Is my baby developing normally?
All new parents worry if their baby is developing the way they should be and many aren’t really sure when babies should start doing what. To put your mind at rest, here are five baby milestones which you can use as a guide for your little one.
When you hold a newborn baby it is always very important to support their head. This is because when they are tiny, they have no way of controlling their neck muscles, which are very weak. However, at about a month old they should be learning to lift their head up and at about 3-4 months they should be able to hold their head up when propped up in a sitting position. Until then it is always best to support your babies head at all times.
Many babies learn to crawl between seven and 10 months and it is the first sign they are becoming more mobile and independent. There are several stages to learning to crawl from working out how to pull themselves up onto their hands and knees, to balancing, to learning to move forward. When your baby learns to crawl your job becomes far more difficult as they will explore every nook and cranny, touching and eating anything they can get their hands on!
Parents can’t wait to see their baby take their first few steps and when they do it is always cause for celebration. It can also happen in the blink of an eye and one minute they are shuffling around holding on to things as they go and the next they are taking their first unsteady steps. Babies normally take their first steps at around 9-12 months, but it can take another two or three months before they are confidently walking around on their own. A baby’s muscle strength determines when they are going to walk and whether their legs are ready to support their body or not. There is huge scope in the timescale babies achieve this, so don’t worry too much. If your baby is crawling it is only a matter of time!
Your baby learns to talk from the minute they are born, but won’t utter their first word until they are 14-18 months old. They will start babbling and experimenting with sounds from 4-6 months, becoming more and more animated each month until they say their first word. You can encourage this behaviour by talking back to them, reading to them and involving them in conversations. They will be listening to what you say constantly and trying to replicate the sounds you make -- it is a fairly long learning process but they will get there. At 20-24 months there is no stopping them and they’ll learn new words every day, form sentences and understand what you are saying to them.
A baby’s first tooth can appear at any time between the ages of 4-7 months and you will be able to notice a little white hard cap poking through their gums. Your baby may find this process quite painful so could cry and look very uncomfortable. However, it is simply part of the developing process and nothing to worry about. There is a huge amount of medication and over the counter treatment for teething babies, so you will be able to alleviate any nasty symptoms. Once the first tooth has appeared, more and more will pop through, and at the age of 3, your child should have a full set of pearly whites ready to be cared for and brushed every day. However, it is important to remember that babies all develop at different rates so if your baby isn’t talking, walking or eating solids when you expect, don’t panic, simply pop to your doctor's to talk it through with him.