Your Baby’s First 12 Months of Growth & Development

Your Baby's First 12 months of Growth & Development

As a first time mother, in spite of all my Early Childhood development courses in college, I was curious and somewhat anxious to know how my newborn was growing physically, emotionally, mentally and verbally.

Was he meeting the expectations of the modern medical community?

Was I nurturing enough on a consistent basis to anticipate and satisfy his needs?

Was he progressing at  a healthy, “normal” rate with his skills?

I actually copied an Infant Growth & Development  Chart from a Pediatric  Medical Journal so I could checklist his gains and successes without worrying too much about unchecked characteristics.

It was actually comforting to have a reference guide to assure and calm any apprehensions I was experiencing about my little sprout (which he was far from being at birth, weighing in at 8lbs. 7oz. and 21.5″ long).

He walked very early, never really crawling. and although he babbled, words came later than the “experts” predicted. But when he did start talking, his communication skills were crystal clear and kind of long-winded for such a “little” guy! Even as a grown up, he’s not a big talker, unless he really has something large to say.

These are personality traits, not growth or development skills. BIG difference!

Your baby’s personality SHINES through every day regardless of the G & D chart checklist! Each baby is SO different in SO many ways!

HOW I CONSTRUCTED THE CHARTS

While researching a variety of Growth & Development charts from several sources, including authorities in the fields of pediatrics as well as neo-natal and early childhood specialists,  I decided to combine a few.

I, also. want to include  this DISCLAIMER:

Caring, present, and nurturing parents are significantly the most important influences in the progression of a child’s growth.

Yes, genetics, nutrition and environment can all play interconnected roles, contributing to the potential of your child. However, each child is born with individual gifts to share with you and the world. One of your main goals as a parent is to make sure opportunities are available, so your child will  experience the encouragement and confidence necessary for those gifts to be explored and expressed.

CHART GROWTH & DEVELOPMENTAL CATEGORIES WITHIN AGE GROUPS

Most  G & D charts are divided into 4 categories:

  • Physical or Motor Skills-moves body with awareness & control
  • Language or Communication– verbalizes needs/wants, reacts to sounds & sights
  • Thinking or Cognition– recognizes & responds to different people, things & environments
  • Social or Emotional-watches & responds to his/her own body as well as familiar people

And because newborns can change from day to day, I constructed 4 G & D charts, one for every 3 months of age.

  • Birth to 3 months
  • 3 to 6 months
  • 6 to 9 months
  • 9 to 12 months

I am listing General Characteristics (Physical, Language, Thinking & Social) for each group and, then, specifics in the charts :

BIRTH TO THREE MONTHS

  • holds hands in a tight fist & head falls back without support
  • responds & reacts to speech, tone, pitch & volume
  • can see all colors & reacts to strong odors
  • watches hands & responds to touch

Physical /
Motor Skills
Language / CommunicationThinking / CognitionSocial / Emotional
makes jerky arm movementspays attention to sounds & languagestarts to focus & follow moving objectsbegins to suck fingers
raises head when on stomachcommunicates with crying, babbling & laughingprefers bright colorsface expresses emotions
moves head from side to side when on stomachtries to mimic soundscan see within 13 inchesexpresses comfort & pleasure with familiar people
begins sucking & graspingcan taste sweet, sour, bitter & saltyrecognizes own arms, legs

THREE TO SIX MONTHS

  • becomes stronger & more alert; grasps & puts objects in mouth
  • recognizes & listens to familiar voices
  • repeats movements purposefully & coos
  • smiles more often & laughs out loud

Physical /
Motor Skills
Language / Communication Thinking / CognitionSocial / Emotional
head lag disappearsrepeats some vowel & consonant soundsbegins to recognize facesplays peek-a-boo
uses arms to prop up when on stomach"talks" to another person with body gesturesreacts to facial expressionsbegins to recognize name
uses muscles to roll over"talks"to another person using facial expressionsresponds to familiar soundsshows an interest in surroundings
plays with feet & reaches for objects"talks" to another person using soundsstarts to know routines for changing, feeding, bathing

SIX TO NINE MONTHS

  • starts reaching & pulling up
  • babbles & imitates sounds
  • stares longer at hanging objects
  • expresses more emotions & plays patty-cake

Physical /
Motor Skills
Language / Communication Thinking / CognitionSocial / Emotional
begins motions to crawlbabbling increasesknows parents vs othersshows preference for certain people
grasps & pulls objects towards selfbegins to use voice & gestures to communicate interesttries to learn how things workshow displeasure at the loss of a toy
moves objects from one hand to the otherwavesknows the difference between living & nonliving thingsmore socially interactive
sits & stands with supportchanges tone & pitch in voiceuses the size of objects for near & farwill play games

NINE TO TWELVE MONTHS

  • crawls, sits & stands
  • understands & responds to “no-no”
  • likes looking at picture books & exploring how objects work
  • begins to feed self with finger foods & waves “bye-bye”

Physical /
Motor Skills
Language / Communication Thinking / CognitionSocial / Emotional
stooping & recoveringbegins trying to say wordstries to fit objects into larger spacesstarts to hold a cup with both hands
begins to walk with assistancecan recognize names of familiar people & objects may point to pictures in booksshow displeasure when separated from parent
can roll a ball & throw objectsshows understanding with body languageresponds to simple directions with body languageimitates simple actions
will pick & drop toysmay say a few simple wordsresponds to simple questions with gesturesplays alone, happily

Whew! Please checkout BLB’s Resources  for more information on Child Growth & Development Stages through the websites and / or reference books.

If you need any other more specific tools and resources regarding Child Development, please fill out & email the Contact Me form with your questions and/or concerns. Contact Me is NOT a subscriber form.  I’ll be glad to help if I can.

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