At every baby visit, your doctor will check your baby’s height, weight, and head circumference. Of course, these are important parameters to monitor your baby’s growth and to ensure that he is healthy, but tracking your little one’s growth and development involves far more parameters than these.
Doctors advise you to track your baby’s milestones, especially in the first year of his life. This can give you a good estimate as to whether your baby is on track or whether you should keep an eye out for any possible delays. Read on to know more.
While every baby is different and they grow at their own pace, understanding the average pattern helps you understand how your baby is faring.
As your newborn inches towards a month or so of age, you will start to notice signs of your baby’s growth and see him begin to achieve developmental milestones. For instance, your baby is able to focus better by now and is likely to respond to familiar objects or those with bright and contrasting colours. You can help him along by introducing brightly coloured toys at this stage.
Around 3-4 months, your baby should be able to babble and gurgle with laughter in response to your interaction with him. By now, a baby should also have better neck control and is likely to be able to hold his head when you give him tummy time.
By 6 months, your baby is also likely to be able to roll onto his back from his stomach, and vice-versa.
At 9 months, your baby should be able to sit without support and crawl as well.
When it comes to activities such as walking and talking, some babies are known to achieve these milestones even as early as 9 months, while others can take much longer, even as long as 18 months to get there.
Things to keep in mind
Do not compare your child to others, and that includes a sibling. Each child achieves their milestones, but there could be a large range as to when they do so. However, there is a fine line between reaching a milestone at your own pace versus a developmental delay.
Signs to watch out for
A developmental delay is understood to occur when a child does not meet milestones even after what is considered to be the upper limit on a particular milestone. Following are the activities and tasks that your baby should be able to complete at various stages:
- Gross motor skills, such as crawling
- Fine motor skills, such as stacking rings or placing the right shapes into a shape sorter
- Language skills, which includes speech
- Thinking ability, wherein the child is able to reason for himself
What should be your next steps
If you believe that your child is not meeting a particular milestone, or is showing an inordinate delay, flag it off to his doctor. Early intervention is the key to ensuring that your child is able to come up the curve.