Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills refer to the movements babies make with the small muscles of their hands.

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Slow weight gain in breastfed babies

Most breastfed babies will get enough breast milk and gain weight in a consistent and expected pattern as long as they latch on well and breastfeed often. But, what if you think your child isn't getting what he needs to grow and thrive? If you're breastfeeding and your newborn is gaining weight slowly or inconsistently then he may not be getting enough breast milk. So, here's what to look for and what to do if you think your child isn't gaining weight well. Breastfeeding and Slow Weight Gain Breastfed newborns can lose up to 10 percent of their birth weight during the first week. Then, by the time a child is two weeks old, he should regain the weight that was lost. After that, for the next three months or so, breastfed babies gain about 28 gram per day. Of course, every newborn is different, and some children just normally grow more slowly than others. So, as long as your baby is breastfeeding well and his health care exams are on target, a slower weight gain may not be an issue. When Slow Weight Gain Is a Problem Weight gain is the best sign that a child is getting enough breast milk. When a baby is gaining weight slower than expected, it could mean that she's not getting enough. So, if your newborn is not back to her birth weight in two weeks, or she's not gaining weight consistently after that, it may be that there's a breastfeeding issue that's preventing your child from getting enough breast milk. The Reasons Your Baby May Not Be Gaining Weight as Expected Your newborn is not latching on well: A good latch allows your child to remove the breast milk from your breast without getting tired out and frustrated. If your baby is not latching on correctly, or latching on to just your nipple, she won't be able to remove the breast milk very well. Your baby isn't breastfeeding often enough: Breastfeed your newborn at least every two to three hours through the day and night for the first six to eight weeks. If he wants to breastfeed more often, put him back to the breast. Your child is not breastfeeding long enough at each feeding: Newborns should breastfeed for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side. As your child gets older, she won't need to breastfeed as long to get the breast milk she needs, but during the first few weeks, try to keep her awake and actively sucking for as long as you can. Your little one is in pain: If your baby is not comfortable because of a birth injury or an infection such as thrush in her mouth, she may not breastfeed well, and therefore she may be gaining weight slowly. You have a low breast milk supply: A low milk supply can prevent your child from getting enough breast milk, but it could also be the result of your baby not breastfeeding well. It's a bit of a vicious cycle. The good news is that a typical low milk supply can often be recovered pretty easily.   Content source Featured image source

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Introducing solid foods to your baby: Quick tips

As your baby gets older, she starts to need solid food so she can get enough iron and other essential nutrients for growth and development. For about the first six months of life, your baby uses iron stored in his body from when he was in the womb. He also gets some iron from breastmilk and/or infant formula. But your baby’s iron stores go down as he grows. And by around six months, he can’t get the iron he needs from breast milk or infant formula alone. Introducing solids is also important for helping your baby learn to eat, giving her experience of new tastes and textures from a range of foods, developing her teeth and jaws, and building other skills that she’ll need later for language development. Signs that it’s time for introducing solids: Your baby’s individual development and behaviour will guide you when you’re trying to work out when to start introducing solids. Signs your baby is ready for solids include when your baby: Has good head and neck control and can sit upright when supported Shows an interest in food – for example, by looking at what’s on your plate Reaches out for your food Opens his mouth when you offer him food on a spoon. Most babies start to show these signs around six months, but the signs happen at different times for different babies. It’s not recommended to introduce solids before four months. If your baby is nearing seven months of age and hasn’t started solids, you might like to get some advice from your child and family health nurse or GP. How to introduce solids: Food timing When you’re first introducing solids, it’s a good idea to offer solids when you and your baby are both happy and relaxed. Your baby is also more likely to try solids after a feed of breastmilk or formula. This is because when babies are really hungry, they just want the breastmilk or formula that they know satisfies their hunger. They’ll still have room to try new foods after they’ve had a feed of breastmilk or formula. As time passes, you’ll learn when your baby is hungry or full, not interested or tired. Signs of hunger include your baby: Getting excited when she sees you getting her food ready Leaning towards you while she’s sitting in the highchair Opening her mouth as you’re about to feed her Signs your baby is no longer interested include: Turning his head away Losing interest or getting distracted Pushing the spoon away Clamping his mouth shut Content source Featured image 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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Growth spurts: What you need to know

From age 2 to 4, kids add about 2 to 3 inches in height per year and up to 4 pounds in weight. (From ages 1 to 3, growth takes place primarily in the legs and trunk.) Growth percentiles reveal your child's height and weight relative to other children of the same age and sex. For example, a child in the 75th percentile in height is taller than three-fourths of his peers. Growth is seldom steady and even. Instead, it tends to happen in spurts. Among the signs of a growth spurt in progress: Your child may seem hungrier than usual or eat more at a sitting. Your child may nap longer than usual or sleep longer at night. Your child may be crankier or clingier than usual even though he's not ill. It's probably a good idea not to put too much emphasis on growth spurts, however, in justifying behavioral changes over the long term. Typically, parents notice a child's growth spurt after it has already happened. You dress your child in the same pants he wore last week and they no longer reach his ankles, or his feet seem too big for his shoes. It's not uncommon for a young preschooler to grow two clothing sizes in a season. Responding to growth spurts You don't need to do much in response to a growth spurt, other than restock the closet. If your child seems to have a larger appetite than usual, feed her another serving at meals or provide more frequent snacks. Preschoolers often veer between "living on air" and vacuuming up food, depending on their body's needs. Let your child sleep longer for a few days if she seems to need it. What about growing pains? "Growing pains" – dull aches in the legs, especially around the calves, knees, and front of the thighs – are somewhat controversial and probably misnamed. No medical evidence links them to growing muscles or bones. It's possible, however, for growing muscles to feel tight and spasm after a lot of activity. As many as 25 to 40 percent of kids report this feeling, beginning around ages 3 to 5 (and then again in the tween years). Often the pain wakes a child up in the middle of the night. These pains tend to follow days of vigorous outside play. They can be treated with warm compresses, massage, gentle stretching, or acetaminophen. If the pain is severe or lasts more than 24 hours, report it to your child's doctor so he can rule out other causes, including juvenile arthritis, rheumatologic disorders, infection, fractures, and other orthopedic problems.   Content and Feature Image Source:

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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How Nature can Benefit Children / Skipping Stones

Preschool Checklist / Pinterest

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4 Things your Child Should Know before Preschool / Rainbow Chimes

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How to Boost your Baby's Creativity / Pinterest

Baby's First Year

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Help your Baby Develop Through Fun

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Developmental milestones record for your 4 months old

Do you feel like your 4-month-old is a whole new baby at times? You’re not imagining things! The 4-month mark is a big milestone in your little one’s life, thanks to some major brain and physical development milestones. Most babies by this age will have doubled their birth weights (or more) and will be sleeping more solid and longer stretches at night. You may have a more predictable schedule for naps, bedtime, and feedings, so life might feel a little more settled. But fair warning, this month can often include the dreaded 4-month sleep regression. Don’t worry—we’re here to help. Find out what to expect from your 4-month-old. Your Growing Baby: By 4 months old, most babies have a hit a pretty significant physical milestone by doubling their birth weight. If your baby was born prematurely, for instance, they may need a little more time to double their birth weight. Developmental Milestones: Your baby will become much more active and alert and learn to interact with the world around them. Here are some of the major developmental milestones you can expect at this age. Body Rolls over from front to back Sits with the support  Bears weight when standing on a hard surface Holds a rattle or other baby toys Holds up head and chest Pushes up to elbows when laying on stomach Reaches for objects with one hand Coordinates seeing and movement—spotting something they want, then reaching for it Follows objects moving from side to side with eyes Brings hands to mouth Brain Learns cause and effect Understands object permanence Improves clarity of eyesight and enjoys looking at more patterns, shapes, and colors Smiles spontaneously, most often at people Enjoys playing and may react with negative emotion, such as crying, if playing stops Mimics facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning Babbles and may try to mimic language, like cooing Recognizes people from a distance Cries in different ways to communicate hunger, boredom, frustration, sleepiness, etc When to Be Concerned: Although every baby will develop differently, if your little one is displaying any of the following signs or symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about them at your baby’s 4-month well-child check-up: Crossed eyes Has gained less than 50 percent of their birth weight Is unable to hold their head up Is not able to sit up at all with support Does not seem to respond to or is uninterested in your face Soft spot that appears to be bulging Doesn’t watch items or people as they move Isn’t smiling Content source Featured image source

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

If you feel you’re investing a lot of energy with your little one, this month may turn the tide a little bit. The early weeks of parenting can be a very one sided affair, with lots of input and not much feedback from babies to let their parents know how they’re growing. But now is the time when your baby will be more animated, smiling, beginning to coo and connect with you. Seeing your baby smile can be heart melting. Even if you’ve never had much to do with babies before, you are likely to have some idea of how to talk to your own. Just remember to establish eye contact with them, speak gently and show some animation on your face. As your baby smiles in response to you, then you, in turn will respond to them. This is known as reciprocity or the “dance” of communication which happens between a parent and their baby. Here are some crucial milestones that you may witness this month:  Feeding: Your baby may show increased signs of hunger this month and demand to be fed more often. Try to follow their lead when it comes to feeding times. If you are breastfeeding and have only been offering one breast, you may find you need to start offering both breasts at feed times in this month. Sleeping: Watch for more patterns of sleep developing this month, with your baby sleeping anywhere from 1-3 hours between most of their day sleeps. They are likely to be showing tired signs after the end of their feed session and this is often the best time to place them into their cots for a sleep. Total sleep over 24 hours varies considerably and any amount between 9-18 hours is considered normal at this age. Behaviour: Many babies peak in their crying episodes at 2 months, causing their parents to become almost as distressed. There are many reasons for baby’s cry even when it seems that all of their needs have been met. Maturation of the nervous system, being overwhelmed by stimulus, becoming overtired or just wanting reassurance are some of the most common reasons. Developmental milestones: Your baby’s involuntary grasp reflex will disappear around now, only to be replaced by a deliberate grip. Make sure you have some rattles and small but safe toys which they can entertain themselves with. This is also the time when your baby will discover their hands and feet and will keep themselves amused for stretches of time. As yet, your baby is still too young to know that those interesting appendages belong to them which mean they’ll be just as fascinated each time their hands and feet happen to cross their field of vision. Baby’s brain is hard at work learning to distinguish colors. As a result, baby will probably begin to show a preference for bright primary colors and more detailed and complicated designs. Encourage this development by showing baby pictures, photos, books, and toys. Growth: Your baby is likely to have a lot of growth and weight gain in the 2nd month, with an average of 150-200 grams per week. Don’t worry if they gain a lot of weight one week and not so much the next. Weight gain is only one indicator of growth. Head circumference and length, contentedness and general behaviour are equally as important as what the numbers and percentiles on the scales demonstrate.     Content source Featured image source  

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Your 2 months old baby growth and development

All your efforts and hard work as a doting parent will begin to show during your baby’s second month. Your baby isn’t quite capable of providing you with feedback about how they are currently doing but this month can be a bit more rewarding. Expect more smiles and a lot of cooing as your baby becomes animated. You are sure to get a strong emotional connection than earlier as you revel in the joys of motherhood. Second Month Baby Milestones: Motor Skills Two-month-old babies are gaining more control over their bodies. That means they can hold their head a little steadier while lying on their tummies or being supported upright. In the second month of life, babies continue to have a strong sucking reflex. You may notice your baby likes to suck on a fist or a few fingers. This is one of the best ways babies have of comforting themselves. At 2 months, your baby doesn’t yet have the coordination to play with toys. But she may bat at a colorful object hanging in front of her. Your baby may even briefly hold a toy that you place in one of her hands. Second Month Baby Milestones: Sleep Your baby’s sleep patterns are evolving, but at two months, they still aren’t fully established. At this age, babies sleep 15 to 16 hours a day. But those hours are sporadic, and they usually aren’t ready to sleep through the night. This is especially true for breastfed babies, who generally wake up to eat every three hours or so. Hang in there for just a few more weeks and you’ll be able to get some much-needed rest. You may even be able to get to a full night’s sleep earlier by helping your baby learn how to fall asleep on her own. All babies need to be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You can provide plenty of tummy time when your baby is awake and supervised. Also, remove all soft objects from baby’s crib, including pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and soft bumpers. Second Month Baby Milestones: The Senses At two months, babies can see objects -- and people -- from up to 18 inches away. That means you still need to get pretty close, but your baby will be able to see your face pretty well while feeding. She should also be able to follow movements when you walk close by. Baby’s hearing is improving, too. Your 2-month-old will especially enjoy listening to the sound of your voice. Second Month Baby Milestones: Communication For a 2-month-old, most communication consists of crying. But you may hear a few gurgles, grunts, and even some sweet coos. Your baby should recognize your face and voice, and respond to them. You might even see the first adorable hint of a smile. One of the most important things you can do at this age is talk to your baby. Even though 2-month-old babies can’t talk back, they will respond to the sound of your voice, and it will encourage them to start forming their own first words in the coming months.     Content source Featured image source

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8 Fun Indoor Activities To Play With Your Baby

It’s easy to get a little stir crazy when you and baby are stuck inside all day. Fear not—there are plenty of fun baby activities to keep your little one busy. The best part? Many of these interactive indoor activities for babies require a low lift from Mom and Dad. From sensory activities for infants to fun crafts projects, these are our favorite ways to keep infants busy. 1. SENSORY BAGS This idea is one of the best sensory activities for infants. All you need is a plastic bag, some water, tape and a sensory item of your choosing. The sensory bag lets baby discover things that are normally off-limits (think: hair gel, toothpaste, body lotion, etc.). Your curious infant will love squishing the different textures. Plus, by fastening the bag to a wall, it’ll encourage baby to practice reaching and balancing all on their own. 2. FABRIC FUN Want to keep baby engaged for good long while? Just grab an old wipe container and fill it with washcloths, bibs and other scraps of fabric. Not only will babies have a blast opening and closing the lid and pulling bits of fabric out, but they’ll also strengthen their tactile and fine motor skills as they discover different materials and their textures. This DIY toy idea is one of the most fun things to do with babies when you’re bunkered down inside. 3. RAINBOW RIBBONS Simple baby activities are the best way to keep your little one engaged. Grab a bunch of ribbons from your craft closet, cut them into strips and then hang them from baby’s play gym, a drying rack or anything you may have lying around the house. Your kid will build upper body strength and motor skills as they try to latch onto the ribbons. 4. BABY COLLAGE Another fun idea with the help of a few household items to encourage baby to crack into their creativity. Tape a piece of clear construction paper to a window and let your baby use it as a blank canvas to craft funky designs. Cut up scraps of tissue paper and show baby how they easily stay on the sticky surface. Your little one will follow your lead and keep busy all day. 5. STICKY SITUATIONS Once babies are past the six-month mark, they’ll want to grab and toss everything they set their sights on. One of the baby activities provides your little one with a toy ball you won’t mind them playing with. Using a plastic ball—the balls from blow-up ball pits work perfectly—grab some masking tape and wrap it up to create layers of sticky sensations for baby to grasp. The tape will stick to little hands, and youngsters will marvel at the makeup and material of the ball. 6. SPIDEY SENSES Every parent wants their kid to be problem-solver when they grow up. Grab a laundry basket and toss all those toys lying around your living room into it. Then weave yarn in, out, up and down, and now the baby will have to find a way around the spider web-like maze in order to get his toys back. 7. FIRE AND ICE When it comes to baby activities, simplicity is key. Introduce baby to the concepts of hot and cold. All it takes is two plastic bottles—one filled with ice and another with warm water. Place the baby on the floor, hand over the bottles and let them marvel at how two of the same objects can feel drastically different. Keep your baby busy, quiet and, most importantly, intrigued for nearly half an hour. 8. SHINE BRIGHT Everyday baby is discovering something new, which is why it doesn’t take much to tap into their curiosity. All it takes is for your phone to light up with a notification and it immediately has your little one’s attention. Find a small set of string lights and stuff them into a plastic jar. Hit the switch and watch as the container and your infant’s face light up. Your kid will be enthralled by the bright lights, and you can periodically switch it on and off to keep them on their toes. Content Source  Featured Image Source

Physical Development In Early Childhood

Children grow at a rapid pace between birth and two years of age. But once they hit the age of two, toddlers tend to have a much slower growth rate when compared to their younger self. This is when the parents are concerned about the changing eating habits of their child and wonder whether the kid is growing normally. The physical development in infancy happens in a series of growth spurts. It is important to keep in mind that after the growth spurts, they grow at a standard and steady rate until adolescence. The best way to determine if they are growing properly is to closely monitor and track their growth. What Is Physical Development? As your little one grows, so does his body. Slowly but steadily, your child is preparing to take on the structural build which is almost similar to that of an adult. Signs of a Child’s Physical Development Here are some of the pronounced signs of a child’s physical development: 1. Limbs The arms and legs of the child grow longer and will be proportionate to the torso as well as the head. It can also be noticed that your child will appear much slimmer and distinctively thinner than he was as an infant. 2. Muscle Growth Muscle growth tends to be faster in order to aid movement in the child. The muscles of the arms and the legs that are larger are known to grow faster than the muscles in the toes or the fingers, which are smaller. At this stage, it is important to provide proper nutrients to your child to aid the growth process. 3. Brain Development Brain development will help your child perform complex mental and physical tasks. During early childhood, there is significant growth in the neural fibers in the brain, specifically in the frontal lobes. It is also noted that around 2 years the human brain is already 70% of its adult size. By the age of six or seven, the size of the brain is almost 90% of its adult size. The increase in motor skills can be contributed to this growth. It is also a common practice to measure the circumference of the head in order to figure out the growth rate of the brain. 4. Motor Skills Motor skills are associated with the child’s ability to perform tasks on an everyday basis. It can be anything from running to building blocks. Motor skills can be categorized as: a. Gross Motor Skills Also called for large motor skills, these are the skills that are required to perform general tasks like running, walking, jumping or even balancing their bodies as they engage in these activities. With your gross motor skills, your child should be able to perform some of the below activities, •    Walk with a steady balance •    Run comfortably in a single direction or around obstacles •    Throw a ball or catch one •    Hop on each foot several times •    Jump over objects or low-lying hurdles •    Kick a ball that is stationary •    Pedal a tricycle b. Fine Motor Skills Also called small motor skills, these involve finer movements and holds necessary to perform tasks that may be slightly complicated. These are also associated with the brain development of the child. Fine motor skills allow the child to: •    Use cutlery •    Brush teeth or comb hair •    Pick up small items likes coins •    Work on simple puzzles •    Draw simple shapes like circles or squares •    Stack up blocks 5. Height By 12 months, the length of an infant is known to increase by about 50% the birth length. When children reach the age of five, they can be double their birth length. Also, boys reach half of their adult height around two years and girls are half their adult height when they are about nineteen months old. 6. Weight At one year, the weight of the infants is three times that of the birth weight. The growth rate tends to slow down after the first year and between one to six years, he will be gaining around 2kg per year. 7. Teeth Typically, around five to nine months of age, your baby will have lower front teeth. The teeth on the upper front appear around eight to twelve months of age. Children tend to get all 20 of their baby teeth or deciduous teeth by the age of 2 and a half years. Permanent teeth replace the baby teeth anywhere between the ages of 5 to 13. Ways to Boost Physical Development in Toddlers and Pre-schoolers You can work out in some physical development activities for pre-schoolers to help improve their dexterity and development: • Walk with the kids and provide them with the opportunity to run and jump and use their large muscles. • Prepare a simple obstacle course for your child to jump over and run around in your backyard or in the house. • Play catch with balls. You can also play games that will help the child learn to kick and throw the ball. • Have a mini dance party at home. Put on some music and dance with your child, especially to nursery songs that stimulate fine motor skills. • Play pretend games like laying a tightrope on the ground and trying to balance on it. • Get creative with art. Provide your child with ample opportunities to draw in and around the house. Content Source

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