Best Ways To Know If Your Baby Is Developing In a Healthy Way

For first-time parents, there are always lots of questions. One of the most common one we hear from our new parents is, “Is my baby developing normally?” As an answer, Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, one of our pediatricians in our Westchester Health Pediatrics group, has written a blog containing helpful guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. She describes what to expect and what to look for as a newborn progresses through his/her first year of life.

It really is true that every child progresses differently

Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP

Certainly, every baby develops at their own pace but typically, by the end of the first month, a newborn should be becoming more alert and responsive. Gradually your baby should begin moving his/her body more smoothly and with much greater coordination, listening when you speak, watching you as you hold him/her, and starting to move his/her own body to respond to you or attract your attention.

Physical developmental delays, or early motor delays, are terms used to describe when children are not meeting critical physical milestones in the first months and years of life. These delays can be a sign of something more serious going on, so it is important to talk with your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns.

In your baby’s first year of life, here are some important milestones to look for:

By age 3-4 months, your baby should be able to:

Physical skills:

  • Raise head & chest when on stomach
  • Stretch & kick on back
  • Open and shut hands
  • Bring hand to mouth
  • Grasp and shake toys

Social skills:

  • Begin to develop social smile
  • Enjoy playing with people
  • Become more communicative
  • Become more expressive with face & body
  • Imitate some movements & expressions

Sensory milestones:

  • Follow moving objects
  • Recognize familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Start using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Prefer sweet smells
  • Prefer soft to coarse sensations

By age 7-8 months, your baby should be able to:

Physical skills:

  • Roll both ways
  • Sit with and without support of hands
  • Support whole weight on legs
  • Reach with one hand
  • Transfer object from hand to hand
  • Use raking grasp

Social skills:

  • Enjoy social play
  • Show interest in mirror images
  • Respond to expressions of emotion
  • Appear joyful often

Cognitive thinking:

  • Find partially hidden object
  • Explore with hands and mouth
  • Struggle to get objects that are out of reach

By age 12 months, your baby should be able to:

Physical skills:

  • Get to sitting position without help
  • Crawl forward on belly
  • Assume hands-and-knees position
  • Get from sitting to crawling position
  • Pull himself/herself up to stand
  • Walk holding on to furniture
  • Finger-feed himself/herself

Social skills:

  • Be shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cry when parents leave
  • Enjoy imitating people in play
  • Prefer certain people and toys
  • Test parental response

Cognitive thinking:

  • Explore objects in different ways
  • Find hidden objects easily
  • Look at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitate gestures
  • Begin to use objects correctly

If you have questions about your baby’s development

As collaborators in your baby’s care, we look forward to working together throughout this first year of his/her life and beyond. We urge you to make an appointment with one of our pediatricians in our Westchester Health Pediatrics group so they can answer any questions or concerns you may have.

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To read Dr. Adler’s blog in full, click here.

by Blog