It’s most exciting to watch your baby turning from a helpless bundle into an independent little individual with a personality all her own.
Many parents worry that their child isn’t making progress “on time”. The best way to make sure that your baby is on track with her developmental milestones is to take her for regular check-ups with your paediatrician or baby clinic sister.
Go for regular check-ups
They’ll check your baby’s physical development, weigh and measure her, observe her and chat to you about her progress and what you should be doing to help (including checking up on her diet, especially as she moves on to solids).
Development milestones are only a guideline
Keep in mind that developmental milestones are worked out at the average age at which children acquire new skills, which means that many babies acquire the skills later, and many acquire them earlier. They are intended to serve as a guideline only, and not as a rule. Babies develop at their own pace, and a slightly slower development than average is not a reflection on her future abilities.
Development starts at the head and works its way down
At the same time, realise that because your baby is an individual, it’s quite likely that she might be simultaneously a very early talker but equally a late walker, for example. Don’t fret! It’s also helpful to understand that development starts at the head and works its way down through the body in a specific order. Your baby won’t acquire one skill before she’s developed the specific muscle control and thinking patterns that this skill needs.
How to booster development
In real terms, this means that while you can of course stimulate your baby, you can’t push her to acquire skills she’s not ready to develop. What you can do, however, is take time to play creatively with your baby, and spend lots of time in communications – both talking and listening.
Read to her, sing songs and say nursery rhymes, and babyproof certain areas and give her the freedom to explore them. Be physical with your baby: touch her, hug her, tickle her, massage her...
Consistently delayed milestones
If you do feel your baby’s milestones are consistently delayed, talk to your doctor. There may be an underlying reason for the delay, and if this is the case then the sooner you identify the cause and take action, the better.
For example, delays in talking may be linked to hearing loss and if this is the case, then once you have discovered this and taken action, your baby can start to catch up. Above all – enjoy your little one in these early, all-important months. The time will go by so quickly and when her first birthday arrives, you’ll look back in amazement at how far she’s come and how time has flown.
Go to page 2 for a list of development milestones from newborn to 3 months.
Go to page 3 for development milestones from 6 months to 12 months
Go to page 4 for developmental milestones from 12 to 36 months