Watching your baby take his first steps can be an emotional experience - one that makes mommy proud and happy. But believe it or not, walking is only one of the many milestones that your baby has to achieve, and whether you’ve observed them or not, your baby has gone through many stages of development before he took those steps.
In case you’re concerned about helping your baby grow strong and healthy, here’s an age-wise guide to helping your baby reach and experience their milestones, learn new things and grow.
0-6 Months: Sensation
- Your newborn loves to feel secure and loved. They are born with the sucking and rooting reflex, which helps them find their mother’s breasts for feeding, which gives them a sense of safety and comfort.
- They also love to be tickled, hugged and cuddled. At this age, they enjoy human faces over other shapes around them. Spend time with your baby, cuddling them. Take advantage of bath time by giving them a pre-bath massage, as well as tickling them or playing with them while applying their baby lotion after a bath.
- Make best use of breastfeeding sessions to comfort your baby.
- They will also enjoy being talked to or sung to in soft, gentle voices.
0-6 Months: Movement
- At this stage, your baby is still getting used to trying to keep their head upright and support themselves on elbows and arms.
- However, they enjoy visual stimulation and are curious about everything around them. You will notice that your baby reaches for toys or other things that interest them.
- In an uncluttered space, allow your baby to roll around on the rug. Don’t leave them unattended, and watch out for anything that could hurt the baby. The baby will enjoy looking around, kicking their legs, and trying to lie on the tummy or support themself on elbows or arms.
6-12 Months: Curiosity
- After the age of six months, your little one will try to sit up. Support their torso with cushions. Encourage them to look around.
- They will begin to crawl around and the way they will learn about things will be by putting things in their mouth. Keep choking hazards like small toys out of your baby’s reach, and watch them crawl around and explore.
- This is also the age when they are introduced to mashed foods, so they will be exposed to new tastes and textures.
- Towards the end of this period, around the age of 10 months, they will also begin to support themselves and stand, and will try to hold the support and move sideways.
12-18 Months: Activity
- Around the age of 9 months to a year, your little one starts to walk. Make sure to savour those first steps, because this is the point where you’ll have to spend much more time running after your naughty little explorer. Your days of sitting and watching them are going to come to an end.
- Kids this age also like to explore everything there is - from toys around the house, to flowers in the garden, safely guide your child through all their curiosity. Encourage curiosity, because it will help make your child smart and active.
18-24 Months: Talking and Communication
- By the age of 1 and a half years, babies begin to speak, first in babbles, and then, gradually, in small sentences. Your baby will learn speech based on what she hears her mommy and daddy say.
- So speak to your child from the very beginning. Around this age, you can start to name the things you show your child, or name the activities you make them do. For example, if your baby is watching you cook, you can say “Is mommy cooking?”
- Avoid fighting with your partner in front of your baby, as this can make the baby scared, and also teach them aggression at an early age. Minding your language is important at this stage as your quick learner learns everything from you!
- Your baby will also try to express themselves to you. Meet their talk with kindness and love, so that they feel safe talking to you. Encourage them to learn new words by showing them new things and saying the words out loud with them. Picture books or story-telling are great activities during this stage.
Remember, all babies achieve their milestones at different ages, and while some babies achieve them very early, some babies take their own time, and maybe a few months late, but it’s all okay. If you have a concern that a medical issue might be behind the delayed milestones, you can speak to your pediatrician.
Don’t rush your little one. They take their own time, but when they do learn, they’ll learn things well and you’ll always love and be proud of them.