Stages of Child Development

The newborn's arrival has indeed brought along a lot of happiness and hustle-bustle in your lives, mom and dad. But, buckle up, as the first year with your baby is going to be a whirlwind of milestones and beautiful memories.

With a year full of different child development stages, there's much to look forward to as your baby hits one milestone after the other. These developmental stages are nothing but physical skills that your baby will master and behaviours that he will show during his growth years. Having said that, each baby is different and hits his growth milestones at varied times. So don’t take these a must-do on your baby’s task list or yours. Just be encouraging, patient and surround your baby with love and good health.

Here's a sneak-peek into the initial 12 months of your baby to help you understand what lies ahead.

First month

Although your baby is following the eat-poop-sleep-repeat cycle, a lot is going on in that teeny-tiny body. As your little wonder continues to develop, you will notice him:

  • Flinching at loud sounds

  • Taking his hands and fists towards his mouth

  • Shutting his eyes at bright lights

  • Focusing on objects within 12-feet of his vision

Your baby is likely to gain approximately 450 grams per month for the first six months. The average weight of 1-month-old babies ranges between 4 to 4.5 kgs while their height ranges between 53 to 55 cms.

Second month

It is now when you might start noticing some activity in your baby's life. He might begin:

  • Holding his head a little up or pushing upward using his arms while on tummy

  • Gurgling or cooing

  • Following the movement through his eyes

The average 2-month baby weight is approximately 5 to 5.6 kgs, whereas the average height is between 57 to 58 cms.

Third month

Your baby is slowly becoming independent with the small-small cute things you might notice him doing. He can now:

  • Grasp toys more easily

  • Make vowel sounds, like o-o, a-a, etc.

  • Precisely put his hands and fist in the mouth

  • Hold his chest and head up while on his tummy

  • Kick his legs when lying on his back

  • Recognise your face and sound from a distance

  • Imitate your facial expressions at times

Your tiny tot is growing so fast! By this stage, your 3-month-old baby's weight might be around 5.5 to 6.5 kgs. The average height of a baby at this stage is about 59 to 61 cms.

Fourth month

‘Tis the month of perfecting the already achieved milestones! You will find that your baby might:

  • Grasp objects with more co-ordination - give him a rattle and watch him hold and shake it at the same time

  • Now be able to keep his head and chest up more frequently and consistently

  • Have started copying your expressions more accurately

  • Rollover on his back from his tummy

  • Be able to bend his legs when you hold him in a standing position

  • Even track movements in a better way

The average 4-month baby weight and height are approximately 6 to 7 kgs and 62 to 64 cms, respectively.

Sleep schedule

In the first four months, your baby needs to sleep for at least 16-18 hours a day, split between night-time and 3-5 naps of 7-9 hours during the day.

Fifth month

As your baby's co-ordination and strength increases, you will notice him:

  • Grabbing his feet and bringing them close to the mouth

  • Moving objects from one place to another

  • Being interested in what you're eating

At this stage, babies tend to weigh around 7 to 7.5 kgs and grow about 64 to 66 cms in height. After the fourth month, your baby's sleeping pattern might change.

You may notice that he is sleeping for about 12 to 16 hours a day, split between 9-10 hours at night and 4-5 hours during the day (2-3 naps).

Sixth month

Yay! Your baby is half-year-old already. Your baby might now be able to:

  • Sit up without any support

  • Play and also express displeasure when things don't turn out his way

  • Recognise his name

  • Express emotions like sadness or anger through crying or whining and happiness through laughing and squealing

At around this age, average 6-month old babies weigh around 7 to 8 kgs and grow about 65 to 68 cms in height.

Until six months, breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. You can also give him formula milk, but with a doctor's consultation. Avoid feeding your baby food that you eat no matter how interested he seems in it. However, you can start teaching your baby how to use spoons and cups.

Seven to nine months

Your baby is now mastering the art of living by sharpening his already learnt skills. You will see that he may:

  • Sit for a long time without support

  • Recognise emotions through your tone and expressions

  • Reach out for objects

  • Respond to emotions and the word 'no'

  • Babble and mumble sounds and vowels

  • Scoot along the floor

  • Rock back and forth while on his hands and knees

  • Play peekaboo and point at things he wants

With around 8 to 9 kgs of weight and 70 to 72 cms of height at nine months, your baby is really growing fast.

You can now introduce itty-bitty amounts of plain solid foods like pureed vegetables or fruits from the seventh month. Make sure that you introduce him to one food at a time. Keep an eye on any symptoms that signal allergies.

10 to 12 months

Hurray! Soon your baby will be turning a year old. As your infant moves onto the journey of becoming a toddler, he might be able to:

  • Walk while holding the furniture or nearby support

  • Bang objects just for fun – he enjoys the sound they make

  • Put toys in the basket and then remove them out

  • Eat finger foods on his own

  • Speak words like 'ma-ma', 'da-da', 'uh-oh', 'ta-ta' etc.

  • Understand simple statements like 'don't touch', 'bad thing', 'good boy', etc.

  • Wave his hand to say good-bye and nod his head to convey a 'no'

  • Stand on his own without any support

  • Respond to statements like 'where's mom?' by simply looking in your direction

By now, your baby might be weighing around 9 to 9.6 kgs and might be around 72 to 77 cms in height.

After 12 months, your baby might sleep for about 11-14 hours. He may sleep for about 11 hours at night and nap 1 to 2 times in the day.

Avoid force-feeding your baby food that he doesn't like. Do pay attention to his appetite and his hunger pangs, as this will help him eat well.

We know the year is going to be packed with lots of chaos, emotions, fun, and a little bit of to and fro. But hold on, as these months will pass quicker than you would realise. So, keep your camera handy if you don't want to miss out on some fun and magical first moments of your little one.

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