Lifts his head
At birth, your little bundle will need you to support his neck as his muscles are still weak. “It’s important to give babies opportunities to play on their tummies as it develops the muscles necessary to help them with rolling over, sitting independently and crawling,” notes Dr Wendy Sinnathamby, a specialist in paediatrics at the Raffles Children’s Centre.
Place him on a mat on his front and position interesting toys or objects slightly beyond his reach to stimulate him to raise his head to look at them. Do this for five to 10 minutes every day and by 2 months, your little one should be able to keep his head up when you hold him in a sitting position.
After round-the-clock feeding, soothing, as well as sleepless nights, you’ve seen plenty of your tyke’s tears and probably shed some yourself! Now and then you think you’ve spotted a fleeting smile — or are your tired eyes playing tricks on you? While the smiles you see in the first few weeks are usually your cutie passing gas, by 2 months, he’ll be capable of smiling in response to you. Hold him in your arms, make eye contact and speak or sing to him as often as possible and he’ll flash you that gummy grin.
Time to start babyproofing the house when your mini-me nails his hand-and-knee coordination and starts crawling. You may not even need to attend those zumba classes anymore as you’ll be getting mucho exercise chasing your mini-Speedy Gonzales.
He’s been pulling himself up, holding onto furniture and using the wall to “cruise” for months to get from one point to the other. Then, he starts to stand briefly without support. Right around his first birthday (the average age is 13 months), get ready to see your Mr Independent take his first steps. Make sure to whip out your camera because this will be the mother of all baby milestones! He’s no longer a baby, but a full-fledged toddler!
If you think his coos and “goo-goo-ga-ga” are the most endearing sounds you’ll ever hear, wait until junior turns 4 months and starts laughing. It will be music to your ears. The best part is how easy it is to set him off. Playing peekaboo, tickling him on the soles of his feet or making silly sounds and faces should get him giggling.
Your sweetie should be able to sit up with support at about 6 months, which will open up a whole new world to him visually. Place his hands in front of him, so that he can support himself or prop him against some furniture or a wall. When you’re out, bring a tiny pillow along, so that he’ll have support when you seat him in a high chair. Babies aged between 7 and 9 months can usually sit up unassisted.
Sleeps through the night
While every new milestone is exciting, getting bub to complete a full night’s sleep is the one parents look forward to the most. While it’s unrealistic to expect a newborn to sleep for anything more than three- to four-hour stretches; by 6 months, your cutie should be capable of sleeping six to eight hours straight at night, since he’s started on solids. Establish a good sleep routine — a warm bath, lullabies, a story, then a milk feed — and your mini-me should be sleeping from 7pm to 7am by 10 to 12 months.
Saying a word
Before his “no!” And “why?” statements drive you up the wall, your young ’un will utter his first word, which is usually at around the 1-year mark. It may be something meaningful like “mama” or more random, like “car”. Whatever the case, it will be a thrilling experience for you to be on the receiving end. Just think, in a few months, you’ll be able to engage in simple conversations with your little chatterbox. How awesome is that!
Displays social referencing
You take junior to a music class and when the teacher hands him a toy drum, he looks at you. When you demonstrate how to play the instrument, he follows suit. Your little fella has just done his first stint at social referencing — figuring out how to react to unfamiliar objects and people, or proceed in a certain situations, by carefully watching his caregiver. Expect this skill to take flight anytime between 10 and 11 months and remember to set a good example because bubba is watching!
It’s not just a nifty trick your cutie has picked up, he’ll start to make the connection between sounds and gestures by 9 months. He actually understands that when he waves, it’s connected to the phrase “bye-bye”. Don’t forget to wave back!
Breastmilk and formula are all the nourishment your munchkin needs until he is about 5 or 6 months old. By this time, junior will start to show an interest in whatever you’re eating. Introduce him to semi-solids such as baby rice cereal, yam purée or mashed bananas. At about 7 or 8 months, pair the purée with some finger food like steamed carrot sticks or chunks of baked sweet potato. This will not only introduce your tyke to new textures, but also encourage him to develop better control over his hands and fingers. Letting him perfect his pincer grasp will also make it easier for him to transition to table food after he turns 1.