Baby Development Stages What you can expect as your newborn baby turns toddler
These days many parents have not had a lot of experience with babies until their first baby comes along. If you are one of these parents you will probably find you have many questions about this new person who has come into your life and who is so small and helpless. It can be overwhelming and scary when you realize your baby is so dependent on you for everything, especially if you feel you dont know a lot about babies. Understanding what babies are like may help to make it easier to care for your baby.
Birth to 4 months
At this time babies are adjusting to life in the world. Most of each day will be spent sleeping but with increasing periods of time awake. Babies are totally dependent on you for their basic needs. As babies grow and spend more time awake they become more alert to what is happening around them. At this stage, crying is a normal and natural way that babies communicate their needs.
Between birth and 4 months your baby is learning to:
Focus for longer periods
Observe surroundings and follow a person or object with their eyes
Enjoy close visual and verbal stimulation
Recognize and turn head to familiar voices
Coo and make sounds
Watch and clasp hands
Play with fingers and bring hands to mouth
Hit dangling objects with hands or feet
Hold head up when lying on tummy
Show pleasure by wriggling body and smiling
Respond to sound that are louder than normal
4 to 8 months
Babies are now becoming their own person. They are very excited about the world. Everything they see is of interest and they are developing curiosity about their surroundings. At this time babies like to be in places they know with people they know.
Between 4 months and 8 months your baby is learning to:
Recognize name by turning when name is spoken
Bring hands together to play and grasp
Bring objects to mouth to explore
Transfer objects from one hand to the other
Lift head and chest using forearms for support
Prop on one hand or elbow while reaching for a toy with the other
Pull feet to mouth
Sit without support
Show the need for attention and affection
Mix different sounds, squeal and laugh
Listen with interest and turn head to loud sounds
Be aware of being separated from mother or father
Cope with the introduction of pureed food, moving on to more lumpy textures.
8 to 12 months
Babies are becoming more excited and intensely curious about the world as they become more independently mobile. They are now on the move and are getting into everything, but will keep an eye on the people around them. They like to have mother/carer close by.
Between 8 months and 12 months your baby is learning to:
Point, gesture and make sounds to indicate what they want and need
Show anger by stiffening body and screaming
Jabber and babble expressively
Uses voices to attract attention
Enjoy simple and repetitive games
Repeat actions and sounds that they enjoy making
Pull up onto furniture and cruise around the furniture
Stand briefly by themselves
Pick up small objects with thumb and index finger
Intentionally drop objects to have them picked up
Show anxiety around unfamiliar people
Eat food with fingers
Watch an adult walking across the room
Look for objects hidden from view
Turn head to sounds that are at the side or below
9 months old
Babies between 712 months are learning to crawl, climb, stand, cruise and eventually walk. They are learning sounds and are learning that they are separate people from their parents. Babies are beginning to relate differently to their main caregiver.
Babies between 7-12 months are learning to crawl, climb, stand, cruise and eventually walk. It is during this time, if not before, that the house needs to be made safe for a little explorer. All precious and dangerous objects need to be removed.
Babies at this stage are intensely curious
They are developing their fine motor skills and will reach for very small objects
They enjoy experiencing a variety of shapes, textures, colors and sounds
Everything of interest is banged, felt, tasted and thrown
They need room to move in a supervised, safe environment
12 to 18 months
Children are now walking and pleased to be out with the big kids, but they still need constant care and attention. Seemingly independent, they venture out alone, but keep an eye on those around them. They can watch, listen and take part in the social life of the family, and be an active listener.
Between 12 to 18 months your child is learning to:
Use words e.g. mum, dad, ball, water, more
Shake and nod their head for yes and no
Use long strings of sounds that often sound like another language
Understand more and more words and can follow simple directions e.g. get your bottle, show me your nose
Move and dance to music
Walk alone with wobbly steps
Push and pull large toys
Walk upstairs holding a hand or rail
Be more assertive and independent
Enjoy banging and stacking blocks and putting thins into containers
Be very curious and into everything
Constantly look for new activities although attention span can be short
Stop and pick up object they have dropped
Turn head to sounds that are above or below
Growing and learning in the family
The first and most important learning in a child's life happens within the family. Children learn from the way people treat them and from what they see, hear and experience as soon as they are born. Children are natural learners. Between birth and five years, and especially to three years, children grow and learn at the fastest rate of their lifetime. It is easy to see the enormous opportunity parents, and those who care for children, have in these early years to help shape children's learning before they start school.
About the Author: Anita provides free advice on her site and has established an online community for those looking for information on how to care for their baby. Head on over to http://www.101babycare.com for more information on Baby Development Stages.