11 milestones in baby's development
Parents watch development of their baby, record it, and are proud, but they also worry when they notice any delays, treat by them as a warning signal that their baby is outside the standard. Very often unnecessarily, because standard time frames for learning new skills are wide. However, what is important is that developmental progress occurs and individual skills come roughly one after another, because learning of some skills establishes foundations for the next stage.
Let's have a look at more important milestones in baby's development - new skills that appear naturally at a given development stage.
1. Reaction to environment
Milestones are skills learned by the baby at the time appropriate for him. Time frames within which the baby should learn them are wide. So give your baby time, let him proceed at his own pace. Incorrectly understood support of development: propping with pillows, early standing on legs, walkers, can do a lot of harm and affect further development.
Already a one-month old baby interacts with his environment: stops crying when he is lifted, looks into a face of a speaking person or of his mum during feeding, turns his head and face towards light, follows a toy with his eyes. Even such a small baby signals his needs to you, and you, living in some kind of symbiosis with him, learn to satisfy them.
A specific speech of the baby about two–three months old. These are guttural sounds, mainly velar, such as "gli, kli, tli, gu, gla". At the beginning they are spontaneous, but later become a sign of baby's good mood and pleasure to see a familiar person.
3. Head and chest lifting
Baby's constant mobility is a continuous training for his muscles. Therefore, it is important to provide the infant with an option to train various groups of body muscles by placing him in different positions. By putting the baby on his tummy you provide him with an opportunity to train muscles in his chest and neck. This is crowned by independent lifting of head and chest around the third–fourth month. The baby supports himself with his hands and lifts his head. At the beginning, he resembles a bobblehead dog - a toy placed in a back window of a car, but with exercises the head becomes stable and the baby gains a new perspective for observing the world, and a starting position for its exploration.
Around the third month of his life the baby can hold things put in his hands, but a conscious, planned grasp appears around sixth month of life. The baby grasps an object with his palm and thumb, puts it in his mouth, attempts to manipulate it, transfers it from one hand to the other.
5. Rolling over
Rolling over from his tummy onto his back, and the other way round, is a skill learned by the baby around sixth month of his life. At the beginning the baby turns very clumsily, as if being surprised by a change in his position himself, later he hones this skill and consciously uses it to achieve some objective, e.g., to reach a toy.
During development of the speech organ, around the sixth month of the baby's life, cooing changes into babbling. The baby repeats and mimics sounds around him, utters sounds, syllables, experiments with sounds, their melody and sound intensity. There is one piece of bad news, however - even when the speech of the six-months old baby sounds like mama, dada or nana, causing parents' delight, it still does not have a distinguishing and indicative meaning.
It is often preceded by creeping (around sixth–eighth month), that is, a movement in which the baby uses strength of his arms to pull his body. You should ensure he does not stop there and goes through the crawling stage (eighth–ninth month), that is, alternate work of hands and legs. This alternate movement, being a very important achievement in coordination, has a very positive effect on brain function, and in particular, on connections between hemispheres, contributing to binocular vision, binaural hearing, coordination of left and right hands and legs, which in the future will help the child at school.
8. Sitting up
Roughly around the same time (eight–ninth month of life) the baby learns to sit up. This position is very attractive for the baby, as his hands are free to play, and he can observe his surroundings, so he will naturally strive to achieve it. And take it easy, he will do it himself, when his muscles, skeleton and joints are ready for that. Any acceleration, by seating him in a lap of an adult, or propping with pillows, does not help the baby, and can even be harmful.
9. Pulling himself to a standing position
Parents usually interpret this correctly, as a signal that soon the baby will start walking. Pulling himself up and standing at furniture is a temporary stage, an exercise preparing the baby for walking. With each day the baby is more sure on his feet and stands longer, and then he cruises the furniture stepping from side to side.
10. Reaction to his name
A one-year old baby starts to react to his name. He also understand simple commands, particularly, supported by a specific context. Majority of children start to consciously use simple names, most often mum or dad.
It starts with uncertain, wobbly steps, short trips to the nearest object, to which the baby can hold using it as a support. And soon, so delightful rushing into mum's or dad's arms follows. Walking is the skill possibly most impatiently awaited by parents. However, it should not be rushed. Against all appearances, it is a very complicated activity requiring coordination, trained balance, and strong muscles in baby's back, hips and legs.
You should know that time frames for the toddler to master walking are wide, from twelfth to eighteenth month of his life, and any attempts to rush it, such as walkers, or walking by the hand, can overload the bone-joint system, damage ligaments and joints, and this may later require orthopaedic assistance. Also here, the principle is simple: the baby will start to walk when he is ready for it, and he will start, because he really wants it himself and has been striving to achieve this by mastering successive skills.