Infants - Development From Birth to 6 Months
It may not always seem like it, but from the moment your baby is born she's growing and developing all the time. From now until the age of 6 months, she'll develop certain skills, grow stronger and begin to interact socially - even though she'll have no language - with the people around her. This is a very exciting time for parents, as with every little development milestone, you get a small preview of the child your baby will become.
Infant Development Milestones
From the age of 0 to 6 months, your baby will go through lots of changes. These are referred to as infant development milestones, and are indications that your baby is healthy and growing normally. Babies are individuals just like grownups, so don't be alarmed if your baby is a little "late" in reaching a certain milestone. Keep in close contact with your pediatrician. He or she will be able to advise you as to what are normal development expectations for your infant. Infant pictures and development charts online will also help you to determine if your baby's development is normal.
From Newborn to 3 Months
In the first three months of life, your baby may:
- Learn to lift her head while lying on her tummy
- Roll from her side to onto her back
- Grasp things that are held in front of her
- Respond to sounds with facial expressions or subtle changes in behavior
- Learn to focus her vision on your face
- Smile, blow saliva bubbles and make cooing noises when you interact with her
From 4 To 6 Months
In the two months that follow until your baby is half a year old, she will probably:
- Be able support her own head, or even sit up or crawl
- Grab things within her range of vision and put them in her mouth
- Be fascinated by bright lights and colors, and be able to differentiate between the faces of adults she knows and adults she doesn't
- Start babbling as an early form of speech, and even recognizing your speech patterns - she may respond to her name
Obviously, the care you give to infants differs a lot from the care you give to toddlers and older kids. All children need love, nourishment and parental supervision, but infants between 0 and 6 months are particularly vulnerable and totally dependent on their parents for survival. What you feed your baby, how you dress her, and the environment in which you raise her, all have the potential to affect her health and possibly her development too.
The experts all agree that breastfeeding is best for infants up to 6 months and if possible for the whole first year of your baby's life. Of course, sometimes breastfeeding isn't possible, which is why the availability of safe and healthy infant formula throughout the United States is a source of relief for many parents. Baby formula for infants comes in special, non-allergenic brands for infants who can't tolerate soy or dairy products, so even the most sensitive babies under 6 months will have a source of safe, nutritious food.
There are lots of infant toys on the market which actually encourage development and the improvement of infant motor skills. You'll find toys designed to keep your baby occupied and soothe her - such as mobiles with music and lights - these help your baby's vision to develop and encourage her to focus her eyesight on objects in front of her. Product safety is very important when it comes to infant toys, especially because after a certain stage, most things she gets her hands on are going to end up in her mouth. Buy toys from a well-known and respected baby toy manufacturer, which are specifically aimed at babies in your infant's age group. Avoid giving her anything with sharp or detachable, small components.
Your infant's clothing should be comfortable, fit snugly and not make her too warm or too cold, especially while sleeping. Some parents choose to buy organic baby clothes only because the materials used to make this clothing are free of chemicals. As of yet, however, there is no definitive proof that organic baby clothing prevents allergies or baby skin conditions.