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A Guide to Baby’s Growth and Development
There is no doubt that when a baby enters your life you are never the same. Everything changes! The anticipation of baby’s arrival is finally over and you hold your little bundle of joy in your arms. It can be a little intimidating as you realize you are holding this little human and he is totally dependent on you.
So with this, I would like to give you some information about baby development stages for the first year to help eliminate some questions you may have. Let’s take a look at these stages and what you can expect for the first year.
Birth to 3 months
From birth to 3 months, the baby cries, smiles, coos, looks at faces and listens to voices. The baby from birth knows the voices of his parents and is being stimulated by sights and sounds all around him. A newborn will sleep the majority of the time waking up for feedings usually every 3 to 4 hours if bottle-fed and about every 2 hours if fed by breast. Swaddling baby provides a safe and secure comfort as he adjusts to the outside world. Give baby a lot of snuggles as this is important in these early stages of life.
- At age 1 month, the baby raises head slightly off the floor or bed when lying on his stomach. The baby will note bright objects if they are in his line of vision. Vision acuity at this stage of life is 20/100. Typically, the baby grows at a fast pace with about a weight gain of 1.5 pounds per month and a height gain of about 1 inch per month during the first 6 months. The upper limbs and head grow faster at this stage of life. Also, the baby has the grasp reflex (fist usually clenched).
- By 2 months, the baby can hold his head erect, bobbing when supported in a seated position. He can follow a moving person with his eyes and can imitate or respond to a smiling person with an occasional smile. The baby can hold an object momentarily and the grasp reflex starts to fade away.
- By 3 months the infant can briefly hold his head up and sit with support. He can hold an object when placed in his hands. Your baby will now smile in response to you and others. He uses sucking to soothe himself. Pacifiers or thumbs, it is usually one or the other! This stage of your baby’s development is where he starts to coo, babble and make sounds. You will see he enjoys making those sounds as he has discovered he has a voice!
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4 to 6 months
Things really start to get exciting now as you see your little one growing and developing into his own little personality. Your baby will give warm smiles, laughs, and cries when upset and seeking comfort. He shows excitement by waving arms and legs and likes to be near his special people – mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and close friends. He can raise his head while on his tummy and hold it steadily erect.
The baby will play with his feet and often puts toes in his mouth. Grabbing objects with his hands purposefully to explore and taste. At 6 months your baby can easily turn from his tummy to his back. A very important note to parent or caregiver: do not leave your baby unattended on an elevated surface such as a dressing table or bed as the baby could easily roll over and fall off.
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7 to 9 months
Your 7-month-old baby can sit unsupported and hold his shoe. Also, note that he will explore that shoe with his mouth. Everything that a baby can hold will most definitely go in the mouth. Parents must put dangerous materials such as medications, cleaning solutions, and items small enough to swallow, well out of reach. Make sure you “baby proof” your home. Your baby will start to crawl and you need to pay attention to what is lying around the house. Buy some cabinet locks, outlet covers and baby gates. Click here to learn more about this!
Your little one at this stage likes to play peek-a-boo and enjoys a daily routine. Sing songs and read to your baby every day as this will stimulate his emotional and social development. These are very special times – enjoy your baby as he is growing fast. Baby is saying words such as mama, daddy, bye-bye and begins to understand and obey simple commands such as “wave bye-bye.”
10 to 12 months
By the age of 10 months, your baby has started to crawl and maybe even pulled himself up to a standing position using a couch or chair. He is able to be happy, mad, sad and shows feelings by smiling, crying and pointing. Baby knows his needs will be met one way or the other. His vocabulary is of 2 to 3 words and gestures are used to communicate. Also, take note, speech development may slow temporarily when walking begins. However, do not let this alarm you because he will catch up in no time at all.
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Play is a very important part of baby care. Your baby is curious and likes to explore people, places, and things. Be sure to provide lots of love and attention to your little guy or gal. Set up a special time with your little one to read him a book, sing songs with him or play some music and show him a dance move. All of these special moments will remain in your memory forever. You will never regret this precious time spent and all of your efforts will promote learning and advancing your baby’s development.
Remember to simply enjoy your baby and cherish every stage of your baby’s growth and development. He will not be this little forever and he does grow very fast! One day he will be starting kindergarten and the next, he will be graduating from high school!!