It is indeed a delight to watch your baby grow from a newborn to an infant; then to a toddler and preschooler. The most difficult among all these stages is infancy, where the parents are worried about little things. The first year of a baby's life is full of tremendous changes, and each one can be considered a milestone in itself.
There is a basic developmental chart which enlists the developmental milestones of a baby, during his/her first year. This chart provides a brief list of the milestones to be achieved by a baby, from his first month to the twelfth.
However, the developmental rate may vary from one infant to another. So, it is not wise to compare your baby with others. Parents must be patient in this matter and compare the milestones achieved by the baby, month by month.
By the end of the first month, babies can bring their hands to the face, move their head side to side, respond to loud noises, get familiarized with the voices of their parents, may turn towards familiar sounds or voices, and blink at bright light.
At this age, babies don't possess the strength to keep their head upright. So, the parents have to support their neck while lifting them. Skin to skin contact is the most effective means to make them feel secure. Hold them, rock them to sleep or massage them gently.
They can bat at objects or grasp them. They may suck fingers and identify faces. The baby may start smiling too. They may move their arms and legs more smoothly, instead of the former jerky movements.
Month 3: During the third month, infants get adjusted to the new world and become comfortable with their surroundings. They get settled to their daily schedule which can give the parents some much-needed rest. Till now, they would have slept for small intervals only. The stretch of sleep may also get extended up to five or six hours, especially during night.
Their cries reduce and they start communicating with sounds. They may follow people with their eyes and respond to noises. They can open and close their hands and reach for dangling toys. They may try to hold objects or toys and shake them.
Their sleeping time reduces to around 15 hours a day, but they may sleep for longer durations. They may start identifying colors, especially the dark ones. Communication skills develop, as they make different sounds for different purposes. Some babies may try to roll over during this period and some others may sit with support.
They may hold objects and move them from one hand to another. Their vision improves, and they will be able to see objects at a distance. They may start babbling too. In some infants, teething may begin at this stage.
Month 6: During the sixth month, babies may sit without support, and they move independently. Usually, babies attain double their birth weight at this stage. They can roll over from their back to their stomach and vice versa, in a more smooth manner.Some babies may try to rise on their hands and knees, but may not start crawling.
Month 7: During the seventh month, they may start creeping, scooting, rolling, or crawling. While some babies try all these movements, others may try any one or two. Their eating habits improve as they can easily hold a glass or eat from a spoon. They will be strong enough to stand on their legs with support.
Signs of teething, like drooling, may develop. They may get irritable and fussier too. You have to be careful, while introducing new food items to the baby, as he may develop symptoms of food allergy. By this time, babies know how to chew food, and how to show disgust to a particular food. They can sit unsupported and recognize names.
Their grasping and chewing skills develop, and they may also show their likes and dislikes regarding food. Some babies may start using basic words and listen to familiar words. During this stage, babies can pick up and hold objects properly.
Month 9: By this time, babies crawl freely. They may even crawl up or down the stairs. You can see them holding some toy in one hand and crawling with the help of other hand and knees.
They may develop strong attachment to objects, like toys and blankets. They may become more efficient in using day-to-day items, like spoons, cups and hairbrush. They sleep less during the daytime and more at night.
This is only a brief overview about the development of infants. A basic idea about developmental milestones of babies, may prove beneficial. If you find any delay in the development of your baby, consult the doctor.
Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.