Baby’s Growth and Milestone
It’s a wonderful feeling to see your baby grow each day, right from the moment he opens his eyes, flashes his first smile, takes his first step or says his first words. But, at the same time, you must realize that each baby is unique and will grow at his own pace. Some babies may be fast learners whereas others may take a little longer. If you’re worried about his learning pace at any point, you can always contact your doctor.
A child’s growth and development largely depend on the love, attention, interaction, and support that he receives from his parents in the initial stages of his life. In other words, it’s important to establish a close bond with your baby for his healthy development. Talk and play games with him to foster his sense of understanding and help him to discover himself. Try to make your child feel loved and secure by giving him all the encouragement he needs.
As your child tries to become independent, encourage him to do what he can on his own. Allow him to explore his surroundings by providing a safe environment. Keep all hazardous and harmful objects out of his reach. Help him learn how to think and make decisions by giving him choices, like between two food items, clothes or toys.
One month to 36 months
At One Month
When a newborn arrives in the world, he cannot identify anything except for his basic needs for food, warmth and love. By the time he completes one month and is able to keep his eyes open for a slightly longer period, he will gradually start to recognize his immediate caretaker. He may also stare at objects for a brief period and respond to sounds. A baby attains complete hearing maturity by the end of his first month.
At Two Months
By the middle of the second month, your baby’s actions will start becoming more noticeable.
You will notice him smiling more often. He may even make an attempt to make sounds in forms of coos and gurgles, initiating his first response to your conversation with him. He may be able to lift his head a little when laid on his tummy.
Babies in general drool a lot during the first two to three months since they produce excess saliva. They tend to smear it on their clothes, so it is helpful to use a bib. But do remember to take it off when your little one is sleeping.
You will also notice that baby stays awake for longer intervals during the day now, so he may start sleeping longer at night. When awake, he will be able to follow moving objects in front of him.
At Three Months
By three months, your baby may begin to move and experiment with his limbs, like stretching or keeping his fingers open for a while. He may also manage to roll from his side to his back and vice-versa, though it will take another month or more for him to completely roll over.
Between Four to Six Months:
At four months, your baby may be able to grasp soft and small toys in his hands as his fingers will have become slightly more flexible. He will also try to play with his hands and feet.
Between the fourth and fifth months, you can introduce your child to solid foods. This will also help him to gradually develop a taste for different types of food.
Although your baby does not understand the exact meaning of your words, he will be able to understand you through your emotions, expressions and the tone of your voice. He will be able to respond to his name and probably turn his head towards you when you call him. He may also develop emotional preferences for people who stay around him and go to them more willingly.
The little one’s visual acuity becomes better by this time as he can differentiate between colors. Normally, it takes almost six to eight months for an infant’s eye sight to fully develop like that of an adult. He can now slowly follow objects in a vertical motion too. In fact, this is a good time to introduce your little one to bright colored pictures, letters, photos, toys and even books.
You will also notice that your baby has developed interests like gazing at a moving ceiling fan, an animal in front of him, and kids playing in the park. By the sixth month, he may also be able to track moving objects pretty well.
Do get your child’s eyes checked regularly by your doctor to ensure its structure, alignment and movement are fine. If an issue is detected, it will be easier to get it corrected at this stage.
Between Seven to Nine Months
Between seven to nine months, your baby will become more active and will love to be occupied with games, like trying to recover a hidden toy from under a cushion or a pillow, or pulling his string toys back and forth. His interest in toys will last for a longer period of time at this stage.
He will be able to differentiate voice tones and will probably cry if you speak to him harshly. He will start understanding simple requests and instructions like ‘no’, ‘sit’, and ‘don’t cry’, for example.
He may be able to support his back and sit without any help, rock back and forth, or even start to crawl if you put him on his belly. Some infants do not go through the phase of crawling and suddenly start standing up or walking.
Your baby may have already started on finger foods, so now you can also try to give him a small plastic cup (with a spout and two handles) to drink from. You can even try to make him drink from a cup.
Between eight and nine months, he may start to jabber, or even utter his first clear words. He may be able to pull himself up and stand for a few seconds while holding your hand or a chair. By now, he will start using his hands in various ways, like waving goodbye or indicating his wants by gestures.
Between Ten to Twelve Months
By the time your child reaches a year, you will be able to learn and respond to his moods. He may become temperamental and insist that his demands are met.
He will tend to mimic many of your actions, for instance, the way you speak over the telephone.
He will probably graduate to taking a few steps or even start walking alone. Some children can also bend over and pick objects up.
This is also a time when your baby may start developing separation anxiety. He will tend to get distressed if he doesn’t see you around for a long time or may feel insecure or scared in the company of unfamiliar people.
Between 13 to 16 Months
Your little one will start exhibiting many interests. As he starts to discover himself, you will probably notice him admiring himself in front of the mirror at times; this behavior is more common if you have a baby girl.
At the same time, as his motor (brain) skills are developing at a faster rate, he will be able to comprehend language better. He will also be able to respond to instructions. If asked about a body part, he will be able to point it out correctly. He will try to express his needs by combining a couple of words with gestures. By 16 months, he will be able to turn pages and enjoy going through colorful books, so you can keep handy different kinds of bright pictorial books of fruits, vegetables, animals, and even short stories.
His motor development will continue as you may find him running around the house at the first chance he gets. You will need to keep an eye on him, so that he doesn’t hurt himself.
He will tend to initiate or create games on his own. One game that particularly interests most children, irrespective of gender, is performing household chores. You can actually start teaching him to help around the house, like taking an empty glass from you and keeping it on the center table, or putting an object in its right place.
With time, he will tend to become more adamant and may refuse to listen to you. He will throw tantrums when irritated. He will also become more possessive about his toys and belongings.
He will become more observant by now and will be able to learn to use common objects properly. Thus, this will be an appropriate time to teach him how to use a spoon or fork. You can also start teaching him the basics of toilet training.
Between 17 to 23 Months
During this period, your child will acquire newer skills and develop various interests, playing more than one game, throwing and kicking balls, stacking blocks, and sorting toys by color, size and shape. He will start showing interest in music and dance. Children, like adults, seem to have their own preferences regarding songs and music.
He will learn to talk and communicate with others. He may be able to speak words with more clarity than before. He will be more willing to make friends and enjoy the company of children both his age and those older than him.
Your toddler already loves colorful pictures, and now that he has started speaking, you can help him read books. He may also develop an interest in drawing or painting during this period.
Between 24 to 28 Months
Between the age of two and three years, a child’s memory improves and attention span lengthens. He is able to note and register everything around him.
His vocabulary will increase to about 70 to 80 words. He will also begin to understand cause and affect relationships. His curiosity will lead him to ask questions like ‘what’ and ‘why’, several times a day. He will be able to recognize and speak some alphabets, some numbers and even some colors.
He will be able to use two to three phrases by now. He will enjoy talking about himself and his favourite toys.
He will also begin to understand abstract concepts and become attuned to distinguishing between gender traits.
His walking will improve, and he will be able to climb up and down the stairs in addition to jumping. He may also be able to open the doors with handles.
Between 29 to 36 Months
During this phase, your child will start showing signs of becoming more independent.
Since he is ready to mingle with others, he may not mind staying away from his parents for a couple of hours. He may also manage to make one or two special friends. However, there are children who are a little reticent and prefer their personal space.
Some children may still be possessive about their toys and belongings, but this shouldn’t be a cause of worry. As children grow and socialize more, they will learn to enjoy sharing their possessions.
Your baby will be able to manage some of his personal chores like brushing his teeth, washing and drying his hands, and putting on clothes by himself. By three years of age, you will find him running around the house. He may also be ready to ride a tricycle.
As his vocabulary increases, he will be able to engage in simple conversations more clearly. He will also begin to express a wide range of emotions on different occasions.
By the time he completes three years, he will have a fairly developed sense of regular rituals and activities, like house-cleaning, time-telling, his parents going to work, and shopping.
Your child will start developing a better understanding of how to treat others by observing your actions and social behavior.