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Holding your newborn in your arm is so exciting.
However, many parents start to wonder how best they can help their baby develop optimally.
From opening their little eyes for the first time to giving you a genuine smile on your worst day is just but a few developmental milestones every parent dream of seeing their newborn achieve.
But when and how do these milestones occur?
Scientific evidence shows that the baby’s brain develops faster in the first 1,000 days of life.
As such, a baby’s early life moments may have a long-lasting effect on adulthood behaviors.
This is not, however, to confine every child within a particular bracket of growth chart timelines.
I understand and acknowledge that every child is different.
While some may show quick progress in attaining certain milestones, some can take additional weeks or months to achieve similar progress.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
My three kids hit their development milestones differently. The firstborn progressed quite first, and by 9 months, my little champ was walking.
Come second born, and it was all intercessions. Someone decided to walk at 13 months, and for speech development, I still can’t comment.
In my many years of parenting, I have also noticed that the environment plays a significant role in a child’s ability to progress steadily.
Just as nature does its work, so should the parents, nannies, or guardians.
The daily little things we do, like talking back, holding their little hands, and clapping back when they attempt to stand, go a long way in encouraging the little ones to try one more time.
This post is about your baby’s development milestones and the simple roles you can play to encourage and speed up their progress.
Baby Development Stages By Months
Like a flower set to blossom, a baby’s journey to adulthood passes through various stages before unfolding. Here is a quick look into your baby’s developmental stages.
0-2 Months Baby Development Milestone
The first 0-2 months after birth can be pretty hectic. Besides sleeping, breastfeeding, and just being around to be seen, your newborn may struggle with some issues.
Talk of umbilical code menace, the colic chronicles, and unpredictable sleep routines, all these, you will have to deal with them on a separate chart.
But does it mean that they are not growing?
Your baby is learning and developing socially, physically, and emotionally. The brain is growing, and so are his feelings.
The newest family member’s progress in the 1st and 2nd months is marred with exploring, enhancing fine motor skills and familiarizing with the new environment.
Social and Emotional Baby Milestones from 0-2 Months
Assuming that all factors remain constant and in an ideal circumstance between 0-2 months, your baby should demonstrate the following growth;
- Can open eyes and track through a passing object
- Can smile spontaneously without valid reasons in the first month. Gradually they start smiling at people around them.
- You will notice a lot of finger sucking to self sooth or when hungry
- Tries to open, close, and grab items with their little hands or fingers
- Alerted by sounds and turns toward them.
- Starting to show feelings like fussiness when bored and excitement when happy.
- You will notice many sudden jerks or twitches of the arms, hands, or legs.
- Paying attention to the surrounding, like during baths, breastfeeding, or massages.
Tips for parents to enhance social and emotional baby development
You can foster your little one’s development through many activities as a parent. This includes;
- Hold your baby closely and engage in skin-to-skin contact. Your warmth is essential and creates a sense of safety for your newborn
- Make a face and eye contact, especially during breastfeeding. Making facial impressions and eye contact helps your baby learn some features.
- Have conversations or baby talks with your little one, especially when they make cooing noises. Talk to them during a bath, massage time, and diaper change. Sing baby songs in tonal variations. The simple back-and-forth responses enhance your baby’s language and communication skills development.
- Use some white noise for soothing.
- Breastfeed more to ensure that your newborn gets necessary nutrients for optimal development. Also “a hungry baby is an angry baby”
- Ensure that your baby gets enough sleep for optimal development. You may consider using blackout curtains for the bedroom during the day to foster sleep if they are still struggling with day/night differential.
Movement and Physical Baby Development from 0-2 Months
There are only a few movements during this age to help in fine motor skill development.
- You will notice too many arms and leg motions.
- Your baby may try to turn his head from side to side.
- Your baby may be able to push up while on his belly and hold his head up for a few seconds.
- Try to push up to stand when held upright.
Tips for parents to foster movement and physical growth
- Move your fingers or bright objects around their eyes to encourage eye motion in the first month.
- Participate in tummy time using your laps and belly to strengthen the neck muscles.
- Encourage him to move his head, arms, and legs by dragging bright objects or toys around them to foster fine motor skills development.
Best Toys For 0- 2 Months
♦. Mommy, mommy, mommy. You are your baby’s best toy during these early months. Your voice, facial expression, and body movement significantly affect their development.
♦. Simple bright objects with mild noise like iplay, ilearn 10pces Baby Rattle Toy Set is perfect for newborns to infants. The 10 Bright Primary colored Rattles come in different grips, shapes, textures, and tasks for visual and fine motor skills.
Baby Development Milestones (3-5 Months)
3-5 months is when your little one gets ready for sitting upright. At this stage, babies are highly connecting with the environment and people through associations, and you may notice the following developmental progress
Social and Emotional Baby Developmental Milestones from 3-5 Months
- Your baby can recognize objects and people she is familiar with from a distance, including your voices.
- You will notice a positive response to love and affection. For instance, call out his name, and the legs will be in the air waiting for mamas touch.
- Your baby may smile spontaneously or when engaging with others.
- Active and likes to be around other kids. They start to show emotional dislike when their favourite game stops.
- His cries will start to sound different if he is hungry, in pain, or tired. Instinctively you can tell whether your baby is crying because of hunger or wants to sleep.
- They tend to track moving objects with their eyes by following them from side to side.
- They tend to watch faces closely.
Tips for Parents to Enhance Social and Emotional Developmental Milestone (3-5 Months)
- Call out their name often, like when they wake up.
- Talk to them about everything as you carry out your daily routine, like changing diapers and bathing them to help build their language and communication skills.
- Share your little one’s interest by looking and pointing at their favourite toys and joining in the game.
- Respond positively to baby cooing and sounds. Involve tonal variation when speaking.
- Pay attention to different styles and tones in baby cries and respond appropriately. Try to master the meanings of each cry signal.
Movement and Physical Development Milestones (3-5 months)
At age 3 -5 months, your baby’s movement and physical development may include the following;
- Ability to coordinate their hands and bring them to mouth. He picks things around and puts them in his mouth.
- They can use their elbows to push up and hold their head up with minimal support when lying on their stomach.
- Your baby may be able to roll over onto his back when on his stomach.
- He can firmly push down on his legs when you stand him up
- He can reach out or shake a toy he’s holding.
- Can react to different sounds
- Demonstrates excellent eye and hand coordination
Tips for parents to foster movement and physical growth(3-5 months)
- Time to drop mittens if you are still using them and allow the baby to feel the objects.
- Time to minimize baby swaddling because of intensified rolling.
- Put bright toys with different rattling sounds close to them to help enhance hand-eye coordination.
- Leave rattles near your infant so he can reach for and shake them for motor skills development.
- Time to intensify tummy times for strong back born and neck development. Encourage your baby to roll over by putting him on a safe surface for tummy time. This prepares them for the next stage of sitting upright or even crawling.
Best Toys for 3-5 Months
♦. Mommy still tops the list of baby toys at this age. Your facial expression, tonal variation, love and affection are highly needed.
♦.Simple bright objects with mild noise like iplay, ilearn 10pces Baby Rattle Toy Set is still perfect for your baby at this age. The 10 Bright Primary coloured Rattles come with different grips, shapes, textures, and tasks to enhance visual, sound and fine motor skills.
Fisher-Price Maracas with rattle sounds and colourful beads are also perfect for your baby’s visual, sound and fine motor skill development.
♦. Sound machines with different tones. White noise is also recommended for sleep enhancement.
♦. Tummy time mats for rolling around to enhance gross motor skills.
Worrisome Things to Look Out For;
While it’s true that babies develop differently, you should engage your paediatrician if your 3-5 month-old:
- He cannot open their eyes entirely or has difficulty moving his eyes in any direction.
- Won’t smile at people.
- He has difficulty bringing his hands to his mouth.
- He has difficulty pushing down with his legs when placed on a surface.
- He has not started making noises or cooing sounds.
- Your baby is unable to hold his head up without or with minimal support
6-8 Months Baby Development Milestones (Ready-Set-Go Months)
These are the on-the-go months when your little one is active. Most kids in this stage are either sitting or attempting to crawl.
Because of their intensive mobility, you must remove sharp objects around them.
Safely put away breakable or electric appliances from the child’s reach. Ensure that harmful toiletry liquids and supplies are under lockable cabinets. Also, the washrooms and kitchen doors should remain closed for the baby’s safety.
Excitingly, you are also introducing solid foods into your baby’s life. So get ready for spillovers and feeding drama, especially in earlier days.
Social and Emotional Development Milestones at 6 months
This development phase is marked by a lot of movement, learning and connecting with the people around.
- Your little one can recognize and respond to their name.
- They are curious and try to reach out to everything around them. They can easily pull your food or a cup of tea when drinking, so be cautious.
- Can show emotions depending on the situation.
- Your baby can differentiate between familiar faces and strangers. They have formed preferences about who can carry me.
- They seem to enjoy a variety of games.
- Most infants at this age enjoy looking at themselves in a mirror.
- They start making consonant sounds like ‘Ma’’Ba.’
- Will respond to noises by making sounds.
- Your infant becomes a copycat. They may try to copy your movements and facial expressions, including the babble and sounds he hears.
Tips for parents to enhance social development stages for 6-8 months old baby
- Engage in playful conversations. Talk to your kid about everything going on around them.
- Encourage your baby to talk or play by repeating after their cooing and clapping to show excitement.
- Limit screen time and encourage human interaction
- Include a plastic mirror with his toys so he can watch his movements.
- Engage more in body games like hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo.
- Frequently call your baby by name for familiarization
Physical Baby Development Milestones at 6-8 months
- Your baby is starting to sit without support.
- Your infant can roll over in both directions when lying.
- Your baby can push down on her legs when held upright
- Your baby can Rocks back and forth while seated
Tips for parents to foster movement and physical growth(6-8 months)
- Provide your baby with bright toys that are easy to pick up with one hand to encourage movement and enhance motor skills.
- Start holding your baby upright while leaning against you for support.
- Intensify tummy times
- Introduce outdoor activities by moving around in strollers for more exploring
- Introduce safe seating gears to perfect their skill.
Best Toys and Baby Gears For ( 6-8 months)
You can incorporate various developmental toys into your baby’s daily routines to encourage movement, gross and fine motor skills development. This includes;
♦.Mommy, mommy mommy. Your efforts are still needed. Usher your baby into an upright position by sitting him on your lap and allowing him to lean against your tummy. Continue practicing this until they can comfortably sit without leaning forward.
♦. Sassy developmental Bumpy Ball for enhancing the development of fine motor skills. These toys come with various textures and colours to teach babies about grasping while enhancing their visual and taste of feeling.
♦. Incorporate baby floor seats that offers great back support with enough leg area to allow movement while training your baby to have a great sitting posture.
♦. Introduce a little bit of crawling toys to excite your baby as they prepare for the next stage.
9-12 Months Baby Development Milestone
9 to 12 months is quite a game-changer month for infants. Your baby will graduate into a toddler and probably will have started walking unsupported.
However, if not, there is nothing to be worried about.
Other kids take some time to walk and maybe still move around with support or in their final touches of crawling. Keep doing what mothers do best-encouraging, and soon they will hit the ground running.
Social and Emotional Development Milestones at 9-12 Months
- Prepare to see lots of mobility.
- Your baby will try to communicate by pointing at things or leading you towards what they want
- They may become clingy, especially to their caregivers.
- Your baby is so much aware of the environment and routines. They can associate pieces of stuff and start preparing for the subsequent sessions. For example, they can already associate a bathtub with bathing.
- They can appropriately respond to their names.
- Loves cuddling and familiar games like peek-a-boo
- Has favourite toys or cartoons that they want to be played with.
- They have mastered the art of tonal variation for attention.
- He perfects the act of copying and repeating movements and sounds he hears.
- Can Pick up small objects with their fingers.
Tips for parents to foster social and emotional growth(9-12 months)
- Allow your baby to take the lead during playtime.This will help to boast his confidence.
- Converse more with your baby through reading books and storytelling to boast their communication skills.
- Create picture association of commonly used items and stick them somewhere for your baby to follow through.
- Encourage your little one during playtime by clapping and applauding their efforts.
Movement and Physical Development Milestones at 9-12 Months
- Can get into a sitting position and sit without support.
- Your child can crawl without difficulties
- Pulls up using objects around like furniture for support to stand.
- Can walk with support from either moving or stationary objects like tables
Tips for parents to foster movement and physical growth(9-12 months)
- Encourage more movement using exciting toys and objects by placing them far and allowing your baby to reach them.
- Hold your baby’s hands and teach them how to walk.
- Lift your baby from the ground and allow them to stand without support, even for one second. Sing or clap to make it fun
- Place your baby close to a supportive object like furniture so he can try to raise himself or walk around using that object as support.
- Give your baby things to stuck together or fill to enhance their gross motor skills
Worrisome Things to Look Out for;
While children develop differently, you should seek professional help if your 9-12 month-old:
- Unable to sit without assistance.
- Your baby has not started babbling or making ‘nonsense speech.’
- Your baby can not look where you point or respond to their name
- Your baby still cannot put weight on her legs when held upright.
- Cannot recognize familiar faces.
- She is not interested in most baby games or cannot hold toys between her hands.
Best Toys and Baby Gears For ( 9-12 Months)
♦. Get your Musical Turtle Crawling baby toy or The Infant Crawling Crab to encourage your baby to crawl while enhancing Gross Motor skills, Fine finger skills, cognitive ability, and Eye-hand coordination.
♦. Get a variety of car toys to encourage movement while building gross motor, cognitive, and social skills. Toy cars also create opportunities for children to use their imagination in an adventurous way.
♦.Incorporate stacking objects and rings like Sassy stacking rings to enhance hand-eye coordination, color recognition and Gross motor skill development
♦. Introduce a push walker to jump start your baby on standing and moving around with support.
Every child is unique. While watching your baby hit developmental milestones like rolling over, sitting up, or even standing and walking brings much joy, you shouldn’t allow societal pressure to take over. Do not compare the progress of an individual with another. If you feel something is not well with your baby, it’s better to seek medical intervention early.