Pacifiers, bottles, her thumb, your thumb – is there anything Baby won’t coat in saliva as she explores it? While it’s an interesting question, you probably don’t want to be handing Baby too many objects to use to find out.
Exploring the world using her mouth may seem like kind of doggy behavior for a human baby. It’s completely expected, though, and when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. It gives her the chance to find out both the texture and the taste of a new object, all in one motion. And when you’re a new person learning about the world, you’ll take your opportunities to multitask where you can get them.
The interest in putting things in Baby’s mouth often comes at around the time when her mouth starts to produce a bit more saliva, as a way of gearing up for when she is ready for solid foods in a few weeks. The gnawing on things and the extra drool can make parents think they’ve reached the beginning of teething. While it’s possible, teething is still probably a few months away, as it usually starts around six months or so.
Added drool isn’t the only way Baby is growing, either. At this point, she is growing somewhere between a half an inch and a whole inch every month. She is also building up her neck muscles more and more every day – she may have been able to lift her head on her own for a few weeks now, and from there, her strength and control have only improved since then. In only a few weeks, Baby will probably be holding up her head on her own when placed in a sitting position, and from there, it’s just a hop, skip, jump, and great increase in trunk strength before she is sitting up on her own.
This head and neck strength are crucial building blocks for much of Baby’s development going forward. Many of the major milestones coming up are totally dependent on Baby being able to support herself, so it’s very important to continue to make sure she is getting proper nutrition, and plenty of tummy time to build those strong muscles.
- Responds to rattle or bell: Beyond just big, scary noises, Baby is now picking up all sorts of audible stimuli. If you shake a rattle, or ring a light bell somewhere near Baby, it’s possible that she might pick up on the sound, and try to turn in that direction.
- Lifts head up 45 degrees: Baby is part of the way to a push-up! Around the end of the third month, babies are often able to raise their heads at a 45-degree angle from a position on her stomach.