Home » Pregnancy & Childcare » Neonatal Care » Baby’s Development

Baby’s Development

A child undergoes a lot of physical and anatomical development during the very first year after birth. Growth and development continues throughout childhood, but it is most rapid during the first year after birth, as there are numerous physical as well as mental changes taking place during this phase.

Anatomical development
The central nervous system and physical structure undergo rapid and dramatic changes. The weight of the baby almost doubles in 5 months and is almost triple when the baby is one year old. The cartilaginous joints in the skull support the development of brain. There are also other cartilages that develop into bones as the child grows. This leads to increase in height and weight of the child.
Milk teeth start appearing when the baby is around 6 months old; this is called the teething period. The milk teeth fall off by the age of six years, and are succeeded by a permanent set of teeth.

Development of a baby during the first year

Development of physical skill
Most of the actions of a new born are instinctive and reflex. A baby involuntarily performs actions such as suckling or gripping of finger. As the baby grows, the actions and activities become purposeful. The baby gradually learns to hold its head up, turn over and get into a sitting position. By the time the child turns a year old he/she can crawl, stand up with some support, and is soon able to walk a few steps holding on to an adult’s finger or other stationary objects like furniture that can assist in walking.

Between 1 – 4 months the baby learns to-
Lift its head and chest
Bring its hand to the mouth
Grasp and hold on to objects

Between 5 – 8 months the baby learns to-
Roll over
Reach out for things
Stand independently, supporting the body weight on feet

Between 9 – 12 months the baby learns to-
Walk with support
Hold on to objects and bang them together
Get hold of objects which are easy to pick up, and put them in mouth
Eat finger foods all by themselves

Development of thinking and verbal skills:
The baby learns to interact and respond to smiles and certain words and tries to imitate. It is important for the elders in the family to interact with the child, as it helps in development of social and verbal skills. Development of reasoning and problem solving skills also happens during this phase.

Between 1 – 4 months the baby learns to-
Recognize and respond to the voice of its parents
Listen, identify, and imitate sounds

Between 5 – 8 months the baby learns to-
Start babbling and imitating certain words
Check out toys or object with hands and mouth
Struggle to reach out to objects that are out of reach
Understand instructions such as- yes, no, up, down etc.

Between 9 – 12 months the baby learns to-
Respond to his/her own name
Respond to words that are used more often
Understand many commands
Imitate words and actions

Development of social skills and self expression

As the child, since birth, spends maximum time with its mother, it first learns to recognise her and also has special preference and affection for her. Gradually, it starts observing its surroundings. While some babies readily interact with people around them, some go through phases of shyness before they start to mingle. They learn to display emotions such as happiness and anger. As they grow, there is development of the ability to control their behaviour. They become more social, learn to co-operate and share, and demonstrate compassion as well as emotional attachment.

Between 1 – 4 months the child learns to-
Recognize familiar faces and make eye contact
Attract attention by crying
Smile at familiar faces and then at others to get appreciation
Recognize voice of family members
Observe faces and objects keenly

Between 5 – 8 months the child learns to-
Respond to cooing
Respond when called by name

Between 9 – 12 months the child learns to-
Display preferences for parents, people and objects
Display displeasure by crying

The weight of your brain is 2% of your total body weight. Brain uses 20-25% of the oxygen you breathe, and it needs around 15% of the total blood supply