Are you observing your child carefully to make sure that they are growing as they should during the first year? When should they be attempting to roll over, or talk, or walk? Is your baby ahead of schedule or behind? Your acquaintances and relatives will be looking for progress reports on your baby, so be ready.
It is important to remember that every baby is different, and progresses at their own pace. Nevertheless most babies do progress within time frames enough of the time, to give us an indication of when they should be doing what. It is always best to check with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby’s growth. It is always best to look at your child’s development over time, rather than get worried if your child does not do everything a baby ‘should do’ at a given point in time. But here are some general parameters you can go by:
Newborns: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics babies should be reacting to sounds by startling, blinking, crying or being calmed, by one week. They should be able to fix on your face, and start to follow movement with their eyes. This is when you start to help their growth by playing, talking, cuddling, and singing to them.
Month 1: Your baby will begin remaining awake longer and sleeping longer (three-five hours per time). They may be a bit fussier at this phase. They will probably start to lift their heads as well. You can help by holding and cuddling them when they are upset.
Month 2-3: They may thrill you with a smile at this stage, and not one that is the result of gas! Now they can comprehend the world, and how they influence it by their behaviors. This is a cognitive growth related milestone. Your child will start to react to your stimuli, by cooing back to you. Your child will begin to attempt lifting their heads and upper body. Offer your child praise, sing and laugh with them.
Month 4-5: Your baby will attempt to roll from their tummy to their back. They will reach for things and start to coo more. This is when you should establish a bedtime schedule for your baby.
Month 6: By this time most babies are sitting up without help. They are beginning to increase their motor skills by grabbing objects, and placing them in the mouth, or transferring them from hand to hand. They may begin trying to drink out of a cup at this time.
Month 7-9: Things get going now. Your baby may attempt to form words (such as mama or dada), and will become much more verbal now. They will start to crawl and pull themselves up to a standing position. Your child is continuing to improve his fine motor skills. They may also have their ‘first’ tooth about months 8-nine. To promote growth at this point, reading and playing games with baby is recommended. Around this age I started using baby jumpers and baby walkers so my little ones could scout around.
Month 10-12: Your baby may be walking by this stage, but do not worry if this does not occur until about month 15. They will be attempting to feed themselves with their hands, wave good bye, search for items, and begin saying some words other than mama, and dada.
Remember to enjoy your baby during this first year. No two babies are the same; use these tips only as a guideline to assist you. Your child will acquire all of the skills, and develop at their own rate with your help and encouragement. If you are concerned, always consult with your pediatrician.
Susan has been a nurse for over 30 years with expertise in many areas. She has worked with newborns, and in neonatal ICU. She has 3 children, and 15 grandchildren.