Every baby is unique. They will each have their own individual characteristics, be raised in and exposed to different environments and engage in their own specific social interactions based on who they spend their time with.
Because of this, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that there is a wide range of what is considered “normal” when it comes to developmental milestones and when they occur.
The first year of a baby’s life is a wonder year of growth and development. Milestones are skills that can be easily identified, like sitting without assistance, crawling or clapping. They are generally grouped into four categories: physical, language, social/emotional and cognitive.
Physical and language developments are usually the most noticeable, as they are outward displaying developments. This means you can see or hear your baby’s progression through time.
Social and emotional, and cognitive developments are not so noticeable, but are just as important to your baby’s overall development. Social and emotional development can be noticed through a building sense of trust from your baby, smiling when recognising a face, sound or a smile from someone else and showing attachment to others, particularly significant adults.
Cognitive development involves your baby’s learning, thinking and problem-solving skills. This development often presents itself in the form of showing recognition between an action and re-action (such as crying brings comfort), responding to their own reflection or hands and feet as they come to realise they are a part of the self and by starting to associate specific events with certain acts and so anticipate the next step (see the bath and realise it is bath time).
You can help support your baby’s development by:
- Providing adequate opportunity for sleep
- Quality nutrition
- Fresh air and sunshine
- Behaving in a predictable way
- Showing sensitivity, warmth, and love
- Talking, playing with your baby
- Setting boundaries without being harsh
Babies develop at their own pace. They go through milestones at different times, and spend different amounts of time in each stage. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, it is important you talk with your baby’s doctor or health care professional.
1. Karen Petty. Developmental milestones of young children. Redleaf Press; 2015 Dec 14. Pg. 33