Developmental milestones for Infants and Toddlers
A baby develops from a helpless being at birth and over the first five years he will gain independence in mobility, speech and language and he will develop his own personality.
Although every child is different, there is a pattern of developmental progress that they all will follow within a fairly narrow time frame.
If you have a specific question on infant and toddler development, you can click on the link in the list below to go directly there, otherwise read on for an overview.
What are the 4 stages of development?There are 4 main areas of toddler and baby development stages:
- motor development - this is about body posture and large movements of the limbs and the developmental road to walking
- fine motor development and vision - this is about manipulative skills leading eventually to being able to do complicated manual tasks. To do this children need to be able to see
- speech and language development and hearing - this is about language development, which is a key human characteristic. To read more about normal speech and language development and causes of slow speech, click here
- personal and social development - this is about the development of self and interactions with others
Do all children reach milestones at the same time?No. Every child is an individual and, as such, your child will reach milestones at his pace. Try not to compare your child with other children. Baby development stages are given as a guide - some babies attain one milestone early and another late. That's not a concern in most cases.
Don't be concerned if a baby of 13 months is walking while your 13 month old is not or if a 2 year old is using sentences when your 2 year old is not.
On the pages that give milestone progress for each age band, there is a section on when to be concerned. Unless your child is demonstrating these characteristics, there is no need to worry. To check out what toddler and baby development stage is expected at what age.
What does it mean if a baby's development is slow?If a baby is not developing normally (so is slow to attain milestones), it may be an indication that something is wrong. If a child is not reaching motor milestones, there may be something wrong with his neuro-muscular system. For example, he could have cerebral palsy.
A problem with speech and language development may indicate a problem with hearing or may be a manifestation of a communication disorder like autistic spectrum disorder.
In either case, the earlier the developmental problem is picked up the better so appropriate intervention can begin. Of course, sometimes babies are just slow to develop without there being a major problem and they just catch up a bit later.
How will I know if my baby is not developing normally?Mothers (and fathers) are very good at picking up some developmental problems and most countries have some type of well child checks where development is tested. You can also check the pages below for the milestones to expect at different ages.
See your doctor is you are concerned that your toddler or baby development stages are not appropriate, and, in particular, if you are concerned your baby does not see or hear.
Babies also exhibit primitive reflexes which are present from birth or shortly after and last weeks or months. If primitive reflexes persist, it can be an indication that there is a problem with the brain.
What can I do to help my baby's development?The most important thing you can do as a parent for your baby is to provide a loving environment with adequate food and warmth for your baby.
Studies have shown that babies who have tummy time while they are awake reach motor milestones earlier than babies who do not have tummy time. So, make sure your baby has supervised tummy time while he is awake. Remember that the safest sleeping position is on his back.
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Of course you should talk to your OB first, butby onepointfive
I too had a complicated pregnancy (because of ruptured membranes). I was on bed rest and actually induced at 34 weeks. My situation was totally different from yours because ruptured membranes increases the risk for infection but by 34 weeks the risk of prematurity is outweighed by the risk of infection.
Now, since you have preterm labor and not preterm premature rupture, you are not at risk for infection.
My baby was born at 34 weeks 4 days and is now 4 months old. He is very healthy, spunky, and charming and is making his developmental milestones on time. Now having said that, he did spend 5 days in the NICU (4 with external respiratory support - called CPAP) and a total of three weeks in the hospital
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