every parent's chagrin. However, it's important to remember that every baby is different, and some may still be waking frequently during the night or taking shorter naps.


You can help support your baby's sleep by establishing a consistent sleep routine and creating a sleep-friendly environment. This may include a dark and quiet room, a comfortable sleeping surface, and soothing bedtime routines like reading a story or singing a lullaby.



Weeks 13-16 is an eventful and exciting time in your baby's life, a time of rapid development as well as change. Your baby is starting to gain more control over their movements, develop their cognitive skills, and become more socially and emotionally aware. It is extremely important for you to be responsive to your baby's needs during this time and provide them with the support and care they need to thrive. By doing so, you can help set your baby on a path towards healthy growth and development in the months and years ahead.




BONUS: Integrating reflexes and how to spot them


A useful timeline to keep in mind for parents is when newborn reflexes are meant to integrate and disappear. Your newborn comes prebuilt with a few standard reflexes, but these dissipate over time. Here are a few reflexes, (when they might go away), and how to tell.[3] Reflex integration is a good milestone indicator of health. It’s important for parents to look out for any prolonged reflexes.



This reflex should be more voluntary after your baby is 2 months old

  • When the roof of the baby's mouth is touched they will begin to suck. Instead of disappearing altogether, infants slowly control their sucking response. If you see your infant suddenly stop sucking on their thumb or pacifier, this reflex may be integrating.



This reflex should disappear by the time your baby is 2-3 months years old

  • Often called the startle reflex, in response to loud noises or sudden movement newborns will cry and extend their arms and legs. You might see this reflex integrate as babies gain more experience with their body moving through space. It can be tested by simulating free falling for an inch or two.


 

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