Q: I'm home with my 3-month-old all day every day. I try to stimulate her with toys and books, but she’s not that interested in them. Is something wrong?
A: This is not unusual at all. During the first 3 months, babies are using most of their energy to adapt to the outside world. There may be periods when she enjoys looking at her toys (show her bright ones she can easily see) or listening to your voice as you read stories. But some babies are still more interested in sleeping and eating than playing.
What’s most important in these early months is to follow your baby’s cues. Comfort her when she is distressed; interact with her when she is alert and ready for play. By the fourth month you will see her become more interested in exploring and learning about the world around her.
Right around 12-14 weeks, you might see your baby grasping small toys like rattles with her hands, looking carefully at colorful objects and illustrations in books, and mouthing and chewing on her teethers or other toys. This may only last a few minutes. Then you’ll notice that she might look away, drop the toys, close her eyes, or even start to cry. This is her way of saying, Okay, I need some rest time now. Put the toys away and give her the break she needs, either by cuddling or swaddling her, or by putting her down in the crib for a few minutes. She will show you when she’s ready to play again by looking eager and alert. If you don’t see your daughter becoming more alert and interested in interacting with you over the next month, talk with your pediatrician or other trusted professional about your concerns.