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I have a 2 month old baby. My wife and I take care of him collectively. As he is growing, his sleep time is reducing. Sometimes, due to our schedules, we want him to sleep, but the baby is still awake and seems to want us to continue to interact with him.

Will more interaction help the baby?

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You will probably have to adjust your schedules to include time for a new person in your family. Work schedules can be rigid, but almost everything else can be adapted to your new life. Accept that your life is not "about you" for the time being. Parenting also means making sacrifices. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun May 27 '11 at 14:31
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up vote 24 down vote accepted

Yes, the more interaction you and your wife have with your child, the better!

Babies are learning at a phenomenal rate, and the more stimulus they receive, the more they are able to pick up about the world around them. Studies have shown that there is a link between parents reading to young infants and reading habits:

Shared book reading at 4-months was not predictive of later expressive language, but it was related to shared book reading at 8-months, indicating a reading habit can be established and persist until the infant is more ready to benefit educationally from shared book reading.

Increased interactions with your child help teach the infant to recognize you and your wife. These interactions will also lead to your child giving their first true smile sometime over the next few weeks, and trust me: that is not something you want to miss! :)

Touching and massaging your child regularly can have significant benefits.

Even though you aren't going to see huge levels of response from a 2 month old, the more you interact, the better you will become at recognizing your child's body language and other cues as to whether they are happy, content, hungry, uncomfortable, or just plain bored.

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is absolutely right, though it should be noted that interacting with your infant doesn't necessarily mean not doing anything else. When my son was that age, I often coded while breastfeeding, or read him whatever tech book I was reading (they are too young to grok the content, a 2mo just likes you talking to him). I'd put him on the bed by me while I folded laundry and just talk to him. I'd work in the kitchen with one arm, my son in the other, and talk to him about what I was doing, the weather outside, etc. –  HedgeMage May 27 '11 at 15:17
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coded while breastfeeding - I hope your employer gave you medal! That's a feat. But yes, talking about your everyday stuff works well, it makes the baby feel in company, and it keeps your sanity. "Baby talk" is not required :-) –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun May 27 '11 at 18:03
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Yup. Play, talk, sing, read, tickle, hug, and if you don't have time for any of that, carry the baby around in a baby carrier or sling. –  Lennart Regebro May 28 '11 at 17:01
    
@Lennart, yup, +1 for slings. With a sling and the baby facing forwards you can get on with lots of things and they're very happy. –  Benjol May 29 '11 at 20:21
    
Nice answer, I can't get enough of my baby. I am always kissing her and massaging her hands and feet. It's amazing how I can't seem to make time for anything else but man.. I can get lost for hours just loving on my baby :) –  Tony Nov 8 '12 at 14:43
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I voted for the answer by Beofett above because it includes great information. I would simply add that you can give your child attention even while you are getting other things done simply by narrating what you are doing. Speak to him as though you fully believe he understands everything you say (they usually understand far more than they can express back, and even when they don't it is engaging their little brains and helping them learn language along the way). Include questions occasionally and pauses for him to have a turn. When he responds with "goobleck goblah" you can respond with the things like, "wow! really?" if you wish which introduces him to the rythm of conversation as well as language.

As you do things around the house and talk about them (whether it is changing his diaper, or chopping carrots) he is learning the sounds that combine to form words and later the nouns and verbs especially that you use most. Additionally, it will help you give him the time and attention he needs while still getting your daily tasks done.

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Remember that it's not just the baby developing here: you and your wife are also learning about what parenting involves. As much book reading as you do, like anything else it takes practice to develop good habits and knowledge. So the time you spend now talking to your baby, listening and responding to him, touching him, reading to him, etc. helps you develop, too. It builds habits of behavior and patience in you that you'll continue to use for years, honestly.

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It sounds like your little one is wakeful when you think he should be sleeping. It takes a while for a newborn to adjust to the day and night cycles that we take for granted, but over time your child will sleep for longer stretches at night, until he is sleeping through the night.

If you want to help your child to adjust to day/night cycles, you can try:

  • bright light and fresh air in the morning (go for a walk maybe?)
  • lots of interaction and stimulation during awake times during the daytime
  • dark, quiet and calm during waking/feeding/diaper changing times at night

Some babies start sleeping through the night at 3 months, 70% of babies sleep through the night by 9 months, and others can take a year or more. (http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-start-sleeping-through-the-night_1368534.bc)

There is some good info here: http://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-requirements.html

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In general I think you can never spend too much time with your baby or children, as long as you leave them the freedom they want and need.

And although many people seem to think (unfortunately I heard that too often), that "during the first years they [the babies] don't realize much anyway", the development of a baby is very very fast, and the more time you spend with him/her, the more you can see the tiny differences and advances, it constantly makes.
And it is important to talk to them, to play with them, to touch them and to find out what personality has joined your family.

So it's a difficult thing to find the balance. Our son was (when he was a a baby and he still is) very active and very interested in everything. You'll have to find out, how your baby shows you that it wants attention and when it also might take a rest (maybe even without sleeping). And every child might have a different way of telling his parents what it wants.

I know, it can be very very hard, if you don't get enough sleep for some or even many months and the baby does not respect that and demands your attention, if you're exhausted. In such difficult moments you might even tend to get angry, as you also need rest. But you'll have to tell yourself very clearly that the baby just does what it feels and needs and that it does not try to make you mad on purpose.

You can try to "impose" your schedule on the baby's day, but it depends on many circumstances, if that will be successful or not. In many aspects, you'll have to adapt to the daily rhythm of your child.

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A small addition to the other answers: It's tempting to let your child fall asleep in your arms rather than put them down, but it's a really good idea to let them learn how to fall asleep by themselves.

This will really help avoid sleep problems later on.

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