Your Baby Week Twelve

Week Twelve: Developmental Milestones for Your Baby

Caucasian baby girl playing with blocks on bed
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Watching your baby's growth and development can be fun and exciting.

Unfortunately, in your baby's first few months, besides smiling and laughing, there haven't been that many developmental milestones to get very excited about.

A lot begins to happen around twelve weeks, though. In addition to her second-month milestones, your baby may begin to:

  • hold her head up at a 90-degree angle
  • sit with support and hold her head steady
  • bear weight on her legs
  • roll over
  • lift her chest up when she is on her tummy and support herself on her arms
  • turn to a rattling sounds and imitate speech sounds
  • hold her hands together and grasp a rattle
  • follow objects through a 180-degree angle

To help your baby meet these milestones, it can be a good idea to use tummy time each day and talk to your pediatrician if you feel that your baby has a developmental delay.

Drugs and Breastfeeding

Mother breast-feeding baby girl
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More mothers are breastfeeding today than ever before, but unfortunately, breastfeeding rates are still below the goals that experts have set for them to be.

The CDC's Healthy People 2010, which is a set of national health goals, includes targets for breastfeeding. They are that 50% of moms will be breastfeeding at 6 months and at least 25% will still be breastfeeding at 12 months.

While there are a lot of reasons moms stop nursing before they meet these goals, including having problems getting their baby to latch on, thinking they aren't making enough milk, or going back to work, being prescribed a new medicine shouldn't usually be one of them. With a little research, you and your doctor can usually find medicines that are compatible with breastfeeding.

Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that "most drugs likely to be prescribed to the nursing mother should have no effect on milk supply or on infant well-being." The AAP even publishes a long list of medicines that are usually compatible with breastfeeding and a much shorter list of medicines to avoid.

Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed)

The AAP recommendations, and just about everything else that is known about drugs and breastfeeding, is included in the Drugs and Lactation Database. In addition to an easy to reason summary about common medicines and breastfeeding, LactMed provides information on the drugs effects on the baby, possible effects on breastmilk production, the AAP category, and alternate medicines to consider.


AAP. Policy Statement. The Transfer of Drugs and Other Chemicals Into Human Milk. PEDIATRICS Vol. 108 No. 3 September 2001, pp. 776-789.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy People 2010. Maternal, Infant, and Child Health. Breastfeeding, Newborn Screening, and Service Systems.

Babies with Crossed Eyes

Cross eyed baby
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If your older child's eye drifts outward (exotropia) or inward (esotropia), then it usually means that he has strabismus, or eyes that are not aligned properly. This often requires treatment with eye patching, glasses, and sometimes surgery.

Fortunately, it is usually normal for your babies eyes to sometimes turn outwards. In fact, in their first few months, babies don't focus well, which can cause their eyes to sometimes cross.

By three or four months, though, your baby's eyes should be able to focus on objects by looking straight at them with both eyes. If your baby's eyes still look like they are crossing once he is three months old, then he should be evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist to see if he has strabismus.

Even before three or four months, if your baby's eyes always seem to be crossing, then it is a good idea to have his eyes checked.

Why is eye crossing a problem?

If you baby's eyes aren't aligned, then he may not be seeing well out of one of them. That can lead to amblyopia, which is decreased vision in one of your child's eyes.

Strabismus and your Pediatrician

In addition to being evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist, you should discuss any concerns about strabismus with your pediatrician. There are a few simple tests, including the cover test and corneal light reflex test, that may detect strabismus, that your pediatrician can try. In the cover test, your pediatrician covers one eye to see if the other one moves, which is a sign of strabismus. A pen light is used in the corneal light reflex test to see if the light reflex is in the same position on both eyes when the light is shown on them. If not, then that can be a sign of strabismus.

Baby Talk

Mother and baby smiling at each other on sofa
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Your three-month-old baby won't be talking much yet. Sure, you will get some squeals, laughs, and other noises, but no real syllables yet. Baby talk at this age has more to do with how you talk to your baby and not so much with how your baby talks to you.

Talking to Your Baby

Do you really need to learn how to talk to your baby?

Some parents do, especially if they don't really talk to their baby. Your baby may have no idea what you are saying right now, but that doesn't mean that she won't benefit from hearing you talk. Remember that the AAP recommends that parents talk, sing, and read to their babies, instead of letting them watch TV.

If you aren't sure what to say, you can start by narrating what you are doing at any given moment, like when you are changing your baby's diaper, getting her dressed, or giving her a bath.

You can also read books, sing songs, or make baby noises to "talk" to your baby.

It may also help you and your baby learn baby talk if you:

  • imitate some of the sounds and noises your baby makes
  • talk about the things that your baby is looking at or seems interested in
  • get excited when your baby makes sounds and she tries to talk or responds to what you say


American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement. Children, Adolescents, and Television. Pediatrics 2001 107: 423-426.

Moving to the Nursery

Smiling infant girl lying in crib with toys
Getty Images/Thomas Barwick

Since they are expected to wake up several times a night, newborns and younger infants usually sleep in the same room as their mother. Being close to mom and dad often helps to make night time feedings easier, so everyone can get back to sleep faster.

This advice was reinforced in the American Academy of Pediatrics, when they said that babies should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or cradle that is separate, but close, to their mother's bed. That is because "the risk of SIDS has been shown to be reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother."

But does that mean that your baby should sleep in the same room with you her whole first year?

Probably not, especially when you consider that your baby's highest risk for SIDS is before she is three to four months old. So by five to six months, if your baby is sleeping through the night, you can likely move her to her nursery (if you have a separate room for her to sleep in).

Even the AAP, in the book Your Baby's First Year, states that if your baby "is still sleeping in your room by six months, it's time to move her out." This is in reference to a baby who isn't sleeping well in her mother's room, though, with the idea that the baby may be waking up frequently because she hears or senses her parents in the room. Keep in mind that if your baby is sleeping well in your room, you don't have to move her out if you don't want to.


American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement. The Changing Concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. PEDIATRICS Vol. 116 No. 5 November 2005, pp. 1245-1255.

Whooping Cough Alert for Babies

Young father consoling crying baby
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Many parents think that pertussis, or whooping cough, is a disease of the past, like many other vaccine-preventable infections.

Unfortunately, unlike endemic polio and measles, which have been eradicated in the United States, kids can still get whooping cough.

Whooping Cough Risks

Why are infants still at risk for getting whooping cough?

One big reason is that even though they receive the diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP), it isn't until they get the 3rd dose when they are six months old that they are protected against whooping cough as infants. Older kids get their protection from their booster doses at 15 to 18 months, 4 to 6 years, and again at 11 to 12 years (Tdap vaccine).

Many older children and adults are not immune to pertussis though, since the Tdap vaccine is fairly new, and immunity to pertussis wears off. That means that some teens and adults could have pertussis, especially if they have a lingering cough for weeks or months. In fact, cases of pertussis have been on the rise in recent years, and your baby could get whooping cough if he was around someone with this infection.

When parents think of whooping cough symptoms, they often think of a child who is having coughing spells that are followed by a 'whooping' sound. Although that is the characteristic or classic sound that kids with whooping cough make, remember that not all kids will make those sounds. Instead, some kids just have coughing spells, others cough until they vomit (post-tussive emesis), and some just have a chronic cough. And most kids with whooping cough start out with simple cold symptoms.

Whooping cough can be more serious for newborns and young infants, who may have apnea, or periods where they stop breathing.

Seek medical attention if you think that your child may have whooping cough.

Whooping Cough Alert

Since newborns and younger infants are at such risk from whooping cough and aren't fully protected with their vaccines yet, it is important to help them avoid whooping cough.

One good way is to make sure that all adults who will have contact with infants less than 12 months old, including parents, grandparents (even if they are over 65 years old), child-care providers, and health care workers, get a Tdap vaccine if they have not had one yet, even if it has been less than 10 years since their last tetanus booster.

Treating Diarrhea

baby having his nappy changed
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While diarrhea is often caused by common viral infections in older children, like rotavirus, newborns and younger children can also often have diarrhea from formula intolerances or allergies. Even breastfed babies can have diarrhea from food intolerances, usually to something that their mother is eating or drinking that is passing into her milk.

Treatments for Diarrhea

Since diarrhea is such a common symptom, it is a good idea to understand the recommended treatments for infants with diarrhea, so that you are prepared if your baby gets sick. If your baby only has mild diarrhea and/or just occasional vomiting, these treatments will usually include:

  • continuing to nurse or formula feed your infant
  • offering baby a few ounces of extra Pedialyte or other electrolyte solutions whenever he has diarrhea, in addition to his regular diet of breastmilk or formula
  • avoiding giving your baby drinks with a lot of added sugars, like juice
  • getting your baby back to an age-appropriate, unrestricted diet (breastmilk, formula, baby food, etc.) as soon as possible

Although Pedialyte and other electrolyte solutions are usually recommended when children have diarrhea, it is important to realize that they don't actually make the diarrhea go away. Instead, they are given so that your child doesn't become dehydrated.

If you are only able to feed your child Pedialyte for more than about 12 hours or if you baby has symptoms of dehydration, then you should talk to your pediatrician.

Dietary Changes for Diarrhea

If you think that your baby's diarrhea is from a dietary issue and not an infection, especially if he isn't in daycare and no one else is sick, then talk to your pediatrician about what to do next. This might include restricting milk and dairy products in a breastfeeding mother's diet or changing a formula-fed baby's formula.

Health Alert for Baby TV

Black mother and son playing on sofa
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The AAP is clear in their recommendation that parents should "discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years."

That makes it surprising that there are so many videos and an actual TV channel for babies. BabyFirstTV, available on the DirecTV and DISH networks, is marketed as the "the nation's first channel for babies."

What's the problem with watching TV?

The AAP states that "although there are potential benefits from viewing some television shows, such as the promotion of positive aspects of social behavior (such as sharing, manners, and cooperation), many negative health effects also can result," including increases in:

  • violent and aggressive behavior
  • poor school performance
  • poor diet choices and childhood obesity

Studies have also specifically shown a delay in language development for children under age 2 who watch TV and baby videos.

No TV - Really?

Many parents think that a ban on TV watching for younger children is a little excessive. They don't see any harm in occasionally letting their baby watch an educational show or two, especially while they try to get something done, like take a shower or prepare dinner.

An occasional nonviolent, educational show is not usually the problem. It is more those who use TV as a babysitter or who let their kids watch age-inappropriate shows.

Keep in mind that your baby will grow up just fine if she doesn't watch any TV though and as the AAP recommends, you provide "more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together."


American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement. Children, Adolescents, and Television. Pediatrics 2001 107: 423-426.

First do no harm: why have parents and pediatricians missed the boat on children and media? Strasburger VC - J Pediatr - 01-OCT-2007; 151(4): 334-6.

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