Baby Development: Healthy Baby Development Milestones for the First 3 Months
Baby development teaches new parents to spot the behaviors that indicate that their baby is on track in terms of meeting specific milestones for growth, bonding and development. If after reading this article, you become worried that your baby is not meeting certain milestones, take action and make an appointment with your pediatrician.
Before we talk about the various stages of physical growth and development, let me make an essential point. Beyond satisfying your child's physical needs, such as feeding, changing diapers and providing a quiet environment for restful sleep, what your baby needs most from you is your undivided love and attention. Since a baby's cries and coos are his or her only means of communication, respond to them with tenderness. Don't buy into the old (and neglectful) idea that too much love will spoil a baby. An infant needs and deserves all the love and time you have to give. In fact, this is necessary for healthy development. (If you are responding to your child's physical and emotional needs and your child is not meeting developmental milestones, there may be something else wrong.)
Keep in mind that the follow milestones are guidelines. Each baby develops in his or her own way. Don't panic if you're baby isn't doing everything on the list specified for each month. The key is to look for progressive movements and engagement with the people and world around him.
Baby Development: 1st Month
- Lift his head and start to turn it to the side
- Chooses human faces over other objects
- Turns head when hearing sounds or voices
- Responds or startles at loud noises
- Exhibits strong reflexes
- Eyes can focus on items or faces held about one foot away
- Moves arms
- Squints in the sun and at bright lights
- Smiles at you (your baby's smile will absolutely win you over!)
- Coos and makes sounds (which sound like sounds we make, like "ooh")
- Follows objects with eyes (to encourage this, hold an object near your baby's face and move it to see if he can track it.)
- Lifts head up
- Can raise head and chest when placed on tummy
- Can open and clench his hands
- Can grasp and shake objects
- Reaches for nearby objects
- can kick and flex legs vigorously when placed on back
- Imitates the sounds you make
- Neck is strong enough to hold up head
- When held upright with feet touching a hard surface (like the floor), the baby pushes with his legs
- Shows interest in objects that have patterns
Remember that baby development is individual to each child. Your baby may not grow in the exact same way specified in this article. As I said before, the key is to look for progressive development. If growth stops or regresses, seek the advice of a professional.
About the author: Laura Ramirez is the award-winning author of Keepers of the Children and the publisher of Family Matters Parenting Magazine. She lives with her husband and two boys in the sage-dotted foothills of Northern Nevada.
Baby Development Resources
Keepers of the Children is a book that has an entire chapter devoted to development. Since it explains human development from birth to death, it helps parents develop reasonable expectations for child behavior (thereby minimizing stress) and understand where they are along their own path of personal growth. The book combines ancient native concepts, like true child stewardship, with psychology to teach parents how to raise children to be happy, healthy and lead meaningful and productive lives. It is unlike any parenting book you have ever read.
Baby Development - Child Development
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