Right when the baby is formed in the womb, the journey of motherhood begins. It comes with its joys, fears, travails and much more that you can’t feasibly expect. Seeing your child grow up to become an adult is a canvas of joy, filled with countless memories to cherish for the rest of your life.
The future of our society relies on the babies today. This means that the overall wellness of these children is essential for the sustenance of society.
The World Health Organization and other health related bodies have continually reiterated the importance of protecting infants and children from all forms of ailment causing activities as children are more susceptible to malnutrition and various infectious diseases that can be prevented or effectively treated.
Therefore, the information you will read below serves as a guide in protecting your baby and keeping it developing at a healthy and normal rate.
Things to expect as your baby develops
The first year of a child’s life is very crucial to their learning skills, health, and overall development. One apparent fact that nursing parents particularly must note is that each baby is unique and develops at a different pace. Some children mature earlier than others, with their bodies requiring different nutritional levels.
But generally, from 6-14 months most babies become more conscious of their environment and eventually start picking up basic control skills such as clapping, blabbing, and movements.
Babies are known to grow fastest in their first year. By the time your baby celebrates their first birthday, their weight is usually about three times more than their birth weight, and they are one and a half times taller than they were at birth.
Expected Weight Gain
Within the first six months a baby is expected to gain 1-2 pounds per month and from months 6-12, the baby is expected to have a monthly weight gain of ½ a kilogram. In length, a baby becomes an inch taller from 1-6 months and becomes ½ an inch taller from 6-12 months.
For a newborn baby, the first few days to four weeks is a time of significant adjustments for the parents. It’s commonly full of sleepless nights, crying, breastfeeding, etc. Each day offers a new experience for both the baby and the parents. The baby develops new skills to survive in the new environment.
That also helps the mother assess how well the baby is growing and whether or not there are any concerns. You should be using all available ways to track your baby’s growth, such as easily monitoring how much breast milk they are consuming if you happen to have chosen a breast pump as your means of feeding.
The second month comes with exciting developmental milestones and learning for both mother and child. As a mother, you get to bond with your child in a special way as your little one gives you a little taste of their personality. You get to know what agitates them and what puts a smile on their face; how they behave when hungry, sleepy, or uncomfortable or when they need a diaper change.
At 3-6 months, your baby develops socially and emotionally; the baby is able to maintain eye contact with you, smiles a lot, giggles now and then, and shows a lot of interest in the surrounding environment.
At 4 - 6 months, parents must learn to create regular routines for the baby; eating patterns and sleeping patterns to aid sleeping through the night.
By the ninth month, most babies will have started crawling, and some by this time are able to stand while some will have begun walking. At this stage, a baby can also easily change their position and sit down without needing much support. Babies can also play with objects, try to imitate people around them, make gestures, differentiate voices, maintain gaze or follow movement, and babble incoherently. Some babies will have said their first word by this time.
By the twelfth month, babies are more active, attempt to walk and run, picking objects, more laughter and smiles; and can somewhat express feelings and displeasure by saying yes or no.
Summarily, children aged 1 to 12 months learn to develop the following skills:
- Ability to move all parts of the body
- Raise arms and legs
- Turn the head, crawl, sit, stand, and sometimes walk
Improved Hand and Eye movement:
- They can grasp a person’s finger
- Put an object in the mouth
- Follow movements with the eyes while turning the neck
- Differentiate between faces
- Make facial expressions of surprise, approval/ disapproval, etc.
Babbling and vocalizing:
- At this stage of development they can squeal, laugh, babble, and gargle
- They can distinguish between voices
For better child development, several key things must be kept in mind as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP):
- Learn to give physical contact to your baby (hugs and kisses)
- Communicate very often, both verbally and emotionally with your baby and observe their temperament. Do this by talking, singing, rubbing your baby's head, stroking the tip of the nose, looking into the baby's eyes, etc.
- Provide visual aids that will encourage play, steers, and curiosity. That could be objects of different shapes and sizes
As mentioned earlier, each child is unique and will develop these skills at their own pace. On the other hand, parents must be very observant and learn the skills needed to help their baby develop correctly.
Lastly, we know that taking care of your baby and always focusing on his or her development is a tough task, but remember to try and find the time to exercise and take care of your own health too. You`ll find it much easier to raise your baby if you are feeling great also!
About the author:
Natalie is a general physician by day and mommy blogger by night. She loves sharing her knowledge of pregnancy and childcare on her website Maternity at Home - check out her blog for more great resources from Natalie!