Hi Leslie! It does sound like your son is healthy. It's really hard to tell if a child is brain damages/retarded really until they are around 4 and 5. Here is some excellent information I found in a book. I list the name lower down in this post. I'm just going to list the info for infants 0-3 months but it covers a lot older too. *1. Baby's Physical Development - your baby's weight will double by the 4th month, *If your baby looks healthy overall, he probably is. Don't be obsessive about weighing him as long as he appears to be in good physical shape and development. Make sure he's producing 8-12 wet diapers a day. 2-3 months, your baby may lift his head (gross motor skills=large muscles, he can strengthen on his stomach) from the floor while lying on his stomach. Lislie you can teach him by laying down next to him and showing him a toy and encouraging him to lift his head. You can start by getting him to follow the toy with his eyes up and down, back and forth and then go up a little higher that may help him move his head more. (Fine Motor Skills-small muscles, he can strengthen on his back) -- 1-3 months -- you can place a colorful toy in your baby's vision range, about 12 inches away and watch him try and grasp it. Place him on his back and he will wave at the object/toy to try. His first goal would be to touch it and you can teach him to grab it. *When he learns to grasp things, he will then learn by putting them in his mouth. He learns taste, size temperature, softness, texture, and so on. Make she that he does not put small objects that could fit in a toilet paper roll in his mouth, because these are choking hazards! This is on page 220 of the book and it's just plane cute. You can play these games/activities with your baby. *Give him a baby ma__sage! *Play Tootsie Roll by laying him on a blanket and helping him roll over! *Play Boat Ride by placing him on a blanket or towel and pulling him around the room! *Play Sponge by having your baby squeeze a sponge! *Play laundry by letting your baby climb around in the laundry pile to experience various textures, colors, and fabrics. (Remember to monitor your baby during all games.) You can do the *Tunnel Crawl a little later by cutting off the ends of a cardboard box and encouraging your baby to crawl through. And last one, you could play *Baby Ball by placing him on a his stomach on a large beach ball, and gently rolling him around while holding his hands.
*2. Baby's Cognitive Development (this is where any retarded/brain damages issues would fall) = Leslie here are some things you can do to test and strengthen his cognitive development! Talk to him a lot! AND use facial expression! Lost of smiles, eyebrow raises, use your hand while you talk, touch him softly while you talk to him, ect. *Help him use his senses by exploring his environment with him. Say the words for objects. Try and help your baby with memory, by showing him a toy and then show him it again a few minutes later to see if he responds to it. A few minutes can graduate to hours then days. READ to your baby!!! Cause & Effect - push a b___ton on a toy and it makes a sound, squish a stuffy and it's leg crackles or rattles. ***You are the best plaything for your baby. You stimulate his senses and increase his cognitive development through frequent interaction. ***Language Milestones = at birth cry and imitate your facial expressions. Leslie, make faces to him and watch him copy you! 1-2 months = your baby should be cooing, fussing, laughing, and crying. You can make funny noises for him to copy and you can even copy his noises! Babies love baby talk and it's fun for parents too = babies prefer high-pitched voices, varied intonation, short simple sentences, repet_tion, questions, simple commands, facial expression, and body language! Here are some Baby Games: *Peek-a-Boo, cover your face with a cloth and say, "Where's mommy?" then remove the cloth and watch his face light up! *Pat-a-Cake, by gently touching your baby's hands or feet in rhythm or while singing him a song. *Where's-a-Baby's-Toy, hid a toy under a cloth, then ask your baby where is the toy. Wait a few seconds then pull the cloth off and show him the toy, repeat this several times. *Mouth Music - make funny sounds with your mouth and repeat over and over so your baby can learn to. *Rattles-on-His-Toes, attach a wrist rattle to his wrist or ankle and let him try to find the sound and make the sound. *Play Puppet, use puppets or finger puppets to talk to your baby. *What Happened?, build a soft block tower and let him knock it over, or you knock it over at the beginning. *Baby's Body - hold your baby and look in the mirror and say, "where is HIS NAME's nose?" Repeat and add other body parts. *Bang-a-Drum, give your baby a toy rattle/wooden stick and let him bang of some pans or plastic bowls.
*3. Baby's Emotional Development - cuddling, holding, and nurturing your baby are just as important as feeding, changing, and clothing him. ***Ways to Cuddle = wear your baby in a front pack or sling, place baby in lap, rock baby, dance with him, lie in bed with baby on your chest, ma__sage, hold close to face and sing to him, snuggle together in a blanket, let your baby play with your hair, take your baby in the bath with you (since you are a younger mom, be very careful with this, you have to watch him constantly so that he doesn't go under the water or get burned by water that is too hot), give him lots of kisses on his face, head, arms, legs, tummy, back, hands, and feet!
The book also covers Psychological and Social Development but I think the first 3 are plenty to get started with!
***Leslie this information is from a small book I found at Ross for like $5.00. It's t_tled 365 Baby Care Tips: Helpful Hints for the first year. It list the 365 topics in the first few pages, so you find them easy and it's little paragraphs on each one, so very easy to read and understand.