Infant Development - Milestones And Development Stages
Infant development to 7 months is a fascinating and happy time for parents and babies - that doesn't mean it's worry-free though. Many parents are very anxious to know that their own baby is developing at the same rate as other children in his age group, or at least within the expected norms for the improvement of motor skills, hand-eye coordination, etc. It's important to keep in mind that no baby is exactly like another. Therefore, their infant development stages are going to be just as individual as them. Parents should try not to worry or become overly stressed if baby development in their case is going a little slower than in other families they see around them. The best way to know if your infant is developing normally is to know roughly what the expectations are. That way, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you should see your pediatrician about a development-related issue.
Infant Growth Charts
You can probably request an infant growth chart from your pediatrics clinic to take home with you. Failing that, you'll find one online by means of a simple internet search. Infant growth charts tell you what is the expected level of weight gain and height/length for babies of your infant's age. Infant growth charts online often come in a colorful, interactive format that give you not only the growth statistics, but also descriptions of infant milestones. They tell you what your baby should be able to do by now (grasp things with his hand, turn his head towards you when you call his name, etc.) and what exciting new things you can expect him to start doing in the days and weeks ahead. It's truly a magical time, when most parents don't want to miss a thing - an infant growth chart helps you to make sure that you take it all in. Of course, making your own infant growth chart, to record the milestones your baby has already achieved, is a fun way of keeping track of his development and of creating a wonderful keepsake to look back on in later years.
One of the many important factors in parental support for health infant development is of course infant feeding. What you feed your baby at this stage supports his growth, weight gain and his overall health.
Most people are aware by now that breastfeeding is considered by expert pediatricians to be the last word in healthy baby food. Not only does breast milk contain all the nutrients a baby needs to grow and flourish for the first 6 months of his life, it also contains important antibodies that help a baby to fight off illness. Experts recommend breast milk as the sole nutritional source for at least the first half a year of a child's life. After 6 or 7 months, most babies are ready to move on to solid foods, but if a mother is able to continue breastfeeding in combination with solids, she should do so until her baby is 1 year old.
Of course, breast feeding is not always possible, for a variety of reasons. In this case, infant formula is the best substitute for breast milk. In the United States, all the infant formula brands on sale have been FDA-approved for infant feeding. Different types of formula are available for babies with allergies, babies who have a lot of gas, etc. A great many infants thrive thanks to formula feeding just as well as their breastfed counterparts.
Toddler And Child Development
Toddler development milestones can be even more exciting than those of the infant stage as your child starts formulating speech and you learn even more about his personality. Child development milestones at this stage include, among others:
- Understanding speech of other people
- Drawing and early writing attempts
- Self care (brushing his own teeth, taking off his own clothes, holding a fork and spoon)
There are just as many online resources and milestone charts for toddler development as there are for infant development, so you should look on the internet for full details of what you can expect. Furthermore, attend pediatrician appointments regularly - your doctor will let you know if your child has a development problem which needs to be addressed.