Your baby is finally here. Your joy knows no bounds. You are submerged in a myriad of emotions and you are quite queasy and fussy with your newborn baby. It is quite natural to be anxious about your baby’s development as they grow,and since nurturing a baby comes with no laid down instructions, here is a simple layout on what to expect as your baby grows during the first year.
YOUR BABY AT ONE MONTH
This is quite a crucial and stage of your baby’s development as it marks the first milestone towards healthy growth. Your baby at this age is still trying to adjust to a new environment after nine whole months in the womb.Do not panic if you notice your baby has lost or is losing weight rapidly. This is perfectly normal in that babies are born with extra body fluid which they need to discard before they begin to gain weight properly. They lose about 10% (approximately) of their body weight during the first few days of life. About two or three weeks into birth, they would start to gain weight rapidly as much as an ounce or half an ounce a day. There goes the wonder switch, first, they are losing weight and within the blink of an eye, they are gaining rapidly.
Your baby looks so delicate and fragile and you are worried you might not be lifting them the right way. You notice that their head isn’t quite as rigid as yours especially when in an upright position, well this is because their neck does not have the strength to support their head fully. They may be able to turn their head while laying on their tummy, but cannot do so in an upright position, in fact, their head seems to be lopsided. You can properly lift your baby by putting your hand under their neck.
For the new moms, You will find that your baby can conveniently grip onto your breast without any help. This trait is inborn and is called “innate reflexes”. Although their nervous system is not fully matured, they know when it’s time to feed and can instinctively grasp onto the breast.
Sorry to break it to you, but prepare yourself for those exhausting sleepless nights as your baby’s sleeping pattern at this age will be fickle. This is because they are yet to differentiate between day and night. Babies sleep for about 15 to 16 hours a day during this phase of their growth, the downside to this is that they won’t follow the usual sleeping patterns which means you need to ready yourself for some baby and me “night vigils”.
Your baby will most probably peer into your face while sucking. Yes, your baby loves looking at you because “of course you are the reason for their existence” but more than that, because at this age they are nearsighted. They can’t see objects or people from a distance. Their eyes may appear to cross while trying to focus, but that is perfectly normal, it only calls for concern, when the eyes remain crossed at three or four months. This might indicate “STRABISMUS”, a condition characterized by crossed eyes,if this is the case, you should consult a doctor.
Your baby can recognize you or your partner’s voice when you talk. Their hearing isn’t fully developed yet, but they sure recognize your voice right from the womb. Amazing right? So feel free to “coo” and “ahh” to your baby as much as you like, because, in a weird way, they really are listening.
At this point, babies will finally realize that there are more stuff to do in the world than eating, sleeping and crying. They stay awake longer and consume more food, be prepared to feed your baby at least 5 to 10 times in 24 hours. This is also the right time to introduce those toys to your baby, as they discover playing. Due to their ongoing developing sight, they are fascinated by bright colors and patterns, so the brighter colored the toys are, the better
Your baby will be feeding increasingly but might have fewer bowel moments, which means fewer diapers for you to change. The reason for their reduced bowel movements is not far fetched. As they grow, their bowels grow too and can accumulate waste for a longer period of time before exiting. But since babies just like every human are different, yours might still be giving you lots of diapers to change, this too is NORMAL.
GOOD NEWS!!! your baby will begin to sleep through the night as they begin to understand that night time is meant for sleeping, although this doesn’t mean they still won’t take daytime naps (at least twice a day). Don’t get too comfortable though, babies don’t joke around with their food and would still wake up at early hours to feed.
Your baby’s neck strength will begin to improve and they can hold their head up on their own to about an angle of 45 degrees. They might even begin to wave, kick, wriggle, and grasp onto objects as they begin to gain motor control of their arms and legs.
They don’t just peer into your face but can recognize people and objects at a reasonable distance. They can also detect from which direction a sound is coming from.
Babies become good at expressing their emotions. They begin to have different crying sounds (they learn how to control their vocal cords) to denote different emotions such as when they are hungry, bored, need to have their diaper changed or just pissed off for no reason. With time you will learn to recognize these crying sounds and act accordingly.
Your cute little one will begin to make more use of their hands. Instead of Grasping onto things they can conveniently hold them now. They develop a startling sense of touch, you can almost see them react when you make contact with them. They love skin contact the most as it helps to soothe and comfort them. Be sure to avail them lots of skin to skin contact.
Their neck becomes, even more, stronger, don’t rule out tummy time though, allow them to spend some ample time on their stomach. This will help with motor control development.
Babies at this age will most likely smile back at people who smile at them. They become vain and are greatly intrigued by their reflection in the mirror. They become fascinated at the sight of other babies too.
Their motor skills become more pronounced. They can now move their arms and legs smoothly. Give them rattles or other “handy” toys so they can properly exercise and flex their muscles.
Your little one is growing up really fast and is beginning to babble. They may even be able to imitate sounds. They begin to differentiate between shades and hues of colors and can see farther as their vision further develops, they would still prefer to see things up close though. Give them more colorful toys or even books with lots of colorful characters to help with their vision development. They would absolutely love looking at it.
Your baby might start to roll over. Some babies don’t roll over until six or seven months, while others begin to roll over starting from four months. This is the time to be really cautious. You don’t want your little one rolling off the bed.
Your baby may become more playful as they get bored of their usual routine (crying, eating and sleeping). You can introduce your baby to music at this time. Aside helping them relax, it will prove useful for intellectual development.
Babies might spot a teeth or would be continuously rubbing against their gums and drool a lot in preparation for teething. They may have red blotches on their gum too. Do not be alarmed, their first tooth may just be around the corner.
Babies will start putting things into their mouths. Whatever they lay their hands on, goes straight into the mouth, you have to be extra careful and observant to avoid accidents. Sometimes they may hit themselves with things and kick up a crying storm.
We are five months old already, how time flies. By now, your baby is no longer giving you sleepless nights, can hold their head on their own, can see a lot further, can hold things properly with their hands and is playful. At five months your baby will further develop. Your little one may start sitting up to prove “I’m not so little anymore”. Their sense of taste takes on a fast ride. (Their mouth has more nerve endings than any part of their body) They will constantly put things in their mouth and leave you watching after them endlessly.
Their vision improves drastically and can recognize a variety of things and objects including miniature ones. They start to lay on their front. You can use cushions or pillows to support them.
They become really noisy and constantly repeating sounds. They can respond to facial expressions, make sure to put on your clownish performances as often as possible and give your baby a good laugh.
It’s the big six already. They have reached half of the milestone of their first year of life. You begin to prepare for photoshoots and cakes to mark this important milestone. While you are at it, you should note that, at six months your baby’s sight will further improve, they will begin to pay attention to the tiniest of details, they can see the signature at the bottom of that framed painting hanging on the wall, or the little threads on your blouse.
Communication becomes more pronounced. Talk to them like you would an adult. Tell them about your day, point out the use of certain things. The more you repeat these things, the more they store it in their brains, and before long you both can start having proper conversations.
Some babies will start crawling, and others won’t be ready to crawl and may just shuffle on their bottoms. It is important to note that, some babies are not cut out for crawling and will skip it altogether.
Stranger anxiety might begin to surface from this age. They start to become really wary of people and cling onto you like a lifeline.
Some babies would have started crawling already, some others may still be rolling over. They might have also mastered art of sitting down without any form of support. Babies at this age might begin to want to experiment with putting their weight on their feet.
Their speech greatly improves and they may start combining syllables to form words. Their motor control improves significantly and instead of holding onto things with all their fingers, they start using their thumb and first finger, they may even begin to pass objects from one hand to the other. Encourage them with certain toys or games that will help them to master this efficiently. Let them flex those little muscles.
Your baby might start clapping also, and may become fond of banging things together. Again make sure they have enough toys to bang together and keep your valuables away from their sight before they get you into a “banging mess”
This may be the point when you start looking out for that famous “mama, Dada, mum, daddy” words. Your baby by now has developed really well in speech, all that babbling sure paid off. Although they will continue to babble even if they’ve started calling you mama or Dada.
Your baby’s eyesight should be as good as yours and are no longer nearsighted. If you notice they are squinting, you might want to mention this to the doctor on your next visit to the hospital so they can have their eyes examined.
As mentioned earlier, your baby might have begun to experiment with putting their weight on their feet, they take it a step further by trying to get into a standing position while holding onto any piece of furniture or even you for support.
You may notice your baby instantly starts to cry when another baby is crying. You are puzzled by this show of joint emotional solidarity, but this is perfectly normal. It is called “REFLECTIVE EMPATHY”, the emotion shown to others in distress as a mark of sympathy. Do not read any meaning into it, your little one is really just kind at heart.
your baby cries and protests when you take that one particular toy from them or when it goes missing. It is quite natural for babies to develop a form of attachment to one particular toy. Yes, your little one now has a “favorite” too. Fast becoming an adult, you would agree.
Babies will begin to grapple the spoon with you when you are feeding them, some will insist to hold onto the spoon themselves and feed. Yes, your little one is slowly gaining independence and they are not so little anymore. Show them some support by allowing them feed themselves while you pay close attention, this will help in hand to mouth coordination. They still need to build those motor skills perfectly.
At nine months, they may go from standing up while holding onto furniture or yourself to standing up unassisted. Babies can’t wait to become an adult. Some babies will even start walking or begin to take those baby steps.
Aside from having a favorite toy, babies might start getting picky with their choice of food as their sense of taste further develops. Encourage them to feed on their favorite foods but do not overindulge their preferences as they may not want to eat the food that is actually very good for them. Also do not force them aggressively to eat such foods, you can employ one or two tricks to get them to eat it.
You notice your baby is quietly fascinated with the remote control and is hell-bent on dismantling it. Not to worry, at nine months of age, babies are overly curious and want to explore everything, just be extra careful they don’t harm themselves while at it.
Separation anxiety might become aggravated at this age. They become super clingy and won’t even look at strangers. Some babies won’t even go to their dad’s. As frustrating as it might be especially when you need them off your back to get other things done, be patient. They would overcome it. They are just gaining a sense of protection and security.
You may notice your little one now has some peculiar personality traits. They may be stubborn, hyperactive and full of energy, or simply full of mischief. Let that personality shine through. Do not try to impede it.
Babies might have perfected walking or still taking steps. Some might still need assistance pulling themselves to their feet. Every developmental milestone is unique to each baby. Do not expect all babies to follow the exact same pattern.
If your baby hasn’t started walking already or making the attempt to stand at this age, they just might begin crawling. They may also be able to get into a sitting position from lying on their stomach. Babies that are already standing may be able to pull into a squatting position from standing.
Your baby might exhibit new personality traits too. Again, encourage each trait.Let that personality shine through. Your little one might also start to understand simple commands, requests or words. If they do, make sure you use it repetitively to enhance their communication skills. They may also begin to wave” bye-bye” at you or other people when the occasion calls for it. Aren’t they such amazing beings.
It is important to note that, if your baby does not respond to facial gestures, does not babble, or make any special attempt to crawl or stand at this age, please consult a pediatrician to rule out possible underlying problems.
Your baby is fast becoming all grown up and you are awed. But you are worried they are constantly throwing a tantrum and won’t listen to you, no matter how much you coo or try to cajole them. This doesn’t call for any concern, for babies at this age start to exhibit temper tantrums. They are simply being expressive and you shouldn’t worry yourself sick over this. In addition to this, they may grow a strong sense of like and dislike and would throw a fit when you cross or try to cross those boundaries.
Their communication greatly improves and they pay more attention and focus on things for a longer period of time. You can introduce them to books with simple words, letters, figures, or symbols to leaf and learn through.
Babies may no longer grapple the spoon with you or try to feed themselves awkwardly with the spoon, rather they become experts at handling cutlery while feeding themselves. Their sense of taste increasingly develops, and you would be doing them a world of good by introducing a variety of flavors and food to their diet. You might have started the weaning process or begin to consider it from this age. Whatever the case might be, your baby at this age should be properly introduced to the beautiful, colorful, and healthy world of food. Fill up their diet with vegetables, fruits, cheese, and some wholesome crackers.
It has been such a fantastic and exhilarating ride with your baby so far. You almost can’t believe they are a year old already and are no longer the tiny looking baby you once cradled in your arms. This new developmental milestone comes with certain tendencies.
Your baby may have fully started walking, and they begin to knock and throw things down with gusto. You constantly find yourself running after them and getting pissed off because of the mess they have created.
They become more boisterous, energetic and very playful. Some of them will already start wearing the badge for mischief.
Communication becomes more responsive. You can ask your baby certain questions and they may be able to respond. You can send them on simple errands, such as asking them to pick up your phone from the table, and they would eagerly go and pick it up. You can start teaching your baby courtesy, how to say “please” and “thank you”
Your baby may become more stubborn, refuse to eat at the right time or take naps. When they get like this, play some music, read them a story from a book, play peek a boo, or ask them to play “feed mummy and mummy feeds me” game with you. It all boils down to knowing how to press the right buttons that will get your baby to behave and do what you want them to do.