Milestones in babies are the most heartwarming of being a parent. It shows signs of growth in a baby’s development and the relationship with parents.
That’s why other parents treat such milestones like their mini-special events. It’s moments like their first words or their first laugh that make us take nostalgic photos.
But sometimes, parents question themselves if their child is developing right. You might wonder if you’re feeding the right food to your child. Sometimes, you may even wonder if it’s okay if they don’t make eye contact.
Luckily for you, the writers here at Preggy To Mommy will help quell some of your questions.
What do developmental milestones mean to parents?
Milestones may be the most cherished things parents can experience. These quaint moments like sticking their tongue out make parenting wonderful. Even them seeing your baby say their own name is a special memory.
But these accomplishments offer a guide to where their baby development should be. They are the expected periods in a baby’s progress where developmental milestones.
But, these milestones can happen much earlier or much later than expected. Your baby may be ahead in their development compared to most children.
But, if a baby hits a milestone much later than expected, it may be a case of developmental delay. It may cause some parents to worry.
But, parents should know that babies develop differently, too. More on that later.
The Do’s in a baby’s growth
Choosing the right food
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the sixth month of a baby’s life, parents should introduce solid foods to their child.
They should introduce one single ingredient of new food. The food must be smooth and pureed prior. Let your baby test-taste the food, one at a time (preferably in a 3-5 day interval between each newly-introduced food).
There may be signs of food allergies if your child experiences problems eating. Always check on your kid for problems when feeding.
Once your kid reaches 7 or 8 months of age, parents can now introduce foods from all categories in the food pyramid.
For more information about introducing your baby solids, check out this book by Annabel Karmel available on Amazon.
Playing with your baby
Bonding with your kid after a long day is one of the best perks of being a parent. It allows for relaxing family time. But it does benefit your kid on their social and emotional skills too.
It allows them to learn behaviours and social etiquette with your supervision. It develops their sprawling imagination and other cognitive skills. And it may even help you find those social and emotional milestones.
So play simple games like peek a boo with your baby. Even simple outdoor activities help in your toddler’s motor and physical development.
To find out more about the benefits of spending time with your kid, check out this book by Matt Brown available on Amazon.
Letting your kid play with others
At around 2 to 4 years old, your kid can play with other children in preschool or with neighbours. This is known as associative play. As they form new friends, they further develop social and emotional skills. This new development also broadens curiosity and imagination for your toddler.
Breast milk or cow’s milk?
One of the first things parents should offer their children is breast milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you must give your baby breast milk until they’re six months old.
You can still provide breast milk to your toddler after (preferably after one year). But it must be with other appropriate food, as discussed above.
You can start giving your baby cow’s milk once they approach the age of 12 months. You can use a bottle or a sippy cup at this point. But, some babies may be allergic to that type of milk or products containing such. Consult your paediatrician for advice about this.
Giving your child proper sleep
If you see your kid rock back and forth, don’t worry. It’s common in babies, usually a baby aged above 6 months, to do that motion. It’s usually a sign that your baby is trying to fall asleep.
If you have a rocking chair, try sitting on it with your baby in your arms. Rocking back and forth is soothing people of all ages, especially babies.
Other ways of getting your baby to fall into slumber are:
- having your baby sleep in a crib in your bedroom with you
- using a pacifier
- reading bedtime stories
- singing lullabies.
You can always find great bedtime stories and nursery rhymes online or in your nearest bookstore. We recommend this book by Maddie Frost, available now on Amazon.
Getting the proper toys
Buying toys for your baby can help out so much in your baby’s social and emotional development.
The type of toys is a huge question. Stuffed animals are usually the ultimate go-to answer for some parents. They’re one of the first few “familiar faces” babies can form an emotional attachment.
Considering the intimacy stuffed toys have to a baby, they’re a great way to develop social skills. The innocents in a stuffed bear may help babies develop empathy.
The Don’ts in parenting a child’s development
Signs of Developmental Delay
One of the worst fears of some parents is a possible developmental delay in their child. However, these delays have lots of factors as to why it happens.
The following signs of such delays include but are not limited to:
- having achieved their milestones way after their expected place in the timeline
- having difficulty in or delayed cognitive or social skills
- having physical development stunted or hampered
Usually, these delays can be a sign of conditions such as autism or Down’s syndrome. Having a child with Down’s syndrome or part of the autism spectrum is not necessarily a red flag. Nor is it a sign of bad parenting. It can be difficult, but it’s all about adapting to the needs of your child. With the right parenting, your child can still grow up functionally.
Avoiding delays from external factors
From genetic to metabolic conditions, some delays happen due to natural factors.
But, you should look out for factors in your baby’s external environment. These certain factors may cause delays in their development. External factors include, but are not limited to:
- Exposed to harmful chemicals
- Emotional trauma
- Shaken baby syndrome
Limiting exposure to harmful chemicals and proper feeding are simple defences against certain factors.
The shaken baby syndrome is when the parent shakes their baby in a forceful or even abusive manner. It may lead to head trauma. Even in a playtime setting, don’t try to shake your baby.
Emotional trauma is also where most of the parenting pitfalls lie. Babies do not like to be out of the reach of their parents. A toddler left alone can negatively affect the emotional development of a child. So always key an eye and hold the hand of your child.
You should not punish your toddler. Don’t spank them or yell at them out of frustration. And don’t be strict with them. It creates a feeling of a broken safe space in your child’s eyes. It hampers their developing curiosity. It may even create stress or anxiety disorders as your child develops.
But take note: most babies develop differently
However, parents should acknowledge that all kids don’t develop at the same timelines. Having slight delays or advancements may not be a sign of caution or a need for pediatric help. Development is not always a series of strict progressions that parents should observe.
Watching your baby grow up and hitting those milestones is one of the best things about being a parent. But for your baby to develop well, provide proper nutrients for them, cherish their curiosity, bond with your kin, and handle them with care. Don’t try to neglect or punish them out of frustration. And take note that sometimes, they may need some to develop.
For more resources regarding this topic, click here for Preggy To Mommy’s list of recommended sites and other related pages.