Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye-bye" are called developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (like crawling, walking, or jumping).
In the first year, babies learn to focus their vision, reach out, explore, and learn about the things that are around them. Cognitive, or brain development means the learning process of memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. Learning language is more than making sounds ("babble"), or saying "ma-ma" and "da-da". Listening, understanding, and knowing the names of people and things are all a part of language development. During this stage, babies also are developing bonds of love and trust with their parents and others as part of social and emotional development. The way parents cuddle, hold, and play with their baby will set the basis for how they will interact with them and others.
Positive Parenting Tips
Following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your baby during this time:
- Talk to your baby. She will find your voice calming.
- Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will help him learn to use language.
- Read to your baby. This will help her develop and understand language and sounds. Sing to your baby and play music. This will help your baby develop a love for music and will help his brain development.
- Praise your baby and give her lots of loving attention.
- Spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This will help him feel cared for and secure.
- Play with your baby when she's alert and relaxed. Watch your baby closely for signs of being tired or fussy so that she can take a break from playing.
- Distract your baby with toys and move him to safe areas when he starts moving and touching things that he shouldn't touch.
- Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Parenting can be hard work! It is easier to enjoy your new baby and be a positive, loving parent when you are feeling good yourself.
Child Safety First
When a baby becomes part of your family, it is time to make sure that your home is a safe place. Look around your home for things that could be dangerous to your baby. As a parent, it is your job to ensure that you create a safe home for your baby. It also is important that you take the necessary steps to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally ready for your new baby. Here are a few tips to keep your baby safe:
- Do not shake your baby -- ever! Babies have very weak neck muscles that are not yet able to support their heads. If you shake your baby, you can damage his brain or even cause his death.
- Make sure you always put your baby to sleep on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (commonly known as SIDS).
- Protect your baby and family from secondhand smoke. Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home.
- Place your baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat while he is riding in a car. This is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Prevent your baby from choking by cutting her food into small bites. Also, don't let her play with small toys and other things that might be easy for her to swallow.
- Don't allow your baby to play with anything that might cover her face.
- Never carry hot liquids or foods near your baby or while holding him.
- Vaccines (shots) are important to protect your child's health and safety. Because children can get serious diseases, it is important that your child get the right shots at the right time. Talk with your child's doctor to make sure that your child is up-to-date on her vaccinations.
- Breast milk meets all your baby's needs for about the first 6 months of life. Between 6 and 12 months of age, your baby will learn about new tastes and textures with healthy solid food, but breast milk should still be an important source of nutrition.
- Feed your baby slowly and patiently, encourage your baby to try new tastes but without force, and watch closely to see if he's still hungry.
- Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your baby, but it can be challenging. If you need help, you can call the National Breastfeeding Helpline at 800-994-9662 or get help on-line at http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeedingexternal icon. You can also call your local WIC Program to see if you qualify for breastfeeding support by health professionals as well as peer counselors. Or go to http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falcexternal icon to find an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant in your community.
- Keep your baby active. She might not be able to run and play like the "big kids" just yet, but there's lots she can do to keep her little arms and legs moving throughout the day. Getting down on the floor to move helps your baby become strong, learn, and explore.
- Try not to keep your baby in swings, strollers, bouncer seats, and exercise saucers for too long.
- Limit screen time. For children younger than 18 months of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that it's best if babies do not use any screen media other than video chatting.
- Make sure your child gets the recommended amount of sleep each night: For infants 4-12 months, 12-16 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Infants (0-1 year of age)." Mar. 6, 2020. <https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/infants.html>.
Top Infants: Child Development Related Articles
Apgar ScoreThe Apgar score is a method for assessing a neonate's heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, skin color, and reflex irritability. Each of these signs is give a point value from 0-2. A perfect score of 10 means the infant is in excellent condition, while a score of 0-3 means the infant needs immediate resuscitation.
Autism SlideshowWhat is autism? Learn about the signs, symptoms, and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Get information about the causes of autism and available autism treatment options.
Babies QuizTake the Babies Quiz to learn what milestones and developments you can expect from your baby’s first year.
Better Ways to Feed Your BabyWhat tips and tricks help you introduce healthy foods to your baby's diet. Learn techniques for feeding that work for infants and young children, why babies are such messy eaters, and how your child learns by eating new foods and exploring vegetables, fruits, and other healthy meals.
Breastfeeding (and Formula Feeding)It's important to know whether you will breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby prior to delivery, as the breasts' ability to produce milk diminishes soon after childbirth without the stimulation of breastfeeding. Breast milk is easily digested by babies and contains infection-fighting antibodies and cholesterol, which promotes brain growth. Formula-fed babies actually need to eat somewhat less often since formula is less readily digested by the baby than human milk. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of feeding.
Common Infant IllnessesWatch this slideshow to see common symptoms and home treatment for infant and childhood illnesses including fever, nausea, constipation and more.
Childhood Vaccination ScheduleChildhood immunizations can protect children from potentially deadly diseases. Vaccinations included on the childhood immunization schedule include Hib, polio, DTaP, MMR, HPV, flu, chickenpox, meningitis, rotavirus, pneumonia, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.
Embryo vs. Fetus (Differences Between Stages Week by Week)The embryonic stage of pregnancy occurs from the moment of conception until the 11th week pregnancy, or first trimester. During this time the embryo develops major body structures, for example, the organs, heart, and main blood vessels. At this stage the baby's heart begins to beat. The fetal stage, or second trimester is next, and begins during the 11th week of pregnancy, and continues through to week #40. During this time the baby's organs and structures continue to develop, the fetus' gender can be identified, and fetal movement begins. The fetus is about 2 pounds by the 27th week. During the third trimester the baby is the size, and has the characteristics of a newborn. The greatest risk of miscarriage is during the very early stages of pregnancy before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
Gum Disease (Gingivitis)Gum disease is caused by plaque and may result in tooth loss without proper treatment. Symptoms and signs of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontal disease) include receding gums, bad breath and pocket formation between the teeth and gums. Treatment depends upon the stage of the gum disease, how you responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
Hemoglobin: Normal, High, Low Levels and CausesHemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein molecule in the blood, specifically in the red blood cells. High hemoglobin count may be caused by dehydration, smoking, emphysema, tumors, or abuse of Epogen. Low levels of hemoglobin may be caused by anemia, blood loss, nutritional deficiency, bone marrow problems, chemotherapy, kidney failure, or sickle cell disease.
Jaundice PictureOften, physiologic jaundice -- the type seen in most newborns -- does not require treatment. See a picture of Jaundice and learn more about the health topic.
Newborn Infant Hearing ScreeningA newborn infant hearing screening is performed before a child is discharged from the hospital. If an infant doesn't pass the test, a rescreen is performed. Detecting hearing loss at an early age increases a child's chance of having a healthy and more productive life. There are two methods of testing hearing in infants: auditory brainstem response (ABR) and otoacoustic emission (OAE). Both tests are accurate, automated, and don't require a visible response from the infant.
Parenting Guide: Healthy Principles That WorkGood parenthood isn't magical. It takes learning, dedication, and hard work. Learn how to set rules, offer love, and discipline children appropriately and set yourself on the track to becoming a better parent.
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Concentration or memory problems
Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Thrush (Oral Candidiasis)Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the Candida fungus. Symptoms of thrush include pain or difficulty swallowing, a feeling that food gets stuck in the throat, and fever.
What Are the 5 Stages of Child Development?Children undergo various changes in terms of physical, speech, intellectual and cognitive development gradually until adolescence. The five stages of child development include the newborn, infant, toddler, preschool and school-age stages.