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Understanding the milestones of growth in your babys life

Understanding the milestones of growth in your baby’s life

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The growth and development of your baby begins much before her birth. In fact, it begins when the baby is in the mother’s womb. Almost all the major organs are formed and begin to function by the birth of the baby. Post-natal development of a baby is mainly related to cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills along with organ maturation. The size of the organs and their functionalities also change as an adaptation to life in the outside world.

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Various stages of your baby’s growth and development:

Depending upon the attributes they show, the growth and development of a baby may be classified into the certain areas. All through her initial years, she goes through various stages of development, like physical, cognitive, social, emotional etc.

Physical growth and development:

Your baby grows very fast in the first six months of her life and almost doubles her body weight by end of 6 months and triples her weight by end of 1 year.

First six months: 
In the course of first six months, the baby also develops head control and may begin to sit with support. As your baby grows, she gradually gains control over various parts of her body and begins to use them. She begins to sit independently by 6 months and tries to move.1

8 months: 

She begins crawling and moving around by 8 months. Your baby also starts teething by 4-7 months of age and teeth begin to erupt out in sets and phases.1,2

10 and 11 months: 

By 10 months, she begins to stand and tries to move or shift her position by 11 months.1

12 months: 

By 12 months, she begins to walk around, initially with support and gradually, independently.1

18 months: 

By the time she is 18 months, she is able to chase you all around the house and may also try to walk fast.1

20-24 months: 

By 20-24 months, she begins to run all over.1

Gross motor development:

Gross motor development indicates the development of reflexes, gaining control over the body and gaining co-ordination between different parts of the body, for example, the ability to hold the mother’s finger while walking in the park, gaining hand-eye co-ordination in an effort to pick up a toy, the ability to grasp the toy to pick it up, the ability to hold a spoon and bring it close to her mouth, etc. The gross fine motor skill development is gradual and occurs at its own pace. For example, a new born baby needs to be supported by you when you are breastfeeding her.

3 months:

By the age of 3 months, she may begin to latch onto the breast properly, without needing continuous support.3

6 months: 

By the age of 6 months, the baby may begin to hold and place the breast properly in her mouth without your support, when held close.1

9 months: 

By the age of 9 months, she is able to hold a finger food in between her first finger and thumb, by herself (the grasp called as pincer grasp) and she may begin to hold the spoon.1,3

13 months:

Gradually, your baby is able to hold a cup with both her hands by the age of 13 months at various stages of infancy.4

18 months: 

By the age of 18 months, your baby begins to pull the bowl of food close to her using her palm.1

19-20 months: 

By the age of 19-20 months, your baby is able to hold the spoon, fill it and bring it to the mouth, though there may be a lot of spilling.3

24 months: 

By the age of 24 months, the baby is able to feed herself.3

Cognitive development:

The baby also attains mental growth, intelligence, responsiveness, and perceptual capabilities. This is termed as the cognitive development of your baby. 70% of adult’s brain size is developed by the age of 1 year. Your baby’s brain attains 80%  of adult brain by the age of  2 years and the rest of the brain then develops gradually in the coming years.

1 1/2 to 2 months: 

By the time the baby is 2 months old, she can recognize the family members and she is also able to differentiate her mother from other people.1

2 months: 

By the time the baby is 2 months old, she begins to exchange smiles and show responses such as interest and disinterest. 4

3 months: 

By 3 months, the baby begins to respond to her name and turn around to familiar voices.1

6 months: 

By the time your baby is 6 months, she is able to distinguish family from strangers or visitors. By this age, she also begins to make out voices to attract you and to talk to you.1

8-9 months: 

By 8-9 months, she begins to make out rhyming sounds.1

12 months: 

She is able to copy your actions by 12 months of age. She may also begin to bring books to you to read and also begin to point out at familiar objects while you read to her.1

18 months: 

At 18 months, your baby is able to name the things she knows and when she sees them in books or elsewhere.1

20-24 months: 

By the time your baby is 20-24 months, her memory is developed and she begins to retain things and actions.1

Oral motor skills:

As an adaptation to eating external food, the body of the baby also undergoes certain changes. The baby’s tongue adapts and the hand-to-mouth co-ordination develops.

6-7 months: 

At the age of 6 months, your baby is able to push out food from the mouth with the tongue. By the time, she is 7 months she is able to use her upper lip to clear food off the spoon.3

14-16 months: 

By the time your baby is 14-16 months, she is able to chew well and swallow the food.3

19 months: 

By the time the baby is 19 months, she is able to bite off the right amount of food, even if the foods are of different textures and thicknesses.3

24 months: 

By 24 months, she is able to move her jaws well in order to adjust and chew on larger bites and she is able to eat food all by herself by now.3

Hunger cues:

At different stages, babies show different signs of hunger. When a baby is born, the only thing she knows to express herself is by crying and this she uses to show that she is hungry.

First 6 months: 

Until 6 months, she uses crying to express hunger. Some babies may also begin to suck on their fists when they are hungry.4

At 6-7 months: 

At 6-7 months, the baby begins to open her mouth to show her hunger and she may try to reach out to mother’s breast or food when she is hungry.1

10 months: 

By the time she is 10 months old, she begins to recognize her food and points at it when she is hungry.3

12-13 months: 

Your baby tries to name the food and make out sounds familiar to the name of the food by the time she is12-13 months.3

18 months: 

By 18 months, she can specifically make actions and sounds and speak out small words to express her hunger. So now she combines these skills to let you know that she is hungry and needs to eat a particular food of her choice.1,3

24 months: 

By 24 months, she is able to speak sentences to tell you that she is hungry and needs the food of her choice.4

Fullness cues:

Similar to the signs of hunger, babies also develop the skills to show that they are full.

New born: 

Your new born baby would stop sucking when she is full. 3

2 months:

By 2 months, she releases the breast. 3

4 months:

By 4 months, your baby turns away from food while feeding. 3

12 months:

By 12 months, your baby starts to throw food or gets distracted by toys during mealtimes. 3

14 months:

By 14 months, your baby starts to move away from food or meal table3

Meeting the developmental milestone at an age varies from child to child. So, do not worry if your baby has not met the milestone yet, just give her some time. You can even consult your pediatrician.

A well-balanced diet during pregnancy and exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life helps ensures optimum growth and development of your baby.5 However, after 6 months, your baby’s energy and nutrient requirements increase due to rapid growth and development. Breastfeeding alone is insufficient to meet these high energy and nutrient requirements. Therefore, it is important to provide your baby with food from different food groups and nutrient dense complementary foods to fill the energy and nutrient gap. Complementary foods rich in vitamins and minerals are essential to meet your baby’s increasing nutrient needs and well-being.6 Feeding your baby only with foods mainly prepared from staples, legumes and grains may not provide all the nutrients in adequate quantities to support her growth.7,8 Therefore, include nutrient-dense fortified foods in your baby’s diet to help bridge the nutrient gap and to support her growth and overall well-being.

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