Brain Development

Development of the human brain occurs rapidly in the first few years of life and continues at a slower pace into adolescence

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Brain development in infants & early childhood

A newborn baby's brain is fairly developed to carry out all the bodily functions throughout his life, but the sections of the brain that are involved in regulating emotions, language, and abstract thought grow and develop after birth. A child's brain develops manifold during the first 3 years of life. The development of a child's brain is influenced by a variety of factors such as a child's relationships, the experiences he/she has, the stimulation he/she receives and the environment.    Development of Mature Brain Cells Myelin is tissue that insulates brain cells with a sheath that ensures clear transmission across synapses; the reason young children process information slowly is because their brain cells lack myelin needed for quicker transmission of nerve impulses. A child's experiences affect the growth of mature brain cells way into adulthood.   Role of Breast Milk in Brain Development Breast milk contains various fatty substances that support healthy brain development in babies. Mothers must breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first 6 months of life. In case a mother is unable to breastfeed her child due to breastfeeding problems such as low milk supply, she can give formula milk such as Enfamil to the baby for optimum brain development. Enfamil is enriched with essential nutrients such as DHA and ARA. Enfamil is the only infant formula inspired by breast milk and is specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of your growing baby. Use code MYLO20 to avail of a flat 20% discount on Enfamil while ordering from Enfashop.   Newborns and Infants According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, newborns and infants are beginning to recognize voices, focus their eyes, and develop bonds of love and trust. This will be the foundation of the learning process of memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. At this stage your child is like a sponge in the way he will absorb and be impacted by his experiences, so the way you hold, cuddle, and interact with the child will set the basis for how he interacts with you and others in coming years.   Warnings for Newborns and Infants Though his brain is growing fast, your newborn will still have weak neck muscles; always support his head and avoid situations that could shake him.   Toddler Toddler, a child becomes mobile. With this will come independence and defiance. Be strong and be an all-star parent, and provide your child with balanced support and encouragement during this phase in spite of the personal challenges your patience may face; research cited by the Department of Health and Human Services has shown that both intensive and prolonged stress can disrupt early brain development and compromise the functioning of her nervous and/or immune system. Specifically, experiencing unhealthy stress when young can affect the development of your child’s stress circuits, causing the child to develop a low-stress threshold and become overly reactive to adverse experiences throughout life.   How to enhance your toddler's brain development? Apart from the stimulation, you provide to your child, you also need to supplement your child's nutrition with a nutritious milk powder that can assist in the optimal mental and physical development of your child. Enfagrow is a great choice for this since it is fortified with DHA and also contains various minerals and vitamins which facilitate your child's development. Use code MYLO20 to avail of a flat 20% discount on Enfagrow while ordering from Enfashop.  

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Can Your Emotions Influence Your Unborn Baby?

How does Garbha sanskar work? To help a mother remain in the best possible frame of mind in the interest of her growing baby, Garbha sanskar suggests a set of practices and ways of life.  This includes reading or seeing things that make you happy, communicating with your baby, performing spiritual activities like pujas, meditating and eating healthily.  You may have seen a pregnant mother caressing or talking to her baby bump and perhaps even found it strange. She may well be practicing Garbha sanskar.  Can my emotions and thoughts really influence my unborn baby? There has been recent scientific interest on the subject, and some evidence suggests that a baby's brain develops up to 60 percent while in the womb.  It is also becoming more and more apparent that an unborn baby is able to respond to outside influences such as sound, light, and movement. Opinions, however, differ on whether you should actively try to stimulate your baby's development or not and how that would work.  Traditionally, staying happy and doing things that keep you peaceful and fulfilled were believed to influence your unborn baby in a positive way. So if, for example, you watch a funny movie while pregnant, and it makes you happy and cheerful, it is believed that some of that positive emotion passes on to your baby. Such positive experiences are believed to help shape your baby's earliest impressions in a constructive manner, hopefully making him a well-balanced and happy person.  Whether or not this is scientifically true, it will definitely be a step towards a happier and fulfilled you. You will have already created a beautiful bond with your unborn baby, as well as a wonderful environment for your baby to be born in.  Content Source Featured Image Source  

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Salt craving during pregnancy

Salt is the main source of dietary sodium for us.  Here is why it is important to consume salt during pregnancy: In the absence of salt, your nerves, muscles, and organs would not be able to function properly during pregnancy. In pregnancy, your body’s fluids increase in order to support your growing baby and sodium plays an important role in that. The presence of iodine in table salts is essential for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy may lead to stillbirths, abnormal brain development, miscarriage, and other medical complications. In a study, it was established that inadequate salt intake during pregnancy resulted in low birth weight infants. Inadequate salt intake during pregnancy increases the chances of foetal death.  The daily sodium intake for pregnancy should be around 3.8 grams of table salt per day; however, the upper limit may extend up to 5.8 grams.  Here are some side-effects of high sodium intake during pregnancy: Consumption of more salt in pregnancy may make you feel bloated. High salt intake may lead to water retention. More salt in your diet may cause excessive swelling of ankles, legs, feet or face. Increased amounts of salt in your diet may lead to high blood pressure or preeclampsia. Taking more amounts of salt may lead to loss of calcium (through urination) from the body. Content Source  Featured Image Source

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These popular 20 games will boost development of your baby

Your baby's attention span will vary a lot, depending on his age, his temperament, and his mood. Sometimes he'll enjoy a game for as long as 20 minutes, but more often you'll need to modify the game every five minutes or so. You'll know your baby's loving your antics when he's turning toward you, smiling, or laughing. But if he squirms away from you, looks away, or cries, it's time to change the activity. Not every baby will catch on to every game. Don't allow this to freak you out, but of course if you have concerns about a possible developmental delay, talk to your baby's doctor. Birth to 3 months To the outside observer, a newborn basically seems like a pooping ball of protoplasm. Your baby will mostly just lie there, except when he's crying. So how can you connect with him and have fun? Your best chance of doing this is to engage your baby's senses: touch, sight (remember, your baby is still very nearsighted), smell, and hearing. (Let's leave taste out for now.) By the end of his first three months, your baby may reach out and try to grab things and will be fascinated by sounds, smells, and patterns. Note: It may take your newborn several seconds to respond to you or he may not respond much at all. Be patient – you may need to keep trying or wait a while for him to enter an alert, responsive state. 10 games your baby will love: Newborn to 3 months old Newborns constantly take in new sights, sounds, smells, and more. Help your baby learn about the world by trying these 10 fun games. Dance, Dance Revolution In the afternoons when my own baby got grumpy, nothing worked as well as dancing with her. I'd put on some music – she preferred soulful tunes from Stevie Wonder and James Brown – and either put her in the sling or hold her in my arms. At first she preferred soft swaying. Later on she liked me to swing her in the air or bump her up and down rather rudely. (Just be sure to offer neck support and don't shake your baby.) When your arms get tired, put your baby down and keep up the dance. Silly exaggerated movements like jazz hands or shaking your butt are particularly funny to babies. Close the drapes so the neighbors won't see. Let's Look at Stuff Most of your early playtime will be spent showing your baby stuff. Any object in the house that won't poison, electrocute, or otherwise hurt him is fair game. Babies love egg beaters, spoons, wire whisks, spatulas, books and magazines with pictures, bottles of shampoo or conditioner (don't leave your baby alone with these!), record albums, colorful fabrics or clothes, fruits and vegetables, and so on. Keep a little stash of objects beside you and sit with your baby. When the moment's right, whip something out like a magician. "Look, Kyle, Daddy's bicycle bell." Hold the object still about a foot from his face and stare at it yourself. Hey, now that you look at it, that bicycle bell is kind of interesting. Congratulations! You're thinking like a baby! Oh, and don't expect babies to really "get" books at this age. You'll know they're enjoying them by their way of getting still and watchful when you bring a favorite book out. Babies don't tend to sit through a whole story, though, and when they're a few months older they'll grab the books from you and close them. This is all developmental stuff. Babies love looking at books and cuddling close to you, but they usually don't care about the plot. Journey Into Mom's Closet You haven't spent a lifetime accumulating a closetful of bright, slinky, tactile clothing for nothing. Dig into your closet and show your baby your cashmere sweater, your cottony-soft favorite jeans, your brilliant plaid skirt. Run soft or silky fabrics over her face, hands, and feet. Lay fuzzy stuff down on the floor and put your baby on top of it. In a few months, your baby will want to run her hands over anything beaded, embroidered, or otherwise embellished. But for now, she may just be content to gaze in wonder. Hey! What's Over My Head? You'll be amazed at how much fun you can have with the simplest stuff around your house. Here are three ideas to start you off: Tie or tape some ribbons, fabric, or other interesting streamers onto a wooden spoon and dangle them gently over and in front of your baby's face. Take a floaty scarf and fling it into the air, letting it settle on your baby's head. Tie a toy to an elastic string (like the kind used for cat toys) and bounce it up and down in front of your baby's face, saying "Boing! Boing!" every time it descends. Remember, never leave your baby alone with strings or ribbons that could encircle his neck or that he could get into his mouth. The Diva Within You may have a terrible voice – but your kid doesn't know it! Now's the time to sing at volume 10, so set free that opera voice inside you. Your baby may like absolutely anything you sing, but there are some classics you should know. "Itsy Bitsy Spider" was the only song that made my baby stop crying when she was on a jag. And most kids like any song with movements – "The Wheels on the Bus," "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes," and "Patty-Cake," to name a few. (If you don't remember the words to a favorite song, just look online.) You may feel silly at first, but as your child gets into it, so will you. Try adding your baby's name to the song: "Old Mac Ethan had a farm," "Kate is my sunshine, my only sunshine," and so on. Try songs with silly sounds or animal noises in them, like "Witch Doctor" or "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" Try singing a song in a low growly voice and then in a high squeaky voice, to see which gets the most reaction. Try singing the song breathily into your baby's ear, or use a hand puppet (or a napkin or sock willing to play the part of a hand puppet). And get used to singing, because this could begin to eat up a significant portion of your day. 4 to 6 months At this age, your baby will become a lot more physical, learning how to roll over and even sit up. She can now hold, handle, and mouth objects, and she'll spend a good part of her busy days doing so (meaning extra vigilance is needed on your part). Games can get more physical now. Your baby might enjoy knee rides or tickle games. She's also more responsive to you, making noises and meeting your eyes. Smell the Spice Rack You're in the kitchen, trying to throw some kind of dinner together when your baby starts wailing. Take him over to the spice rack and introduce him to the intoxicating scent of cinnamon. Rub some on your hand and put it up to your baby's nose. (Don't let it get in his eyes or mouth.) If he likes it, try others: Vanilla, peppermint, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, and many other herbs and spices have intriguing fragrances that your baby might love. Other household goods are fragrant, too: Dad's shaving lotion, Mom's hand cream. Sniff out everything yummy – just be careful not to let your baby eat it! 10 games your baby will love: 4 to 6 months old Now that your baby is more alert, make him smile with these 10 fun games that are perfect for bonding and developing new skills. Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere There's something magical about bubbles, and at this point your baby can see far enough away to focus on them. Blow bubbles when she's getting fussy waiting for the bus and watch the tears dry up. Blow bubbles in the park to attract older kids who'll caper nearby and entertain your baby in the process. Blow bubbles in the bathtub or out on the porch when it's late afternoon and your baby is cranky. Bubbles are unbelievably cheap, easily transportable, and endlessly fascinating for babies. I'm Gonna Get You! Your baby is old enough to have a sense of anticipation now. And no baby can resist your coming at him mock-menacingly with a threat of hugs, kisses, or tickles. Here's what you could say: "Hey, Sweetpea! I see you over there sitting up! Well, that just makes you closer to my lips and I'm going to come over there and kiss you! I'm going to steal a kiss, baby! I'm coming! I'm coming! I... gotcha!" Then cover your baby in smooches. In our house we threaten to eat the baby and punctuate our advances with lip chomps on her fat little feet. A delicacy! When your baby's older you can modify this game to include a chase around the house – this works wonderfully as a way to get your child out the door when you're in a rush. This Little Piggy Touch your baby's toes in turn, starting with the big toe. Say, "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went wee-wee-wee all the way home." As you say that last part, run your fingers up your baby's belly. This game is useful for putting on socks and shoes or distracting your baby during diaper changes. You can also play this game in the bathtub with a squirt bottle targeting your baby's toes. Find two perfect, development-boosting activities for every week of your baby's first year. Tummy Time It's important to have your baby spend time on her tummy, even if she protests vociferously. Get down on the floor with your baby. Look her in the eye as you lie on your own belly. Lay your baby down on a towel and use it to gently roll her from side to side. Try saying, "Oops-a-daisy, Oops-a-daisy" as you roll her. Fly, Baby, Fly! Now that your baby can hold his head up, it's time to hoist him into the air. You can play that he's a rocket ship, flying him over you and making realistic rocket noises. You can play that your baby is in an elevator, which advances up floor by floor before sinking quickly to the bottom (my husband likes to bump noses with our baby and say "Ding!" at this point). Or pretend that your baby's doing a helicopter traffic report. 7 to 9 months Your baby's becoming an expert at sitting and may soon be crawling as well. Encourage these physical feats by celebrating each new milestone with claps and a cheer: "Yay, you sat up! Amazing baby!" The ability to transfer objects from hand to hand and the fabled pincer grasp are part of your baby's increasing hand control (which means you'll be forced to carry a container of O-shaped cereal with you at all times for the next year). Your baby also begins to understand that when an object moves out of sight, it hasn't disappeared from the face of the earth. This discovery makes games like peek-a-boo a favorite. Touch It, Hold It, Bang It If your baby has one object, she'll bang it on the table. If she has two objects, she'll bang them together, hold them up to the light, squint at them, bang them separately on the table, hit the table with both at the same time, see if the object sounds different when hit using the left hand rather than the right hand, and on and on. Help her out by handing over objects that make interesting sounds: hollow containers, metal spoons, bells. Pay attention to tactile sensations as well: Your baby will be fascinated by an embossed greeting card or the slickness of Mom's enameled jewelry box. A baby with strands of cooked spaghetti to play with will be thoroughly entranced. I Can Control the World Babies love cause and effect at this age, as in: I do this, the light comes on. I do that, the light goes off. Showing your baby how to work light switches, faucets, doorbells, and more will thrill him – but can make life more difficult for you when he insists on being held up to work the lights yet again. Instead, you may want to offer a other dangers (dressers with drawers pulled out can turn over on a child) and then let your baby go to town. Obstacle Course If your baby's crawling, scooting, or walking, she may enjoy the challenge of having to move over things. (This is great for developing her motor skills, too. Pillows, tired parents, and laundry make good obstacles. Sleeping cats do not. So Many Variations on Peek-a-boo The classic: Hold up a towel between your face and your baby's and ask, "Where's Sam? There's Sam!" over and over again. You can vary this game in a million ways. Hide behind a door and make your baby push it open to see you. Hide behind a chair and pop out first from above then from the sides. Go behind a corner with another person and alternate who jumps out and yells "Boo!" Keep a selection of hats behind the couch and pop up wearing a different one each time. A surefire laugh-getter is to put a hat on your head, low enough to cover your eyes, and let your baby take it off, saying "Oh!" in surprise each time he does it. (This will also guarantee that you'll never wear a hat in peace again.) Roll Play Babies are fascinated by balls and how they move. You'll get a big laugh by juggling or tossing balls up in the air and letting them hit the floor while you make a silly sound effect: "Whoops!" Roll a soft ball toward your baby and watch her grab and squeeze it. Eventually, with encouragement, she'll roll the ball back toward you. And someday she'll be able to kick and toss the ball or drop it into a big bowl or bucket. For now, bounce and roll. 10 to 12 months Developmentally, your baby has suddenly morphed into an almost-toddler. Games that allow him to practice so-called gross motor skills such as standing, pulling up, and climbing are important for him now. Your baby will also like to work on his fine motor skills by fiddling with the tag on your shirt or the pages of a book – and maybe your breasts or bra if he's still nursing. Rearrange and Re-rearrange Your baby is figuring out the connections between objects in the world. She'll love to stack and arrange objects, as well as fill and empty them. Give your baby a box that's easy to open (like a shoe box) and show her how to put things inside and take them out. At our house, this game quickly evolves into "Take everything out of Mommy's purse and fling it wildly around the living room," which is why I no longer carry change or pens. Another way to play this game: Get a bunch of cups (maybe even stackable measuring cups – ooh, two toys in one!) and show your baby how to pour water, sand, or cornmeal from one to the other, or into a larger container. The Endless Cruise Once your baby is up on his feet, you can encourage cruising by placing a favorite toy at the far end of the couch or over on the coffee table. Try enticing your baby by putting one of your toys, such as your or sunglasses, a distance away and cruising on your knees toward it. Your baby may find this amusing and attempt to join you. Encourage your baby to push an object around the room. Push toys and large empty boxes work well. Avoid folding chairs, which can fold up unexpectedly. Top That Kid Babies this age love to imitate. Encourage this behavior by making a ridiculous noise and then nodding at your baby to go ahead and try a noise. She may imitate you or make her own noise, which you can imitate. Or you can make up a new noise of your own. You can also play this game with faces or movements – our kid likes to raise her arms in a V shape and wave them around. When we do it back, her expression is of someone witnessing magic. The Bath Is Fun No longer is your baby content to sit in the tub and be washed. Older babies want to stand up, splash, grab your hair, pat the shower curtain, and so on. (Note: Never leave a baby unattended in the bath, not even for a minute.) Encourage the fun by adding lots of toys to the tub. Plenty of stuff around the house can be endlessly filled, drained, poured from or into, and floated. Pile up some plastic cups, yogurt containers, funnels, and squeeze bottles, and bring them into the bath along with any of your baby's plastic toys. Poke holes in the top of a plastic bottle with a flat cap to make a homemade watering can. Let your baby feel the sensation of the water dripping onto him and show him how to cut off the flow by blocking it with his hand. Use your homemade toy to give his rubber ducky a shower. At the end of the bath, drain the toys in a plastic colander or a net bag suction-cupped to the side of the tub. Hopefully your baby is clean, happy, and ready to sleep. Wasn't that fun?

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Baby developmental milestones chart: 7 to 12 months

  Though you’ll find some specifics, like when babies sit up , “normal development” refers to these skills: Gross motor skills: using large groups of muscles, balancing, and changing position (sitting, standing, walking, etc.) Fine motor skills: using hands for smaller, more refined movements (playing, eating, etc.) Language skills: communicating via body language and understanding what others are saying Cognitive skills: more refined thinking skills, like reasoning and remembering Social skills: expressing feelings and responding to the feelings of others one in six children will have a developmental delay, but that doesn’t mean your baby will face long-term issues. Missing a few monthly milestones is not cause for panic. There are many factors that influence when infant milestones happen. In most cases, your baby just needs a little extra time. Babies born prematurely, for example, are more likely to hit each milestone counting from their due date, not their day of birth. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns. 7 Month Baby Milestones In month 7, baby’s eyesight is improving, allowing for more coordination.  Transfering objects from one hand to another While your baby has explored objects by touch and mouth for months now, around month 7, baby will start transferring objects from from one hand to another, displaying spatial awareness. Improving vision Babies eye control and eye-body coordination becomes more refined. Improved depth perception allows babies to reach for toys and other objects. What’s more, babies’ color vision should be fairly strong by this age! 8 Month Baby Milestones In month 8, baby is on the move and better able to communicate with you.  Learning object permanence Their brains continue to amaze as they start to understand object permanence. This is the psychological phenomenon that helps folks understand that when something disappears from view, it doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. (In other words, when mommy leaves the room, she will come back.) It may seem like small potatoes to grown adults, but think of the amazing intellectual leaps this takes for infants! Crawling The developmental milestone of crawling may not happen all at once or in a linear fashion—and some babies will only crawl for a short period of time. Others babies won’t crawl the way you’d expect to, crawling sideways or scooting their bottom along the floor. Crawling is very important—it not only strengthens baby’s muscles, but it also improves baby’s brain function. It’s tempting to hold baby up and try to teach them to walk—it’s such an exciting time—but a little bit of patience can really help baby. Experts saycrawling improves hand-eye coordination, plus improves comprehension, concentration, and memory.  Saying first words Your baby will be communicating now more than ever by the end of these months. She will be repeating sounds like “bababa” or, very adorably, “mamama.” (Though fair warning, mamas: Baby is likely to say Dada first.) Additionally, words start to carry meaning at this stage. You’ll find she understands simple words like, “no.” What’s more, she’ll begin to use her fingers to point, further associating movement with communication and comprehension. 9 Month Baby Milestones In month 9, baby’s brain is working hard—he/she is starting to use objects for their intended purpose.  Standing Babies should be able to stand holding on to your hands. You may even witness your baby pulling himself up. Improved dexterity Those jerky arm movements have long since disappeared. Babies are now able to wield objects more efficiently. Their improved dexterity might mean banging or shaking toys (or anything else they can get their hands on! Careful!)  This baby milestone also indicates increased cognitive function. You may notice baby beginning to use household objects for their intended purpose. For example, they may mimic drinking out of a cup (or actually do so!). This will also become apparent with pretend play, which should be just about starting. Look forward to baby pretending to talk on the phone and engaging in other imaginative play. 10 Month Baby Milestones In month 10, the fun really begins—baby understands and engages in simple games.  Cruising Baby may be walking while holding onto you or furniture. Playing interactive games By this point, babies can understand simple games (think peekaboo), find hidden objects, or take things in and out of a container. Encourage all of these behaviors! They will help develop those all important fine motor skills and every bit of playtime is also learning time. 11 Month Baby Milestones In month 11, you’ll notice baby’s flourishing personality and his/her desire to explore.  Starting to explore Baby will take all of those newfound gross motor skills like sitting, crawling, and cruising to start checking everything out. No cabinet or shelf is safe, my friends! Take steps to baby proof and make extra sure cleaning supplies, toiletries, and medicine cabinets are well off limits for baby. Better yet, work on getting any toxic junk out of your house! (See how to make natural cleaners for your home.) Developing their distinct personality Babies start to understand emotions better, reading and reacting to your emotional state. This level of communication and interaction deepens as they are able to use their bourgeoning vocabulary to state what they want and need. 12 Month Baby Milestones In month 12, baby’s brain has more than doubled in size! He/she is walking and talking.  Beginning to walk Here’s another developmental milestone you’ve been waiting for! Around 12 months, babies may begin to walk! They may still need a bit of help or support, but the pitter patter of those precious little feet are on the horizon. Improving language skills Watch out! At this stage, children should start repeating the words you say. They should already have a small vocabulary, and they will be practicing simple gestures like waving bye or shaking their head yes and no. Baby Milestones Chart Month   Milestones Month 1: Baby is getting acquainted with the outside world.     • Reacting to sights and sounds • Displaying reflexes Month 2: Baby’s development centers around his relationship with you and other caregivers.    • Paying attention to faces and recognizing people • Cooing • Smiling • Supporting their own head Month 3: Baby’s working on her coordination.    • Connecting sound, sight, and movement • Grasping objects Month 4: Baby’s cognitive, social, and motor skills start to develop at a rapid pace.     • Copying sounds, movements, and facial expressions • Rolling over • Babbling • Laughing Month 5: Baby’s becoming more expressive and preparing for crawling, pulling himself up, and walking.    • Smiling at the mirror • Expressing new emotions • Refining basic movements Month 6: Baby’s narrowing in on his communication and motor skills.    • Responding to their own name • Moving… a lot • Sitting Month 7: Baby’s eyesight is improving, allowing for more coordination.    • Transfering objects from one hand to another • Improving vision Month 8: Baby is on the move and better able to communicate with you.     • Learning object permanence • Crawling • Saying first words Month 9: Baby’s brain is working hard—he/she is starting to use objects for their intended purpose.     • Standing • Improved dexterity Month 10: The fun really begins—baby understands and engages in simple games.    • Cruising • Playing interactive games Month 11: You’ll notice baby’s flourishing personality and his/her desire to explore.     • Starting to explore • Developing their distinct personality Month 12: Baby’s brain has more than doubled in size! He/she is walking and talking.     • Beginning to walk • Improving language skills What to Do If Your Baby Isn’t Meeting Milestones All of baby’s firsts are important, but missing a few monthly milestones is usually not cause for panic. Your baby’s doctor will be watching for baby’s developmental milestones during each well child visit. If there’s any concern, the pediatrician may recommend a developmental assessment test to determine if any treatment or intervention is needed. If your doctor gives the all clear, but you still have concerns, get a second opinion. Remember: You know your child’s movements and patterns best. Even if it is just a nagging feeling, never be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns. content source

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2-month-old, first week: Growth, care and more

Your baby at two months old Drum roll please... It’s the moment you've been waiting for since you met your tiny little baby all those weeks ago. Around now you should be getting your first lopsided smile – not wind, but a perfect little smile. Hopefully it will make all those sleepless nights worthwhile, or at least bearable for a bit longer. Maybe your baby smiled at six weeks old, or maybe you might have to wait another month – it’s not an exact science, so don't worry. Read on below to find out more about the developments you might expect to see from your 2 month old baby. Your baby’s senses at two months old Vision Colour differences are becoming clearer to your baby, and they start to distinguish between colours. Your baby will still prefer bright primary colours and clear, bold designs and shapes but they can now see around 60cm from their face. Encourage your baby by showing them bright pictures. Hearing At 2 months old your babies hearing will be becoming a better listener and they will be able to differentiate between voices they’ve heard more frequently. Regularly talking (or singing) to your baby is a great way to get them used to your voice and also a way to sooth and calm them as they become more familiar. Your baby’s motor skills at two months old  Kicking and waving  Your baby’s movements are becoming less jerky and slightly more co-ordinated. They start to love kicking out when lying down, which is great exercise and helps strengthen their legs. They may also wave their little fists in excitement. At least we hope it’s excitement.  Pushing up and rolling  Your baby may have enough neck muscle power to hold their head up for short periods when they’re lying on their tummy or on your shoulder – but not for long. You might find your baby is now rolling around more. They won’t yet be able to fully roll onto their front (although that will come soon!) but you’ll still want to keep an eye on them if you have them elevated e.g. during a nappy change.  Grasping and unclasping  Your baby was born with a grasping reflex, but they don’t yet know how to let go of things – which is why long-haired mums better be prepared for some painful moments. Around now you may notice them unclasping their fists and trying to wave them.  Other 2 month old baby developments  Drooling  They won’t yet be teething, but you might notice that your baby is starting to drool more (and making a bit of a mess!), as their salivary glands develop. Fear not though, their drool actually contains a lot of bacteria killing enzymes so it’s no bad thing to get it on their toys or other surfaces they’re interacting with.  Sleeping  You may find that your baby is beginning to sleep in more solid blocks (of 5 or 6 hours) but at 2 months old, it’s still very common for your baby to be waking up in the middle of the night.  Reading to your baby  They might not be able to follow along just yet, but reading to your baby can help to sooth them, whilst also helping them to become more familiar with your voice. Try varying the tone and intonation of your voice to keep them interested and build a better connection.  First Immunisations  When your baby is 2 months old you’ll be offered the first round of immunisations which includes protection against a range of diseases including: Rotavirus – A highly infectious virus that can cause gastroenteritis in your baby DTaP/IPV/Hib – Protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and haemophilus influenza Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) – This protects against pneumococcal infections including pneumonia, meningitis and bronchitis Six-week postnatal check  At around the 6 week mark, both you and your baby will be offered a post-natal check-up. This check up with b to make sure your baby is developing well and is healthy. In this check-up you can expect the nurse to weigh and measure your baby, check their development of hips, heart, genitals and eyes, and also ask you some questions about how they’re feeding.  How to help your baby develop in month two When you’re talking to your baby, give them time to respond to what you are saying with a look or babble. Research shows babies whose parents who allow them to respond  learn to talk earlier This is a great time to introduce a baby gym – they’ll try to bat at the hanging toys, but careful not to overdo it – a five to 10 minute session is enough, and don’t persevere if they cry. Leave it a week or two and try again Lots of mums get embarrassed about talking to their baby and don’t know what on earth to say. One way to get started is to keep up a kind of commentary on what you’re doing, a bit like a Victorian nanny, according to babycare expert Dr Miriam Stoppard. “They would say, ‘now, shall we put our coats on? Now, let’s go out for a walk. That’s right, into the pram we go.’ I think a child should hear words for much of the time they are awake. Babies have a window when they can learn speech, and it’s open from birth” Game of the month  Try playing different types of music and watch your baby kick their legs and listen with intense concentration. If you play a quieter tune you will see them visibly relax (some research says it may even send them to sleep. No promises.) Are they normal? A small note on developmental milestones: it’s really true – all babies are different and although we can encourage them, they will do things at their own pace and in their own time. content source

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When can you start giving Finger Foods to your baby?

Any bite-size, easy-to-eat pieces of food that your baby can easily pick up and eat on his own can be described as finger food. Eating finger food is fun for your baby, and an important step towards independence that also helps him develop his fine motor skills and coordination. When you can introduce finger foods to your baby? When your baby is between 8 and 9 months old, she'll probably let you know that she's ready to start feeding herself by grabbing the spoon you're feeding her with or snatching food off your plate. How should you introduce finger foods to your baby? Simply scatter four or five pieces of finger food onto your baby's highchair tray or an unbreakable plate. You can add more pieces of food as your baby eats them. Feeding your baby in a highchair rather than in a car seat or stroller will reduce the risk of choking and teach him that a highchair is the place to eat. Which foods make the best finger foods? When choosing the best finger foods for baby—whether you’re starting at 6 months or 9 months—experts suggest that it’s best to begin with small pieces of soft food that dissolve easily. Your baby may have a good appetite, but she probably doesn't have many teeth, so start with foods that she can chew or that will dissolve easily in her mouth. As she grows into a toddler, you'll be able to give her bite-size pieces of whatever you're eating. Remember that your baby is learning about food's texture, color, and aroma as she feeds herself, so try to offer her a variety. Resist the temptation to give your baby sweets like cookies and cake or high-fat snacks like cheese puffs and chips. Your baby needs nutrient-rich foods now, not empty calories. Here's a list of finger food favourites: Small pieces of lightly toasted bread or bagels (spread with vegetable puree for extra vitamins) Small chunks of banana or other very ripe peeled and pitted fruit, like mango, plum, pear, peach, or seedless watermelon Well-cooked pasta spirals, cut into pieces Very small chunks of soft cheese Chopped hard-boiled egg Small pieces of well-cooked vegetables, like carrots, peas, potato, or sweet potato Small well-cooked broccoli or cauliflower "trees" Pea-size pieces of cooked chicken, ground beef or turkey, or other soft meat   Content source Featured image source    

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Seven-weeks old baby: Health, growth, care and more

At 7 weeks old, your little one is going through a lot of growth and development. Every day might seem to bring new surprises, but here’s what you can expect as a parent of a 7-week-old baby. Your Growing Baby You can expect your 7-week-old baby to continue their plotted development on the growth chart specific to their personal development. At this time, they will: Continue to gain about 1.5 to 2 pounds a month Grow about 10 inches (25 centimeters) between the time of birth and 12 months Have a head circumference that grows at about 2 centimeters a month Despite the fact that your baby is always growing and developing, babies will not always grow at a constant, regular rate. They may instead be more apt to have periods of rapid growth followed by slower growth. So, if it seems like they are moving out of those newborn onesies and into 3-month-old outfits seemingly overnight, it's normal. Developmental Milestones Although every baby is different, your 7-week-old baby should be making the following physical and developmental milestones appropriate for this age. Body Holds objects in their hand. Unlike the reflexive clutching skills that your baby has displayed so far, your little one now has more strength to be able to hold items on their own. Begins to bat at objects. Your baby might not quite be able to grab items out of their reach just yet, but you may notice them start to bat at objects, especially overhead toys, like play mats or swings and bouncer seats with mobiles. Brain After a big growth spurt in week 6, it might feel like your 7-week-old baby is settling down a bit. You may notice more frequent periods of calmness and alertness as they study the world around them. It's not random—they really are learning more each and every moment. Thanks to all of that new brain growth, take note of some of these new skills. Tracking objects or people. Feel like you’re constantly being watched? You are! Your little one is learning to keep eyes on you at all times as they gain the ability to follow objects with their eyes as they move. Test this new skill by holding an object in front of your baby’s eyes, then moving it slowly from side to side or just walk across the room. Your baby will best be able to track items or people moving horizontally; tracking vertical or diagonal movements will come in the next several months. Smiling. Your baby’s first smiles may have occurred last week or will develop this week. As the days go on, your baby will flash more and more smiles your way as they figure out that their smiles lead to mom smiles. Babies love to make you smile and even at this young age, they are figuring out how to get what they want by being adorable.  When to Be Concerned All babies develop at different rates and babies who were born prematurely or who have special needs may have different developmental milestones to meet according to their own timetables. For full-term babies who have no other medical conditions, you will want to talk to your pediatrician at 7 weeks old if your baby: Is not able to hold his or her head up Cannot track horizontal movements Appears to be developing a flat spot on either the back of the head or either side Cannot turn his or her head Baby Care Basics This week is a good time to make tummy time a consistent part of your daily routine if you haven’t done it already. Tummy time is important at this age, especially because your baby has gained the neck muscles necessary to hold up their head, but those muscles may be underutilized if your baby is spending a lot of time on their back. If a baby spends too much time on their back without changing position, they may be at risk for developing positional plagiocephaly, or a flat head. Increasing tummy time can help, but in some cases, it may require a specially fitted helmet for your baby. Without sufficient tummy time, babies may also have delays in other development milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, and crawling, because the muscles they need are not strong enough. Get started on tummy time with these tips: Work your way up. Start with shorter periods of time, from a few minutes, and work your way up to 10- to 20-minute periods of tummy twice a day. If you haven’t done a lot of tummy time yet, your baby may not like it very much at first. That’s okay—they just need more practice. Remember tummy time doesn’t have to be on the floor. Holding your baby to your chest counts for tummy time, too, because it will still get those muscles working. Use a play mat. Many activity mats and play mats have playful, colorful patterns that your little one can look at and study to make tummy time more fun. Use a pillow. Breastfeeding pillows are especially helpful for tummy time—just be sure you never leave your baby unsupervised around a pillow or on the floor. Get involved! If your little one is resisting tummy time, join in on the fun by getting down on the floor with them. Feeding & Nutrition Your baby may still be experiencing a significant amount of gas at this age. It could be completely normal and your baby will outgrow it, or it could be caused by breast milk or infant formula. If your baby is formula-fed, try experimenting with different types of formula. Your baby’s digestive system may have changed since the newborn days, so it may be worth re-visiting other brands or types of formula that you tried in the past without success. A formula that didn’t work for your baby at 2 weeks may just work at 7 weeks. If your baby is breastfed, think about what you are consuming that may be causing gassiness in your infant. Some common culprits of foods that can lead to your baby getting gas through breast milk include cow's milk and dairy products, vegetables (like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, and peppers), cucumbers, garlic, and chocolate.   Sleep This week also marks a significant sleep milestone for many infants. According to a study in Archives of Disease in Childhood, the peak age for infant fussiness and crying at night is between 5 and 6 weeks. And although your infant probably won't sleep through the night (defined as sleeping longer periods of time, not necessarily a full eight-hour stretch like an adult) until around 13 weeks, you may be moving past the peak age of evening fussiness. Hopefully, that means calmer evenings and an easier time putting your baby to sleep at this age. But be careful to not let the newfound ease make you lax on bedtime routines; it’s still important to be consistent with bedtime and sleep cues so that your baby can learn how to go to sleep on their own. Of course, keep in mind that all babies are different, so your infant might have a longer experience of being fussy, too. content source

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This is how your baby will grow at eight months

How your baby's growing Your baby's now exploring objects by shaking them, banging them, dropping them and throwing them before falling back on the tried-and-tested method of gumming them. The idea that you do something to an object is beginning to emerge (using a comb to tidy her hair), so an activity centre with lots of things your baby can bang, poke, twist, squeeze, shake, drop and open will fascinate her. Your baby will also be fascinated with toys that have specific functions, such as phones. If she can't hold it up to her ear herself, do it for her and pretend to have a conversation. Over the next few months, she'll start to use objects for their intended purposes – brushing her hair, drinking from a cup and babbling on her play phone. Find out more fascinating facts about your eight-month-old's development How your life's changing It's completely natural for your baby to start showing signs of separation anxiety when you leave him in the care of others. In fact, it's a sign of normal, healthy development. Not that knowing this makes it any easier on you to see your baby in distress. To help the two of you weather the goodbye blues:   Say goodbye in an affectionate but matter-of-fact way. Try not to draw out farewells or let yourself get emotional in response to your baby's crying. Stay away once you say goodbye. Resist the temptation to turn back and check if he's OK. This will only make things more difficult for you both. If it will make you feel better, call when you get to where you're going. Chances are he stopped crying straight after you left and got diverted by an activity. Spend some special time together when you pick up your baby. Read the signals and trust your instincts. Does your baby react the same way when your partner does the drop-off? If not, perhaps getting him to do the dropping off is a better alternative. Does he seem unhappy when you pick him up? It's unlikely – but possible – that your baby and the babysitter or carer may just not be a good "fit".  

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding/Formula Feeding

Mothers have to make so many decisions on how to raise their children and what can give them the best start in life. Perhaps the first choice you need to make is whether to bottle feed or breastfeed your new-born.   While most pediatricians will agree when it comes to baby feeding that “breast is best”, there are of course times when it's just not practical, or possible, to breastfeed. In such cases, the option of bottle feeding can come as a blessed substitute for mothers.   If you're considering bottle feeding, this information may help you have a better picture of the benefits and the downsides, so that you can make a more well-rounded decision.   Advantages of Bottle Feeding & Formula Feeding Here are some of the advantages and benefits of bottle feeding and formula feeding: • When feeding your baby with formula feed, you can measure exactly how much food your little one is getting per feeding. This is useful in understanding how much food is necessary for your baby to feel full. • Bottle feeding helps parents share the work of feeding. Babies who are breastfed usually need to eat every two or three hours. When it comes to bottle feeding, since the bottle does the work, mum doesn't have to be the one on call at all times. Bottle feeding allows anyone in the family to help out when it comes to feeding little Junior. • Mums who choose to bottle feed their babies don't have to worry about altering their diet to meet the needs of their baby. Caffeine, alcohol, and calorie intake are more flexible. Nursing mums are advised to take in about 500 calories per day, which can make weight loss difficult. • Formula-fed babies will generally eat less often than breastfed babies because baby formulas take longer to digest than mother's milk.   Disadvantages of Bottle Feeding & Formula Feeding Here are some of the disadvantages you may experience if you decide to feed your child with a bottle and formula feed: • Certain studies suggest that mums who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis later in life.   • Some research has seen mothers who bottle feed are more likely to experience postpartum depression. Though the exact cause of this is up to considerable debate, studies do suggest that mothers who breastfeed are less prone to experience postpartum depression than mothers who don’t.   • Studies have suggested that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes later in life.    • Breast milk contains more nutrients than formula and helps promote brain growth and development. Breast milk also helps improve your baby's immunity. • Breast milk is easier on the digestive system of a new-born than formula is. • Nursing provides comfort to your little one and can help calm him when he is upset, sick, or dehydrated. Nursing also strengthens the bond between mother and child. • Bottle feeding is less convenient during midnight feeding sessions as it requires your full attention to get up and prepare the bottle. • Formula food can be an expense. • Breast milk contains infection-fighting antibodies that formula food can't duplicate.   If you choose to breastfeed your baby, try to continue until about 12 months. If you wean your baby before 12 months, avoid giving them cow's milk feedings, but instead iron-fortified infant formula to replace the iron intake from breast milk. In most cases, the most ideal nutrition for your little one is breast milk, as it provides the ideal nutrition that is necessary for your baby's development, especially during the first six months.   However, should you decide that bottle feeding works out better for you, then go for it guilt-free! There are advantages and benefits to bottle feeding. Remember, when it comes to how you feed your baby, nobody knows your little one better than you.   Whether you opt for the bottle or breast, the choice is entirely your own. Content Source Featured Image Source

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Is Your Child Really Ready for Preschool?

Every child develops at his own pace, so preschool readiness and social readiness can blossom at different rates. Some children are more than ready at 18 months, while other children need to be 3 or 4 years old before they pick up a mini-backpack or lunch box. As you ponder whether to start preschool, take the following into consideration:  Can your child work on his own for a brief period?  He should be able to focus and complete a puzzle, a drawing, or a block construction by himself without direct supervision or support from an adult.  Can he do basic self-care?  Most centers want kids toilet-trained or at least showing strong signs of readiness. (If a child is on the verge, the example of the other kids often works as a motivator.)  Can he participate in group activities?  While this is a skill he'll be developing in preschool, he has to be ready to start. He should be able to sit in circle time listening to the teacher and the other kids, and to follow stories and activities presented in a group.  Can she separate from you for a few hours at a time?  If your child accepts babysitters or goes readily to day care, there's a good chance she will be ready to separate for a preschool experience, although all children will need some support and time to adjust.  Can she manage a preschool schedule?  Preschools are busy places, usually with activities, a snack, outdoor play in the morning, and a quiet time or nap in the afternoon. If you have a child who is still a morning napper or has trouble with several activities in the morning, she may not be ready for preschool.    Content and Feature Image Source

Facts About Young Children / Pinterest

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