Your baby has finally come into the world and after the initial few hurdles, you feel like you have gone through the worst. What awaits you is a beautiful time of companionship and fulfillment with your precious newborn. However, a gnawing fear always takes hold of new parents when they realize that they don’t have a clue whether their child’s growth is following its natural course or whether there is something awry about your baby’s development.
As always, we are here to chase all your dilemmas away and tell you all about the developmental milestones in your baby’s life so that you never have a moment’s doubt on your parenting capabilities while you are still nursing your child. Make sure you remain hooked!
The Month by Month Development of a Newborn Child
- During the first One Month: This has to be the most challenging time not only for a parent but also their newborn baby. There might be little time to observe her developmental patterns while you are still busy changing his diapers, feeding him and putting him to sleep, but regardless, try to keep these pointers in mind while you spend time with your child. In the first one month of a baby’s life, he starts to recognize the people who spend the most time with him. The tactile and visual stimuli play a major role in allowing him to make sense of who are his near and dear ones. Though the arm and neck movement might be still restricted, his hearing would be remarkably developed.
- During the first Three Months: After the three months, both you and your baby must have a heightened understanding of what makes the other tick and have probably even adjusted to the new environment and circumstances. During this period, your baby will start lifting their heads without any support from you and might even be able to roll over. Their hand eye coordination will have progressed for the better and they would even begin making some sounds and laughing when you make silly faces.
- Between the Fourth and the Seventh Month: Whereas previously your newborn could roll over partially, now he or she can roll on their back and then roll back over. They would fill your days with loud laughter and giggles so that you always remain happy and cheery. She can even momentarily sit up without any help on your part and can stand up when you hold her on her legs. His vision will be much clearer than before and he would be able to grasp the toys you put in front of him and play with them for hours on end. She would begin to respond when you call her by her name and might even be able to utter words like ‘Ma’ or ‘Ba.’
- Between the Eighth and the Twelfth Month: Your baby would become a master explorer during this period. He would grab hold of things and pull himself up to stand and would even crawl to move from place to place in your home. Soon he would begin communicating with you using simple yet meaningful phrases and would make his preferences quite clear when it comes to the toys he likes to play with and also the food he likes to eat.
Tracing the Physical and Sensory Development of your Newborn Child
No two babies have the same physical development over a similar span of time. There might be growth spurts or even brief periods of suspended growth. However, most babies tend to double up their birth weight by the time they reach four months of their life. Though there is a minor drop in weight, by the time they celebrate their first birthday, their weight should be about triple of their birth weight.
All babies start out by crawling and then sitting up on their own accord and eventually they take to walking. If your baby is delaying his first steps by one month, don’t stress yourself, they will walk when they are capable of doing so on their own. Since the physical development of the children always occurs from the top down, you will notice that they first start moving their neck to strengthen their neck muscles and then they would move their wrists till they are able to develop the muscles in their arms. His hand eye coordination would develop soon after. Alongside, their visual and hearing faculties will keep developing till it matches ours and then he would begin to communicate using intelligible words.
The Social and Emotional Development of your Newborn Child
- During the first Three Months: During the first three months, a newborn child likes being comforted and soothed by an adult he sees regularly and is familiar with. They would listen intently to the voices nearby and would be quiet whenever you hold them close to your body and even smile in rare instances.
- In between the Third and the Sixth Month: The laughs and giggles of your baby would flow more freely. They would begin crying and screaming whenever they feel upset or irritated and would show that they are excited by moving their neck and flailing their arms. They would be able to distinguish between two faces, love spending time with other babies and would acknowledge when you call him by his name.
- In between the Sixth and the Ninth Month: The expression of different emotions will be much more prominent in your newborn child and would be able to respond to your verbal signals. An attachment to a favorite blanket or a soft toy is quite common during this period and they would even extend their comfort level from their parents to other acquaintances.
The babies are much more apprehensive of your commands during this period and would wave back at strangers. Though they would be a bit reserved when facing new situations but would eventually start opening up.
Things about your baby’s Brain Development you need to know
- If you want your baby’s communication capabilities to develop quickly, you need to interact with them as much as possible. Though they won’t understand you right off the bat but they would start speaking much quickly.
- The babies need to intake iron in right amounts so that their brain growth proceeds at the normal rate. If you have a premature baby, you might consider making use of iron supplements and iron fortified formula.
- Studies have shown that the babies who exclusively fed on breast milk during the first months of their lifetime had much more white matter in their brain than other kids. In case you didn’t know, white matter is important because it helps in boosting up emotional development, language skills and cognition.
- The children who receive messages from their parents tend to develop their motor function a lot quicker.
- The more times you soothe your baby, the lesser would be the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol in his brain such that the development of their nervous system progresses unhindered.
- The synapses which connect the brain cells to one another start developing during this period.
- The cerebellum of your baby’s brain, which is concerned with balance and coordination, triples in size during the first one year of your baby’s life.
- Maintaining eye contact with babies and giving them a cartoon book to go through increases their focus and attention.
- Babies need to sleep as much as possible to ensure that they all the rest needed to develop their brain.
Some of the development boosting games you can play with your baby
- Perform charades, make funny voices and silly faces. Sooner or later your baby will start responding to it.
- Playing peek-a-boo is not only a lot of fun but also reinstate the thought of ‘object permanence’, the idea that objects are present even when they are not present in their direct line of sight.
- Attend an interactive music class for parents and infants together. Those babies who tried to play musical instruments in those classes had a much more sophisticated brain response to common situations later on. If that’s not possible just sing to her and watch how her ears perk up with the sound of music.
- Read a book, which has sketches or cartoons characters drawn on them. They would be able to focus, would begin identifying with the characters and would also begin to grasp how the world functions.
- Blow up bubbles for them to play with. They will have fun trying to catch them and you would be able to see how your baby’s cognition processes keep developing.
- Make them smell different spices so that their olfactory processes are developed and even make them touch the clothes made out of different materials so that they are responsive to the slightest of touches.
Your baby would grow up eventually, be patient and be there while they are still depending on you to support you through these precious years!