How wonderful! You have a new baby girl or boy, and your life has now changed forever. So what to expect in the first 6 months of this amazing little person’s life? This is just a short peek into what is in store for you in baby’s first year of development.
First 0 – 2 Months
Often termed ‘Milestones’ your baby will hit development markers as he or she grows but in the first months, feeding every couple of hours or so, nappy filling and sleeping in between are the status quo. Fairly simple for your baby but you may feel a little overwhelmed at first until you get into a routine. Accept help from family and friends with other chores such as laundry and general housework, food shopping, and of course if you have a partner – sharing baby care where you can, enables your baby bond with both parents. Here are some things you can expect in these first precious months:
- Newborn Reflexes and Senses – babies are born with certain reflexes and senses for example:
He can root (turning head around) for breast or bottle to latch on; breathe, suck and swallow whilst feeding.
- Palmer reflex – he will automatically curve his hand around your finger.
- Moro-reflex – his body may jump when startled by a loud noise which often happens whilst sleeping. If awake when this happens he may take a bit longer to settle. Don’t worry though as it is a sign he is developing as he should.
- He can lift his head about 45 degrees for a few seconds and can try to grip a rattle when offered.
- Communication & Social Skills – well at this young age your baby will begin to recognise familiar voices: those of his parents and siblings for example. You may notice he starts to follow your voice with his eyes but can still only see clearly to around 20cm away.
- He will begin to have short periods of being awake and will respond to being rocked, talked and sang to.
- There is the beginning of trust and your baby will have now learned that crying or fussing leads to food and comfort.
2 – 4 Months
Babies learn fast – especially in this next 2 month period. You can help by providing stimulating opportunities such as mobiles and rattles. Black and white image cards are also a great way to attract your baby’s attention. Your baby will be enjoying interacting with you – see more details below:
- Communication & Social Skills – your baby can show emotions, both happy and sad. He will smile and laugh and responds well to human faces, eye contact and can begin to mimic facial expressions. This also enhances the parent baby bond as there is a reciprocal gain.
- He can squeal and make vowel sounds at this stage. Also coo, gurgle and blow bubbles.
Sucking on his hands is a sign of trying to calm himself if feeling fractious.
- He can recognise cause and effect so realises his actions cause a reaction. For example he smiles, you smile in return.
- Begins to understand that objects have names.
- Can also feel boredom by this stage and will cry or fuss if left without stimulation for periods when awake.
- Motor Skills – both gross and fine motor are developing. By now you will notice an increase in both forms of movement.
- Gross Motor movements – he can roll onto his side; rest on forearms when lying on stomach and raise his head; kick legs whilst lying on stomach; can lift his head higher than bottom, and bear weight on his legs when held upright.
- Fine Motor movements – he can try to reach and bat objects with his hand; should be able to hold a rattle; holds on to hair and clothing of the person holding him, and likes to play with hands in front of his face.
4 – 6 Months
Our baby is now looking for social interaction with you or anyone else. His personality is beginning to develop and you can have fun discovering just what makes him laugh! Here’s what you can expect in months four to six:
- Communication and Social Skills – he can gain attention by babbling away and can use different sounds for different needs.
- Enjoys mimicking sounds and gestures and can find facial expressions very funny.
- Will look and gurgle to himself in a mirror and you may hear him blowing raspberries.
- He is now showing an interest in colours and follows moving objects with his eyes.
- Can raise his hand in a gesture of ‘pick me up’ and can anticipate food when he sees it.
- Gross Motor Skills – he can sit up against a pillow whilst supervised and has better control of his head.
- Can now hold his head up 90 degrees when lying on his stomach and push up on hands.
- Can sit leaning on his hands in the ‘tripod stance’.
- He can fully roll over from back to front and vice versa.
- Fine Motor Skills – at this stage he is able to reach out accurately and grasp an object.
- Can point to objects and transfer a small object from one hand to the other and from hand to mouth. (Keep tiny objects that he may put in his mouth well out of reach.)
Please do remember that every child develops at a different rate and at their own pace. Your health care provider will monitor your baby in all areas from feeding to sitting up to ensure he or she is developing well physically, mentally and behaviourally.
You won’t believe just how they must they change over the first year and it really is a joy to watch and be part of all these lovely milestones.
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