Baby Toddler Guide: Baby Development

From imitating your expressions to grasping your finger, your newborn can see and do many things that may surprise you.

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! as your baby becomes a part of your life and family it may seem that all this little newborn does is eat, sleep and produce dirty diapers. Well, your newborn is actually already very smart and developing skills that will last a lifetime. Let’s take a look:

Sight newborn see quite well after birth. They focus best on objects about 12 inches from their face, and in fact, their favorite thing to see is your face. When your baby is alert, try placing your face about 12 inches from his. You will notice that he concentrates very hard on it. In fact, he will try to imitate whatever you do. Try opening your mouth, chewing or sticking out your tongue and watch happens. On occasion, you may notice that your baby’s eyes “cross.” This is normal and will improve by two months of age. Young infants can focus on objects and toys better if they are contrasting colors such as white, black and red. Color vision is not fully developed until four months of age.

Hearing and Language Your infant started hearing while in the womb. She could not only hear your voice, your heart beat and your intestines rumble, but also your partner’s voice, a dog barking or the doorbell ringing. your baby’s favorite thing to hear is your voice. Sing, talk, coo or read to her. This not only fosters parent-infant bonding but also language development. You may even notice that when your baby gets fussy, she quickly calms down as you talk or coo to her.
Your baby also has a voice and will communicate with you by crying. Over the first two weeks, you will become familiar with the “I’m hungry” cry, the “I’m wet” cry and the “I don’t know what I want but come pick me up” cry. It is important that you respond to these cries as this will help your infant learn to trust you. Many infants love music. Try classical, rock, country, jazz or gospel. Your baby will let you know what excites as well as soothes her.

Taste and Smell An infant’s taste buds are not fully developed at the time of birth but newborns do like breast milk and formula. Taste buds will continue to develop as your baby grows older. Your infant’s favorite thing to smell is you. We all have a distinctive scent and your infant will get to know yours starting at birth.

Movement Some of your baby’s early movements may surprise you. One movement that parents often notice is the “Moro” or “startle” reflex. This occurs when, due to a loud sound or sudden movement, the baby throws his head back in again. This reflex will diminish between three to six months of age. A reflex parents really enjoy is the “grasp” reflex. This reflex lasts only a couple of months. And, of course, the most regular reflexes you will see are the “rooting” and “sucking” reflexes.

The rooting reflex is what causes your infant to turn his face in the direction of the cheek that is stroked or touched. This helps him find the breast or bottle. The sucking reflex is a survival reflex. It enables your baby to suck and then swallow important nutrients needed for growth. Both of these reflexes become voluntary as he matures. Many infants like to be rocked, swayed or walked. Infants enjoy what has become familiar to them and these movements imitate what it was like for them in the womb. Walking or rocking helps soothe some infants when they get fussy and some infants fall right to sleep during a car ride. You will soon discover the movements your baby likes best.

Touch No matter what age we are, we all need touch. Your baby will especially like you to touch and stroke her. You may discover she likes one area of her body stroked more than another — or she might not have any preference at all. Because infants are very sensitive to touch, always use gentle, soft strokes. Your baby will also love to lie on your chest. Some parents place their infants on their chest, “skin to skin.” It’s not only this warm contact that helps the baby to relax, but also the natural, soothing and familiar rhythm of your heartbeat.

Stimulating your infant There are many toys and products available for parents to use to stimulate their infant and thus stimulate development. Because we’re all different, parents and babies alike, what you use and what your infant enjoys may be different from what your friends do or use. But actually, the only stimulation your child really needs is you — being there, talking to him, holding, feeding and changing him.

Development, on a roll! Keep in mind that infants develop skills from head to toe and at different rates. For instance, their eyes are not crossed as much by one to two months, they gain good head control between two to four months, learn to roll from four to six months, sit by six to eight months, crawl by eight to 11 months and, between 12 and 15 months of age, take their first steps. Whew! That’s a lot of work to do in the first year. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your infant grows and develops and also at how fast the first year flies by. You may want to get in the habit of taking pictures or videotaping your infant on a regular basis. It will not only be a wonderful keepsake, but also a way to see how much your baby has changed in such a short time. Babies are truly in such a short time. Babies are truly tiny, terrific and amazing little beings.

Source: “Baby connection”