Motor Skills

A motor skill is simply an action that involves your baby using his muscles

Ask anything about motor skills

When do babies roll over? Tips to get rolling!

After your baby develops the strength to hold his head up, he'll learn to roll over. This means your baby can flip from lying on his back to being on his tummy and vice versa. Rolling over is one of your baby's first steps towards becoming mobile. When will my baby be able to roll over? Your baby will probably be able to roll over when he's about six months or seven months, when his neck and arm muscles are strong enough. Some babies manage to roll over as early as three months, but other babies take longer than seven months. Your baby may take you by surprise by suddenly getting the hang of rolling over. This is why it is so important never to leave your baby unattended when changing his nappy on a raised surface. Just in case, it may be a good idea to get into the habit of changing his nappy while he is lying on the floor. How will my baby learn to roll over? Newborn to two months: Giving your baby tummy time from day one will start helping your baby to develop the muscles he needs to learn to roll over. Tummy time encourages your baby to move his arms and legs, and it will also boost his neck strength. You may find your baby does not like being on his tummy at first. Being in this new position can be a strange experience for him. If this is the case, you could try laying him in this position for just a minute or so at a time. If your baby really doesn't like being on his tummy, just try it again another time. Three months to four months: When you put your baby on his tummy at three months, he may be able to lift his head and shoulders off the floor using his arms. This mini push-up helps him strengthen the muscles he'll use to roll over. At this point he may amaze you, and himself, by flipping from his back to his front, or vice versa. Five months to seven months: Your baby may be able to lift his head, push up on his arms, and arch his back to lift his chest off the ground. He may also rock on his stomach, kick his legs, and swim with his arms. All of this exercise strengthens his muscles. By the time your baby is about six months or seven months old, he's likely to have learned to roll over in both directions. Once my baby can roll over, what will he do next? The muscles your baby uses to roll over are mostly the same as the ones he uses to crawl and sit unsupported. When your baby has perfected the roll, his neck, back, legs, and arms will get stronger. By about eight months, he'll be able to sit up without any support. Around the same time, or a little later, your baby may then start to bottom shuffle or crawl around the house. Content source Featured image source

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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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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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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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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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When to begin toilet training your child

There is no right age to toilet train a child. Readiness to begin toilet training depends on the individual child. In general, starting before age 2 (24 months) is not recommended. The readiness skills and physical development your child needs occur between age 18 months and 2.5 years. Your child will show cues that he or she is developmentally ready. Signs of readiness include the following: Your child can imitate your behavior. Your child begins to put things where they belong. Your child can demonstrate independence by saying “no.” Your child can express interest in toilet training (eg, following you to the bathroom). Your child can walk and is ready to sit down. Your child can indicate first when he is “going” (urinating or defecating) and then when he needs to “go.” Your child is able to pull clothes up and down (on and off). Each child has his or her own style of behavior, which is called temperament. In planning your approach to toilet training, it is important to consider your child's temperament. Consider your child's moods and the time of day your child is most approachable. Plan your approach based on when your child is most cooperative. If your child is generally shy and withdrawn, he or she may need additional support and encouragement. Work with your child's attention span. Plan for distractions that will keep him or her comfortable on the potty chair. For example, reading a story to your child may help keep him or her interested. Consider your child's frustration level, and be ready to encourage and reassure him or her at each step. Before you begin toilet training, have your child examined by his or her health care provider. During your child's check-up, talk with the health care provider about the child's developmental readiness and temperament. Your health care provider can help you determine whether your child is ready to begin toilet training and help you plan your approach. Timing is important. Toilet training should not be started when the child is feeling ill or when the child is experiencing any major life changes such as moving, new siblings, new school, or new child-care situation. If your child is feeling too pressured to toilet train or if the process is too stressful, he or she may begin to withhold urine or stool. Withholding can be the result of too much pressure or can be caused by constipation (hard and painful stools). Try not to feel pressured to toilet train your child. If you are feeling pressured to train your child because of caregiver considerations or family members' views, your anxiety about toilet training can create anxiety in your child. GETTING STARTED What to Know Toilet training includes discussing, undressing, going, wiping, dressing, flushing, and hand-washing. Remember to reinforce your child's success at each step. There are many steps to the toilet training process. The more ready the child is when you begin, the more quickly the toilet training process will go. Initial success relies on your child understanding the use of the toilet, not mastering the process. Check your child's stools. It is very important that they are soft. Hard stools can be very painful and are difficult to pass. If your child's stools are hard, add fiber to your child's diet and consult your health care provider for a recommended stool-softener. When the stool is softer, reassure your child that now it won't hurt. A high-fiber diet and reduced quantity of dairy products can help soften the stool and develop and maintain regular bowel movements. Because children can resist being forced to eat nutritious foods, and because they learn best by example, eating a high-fiber balanced diet yourself will encourage your child to eat well. What To Do Get a potty chair. Many children feel more secure on a potty chair than on a toilet because when they sit, their feet are securely on the floor and they are not afraid of falling off or in. Allow your child to become familiar with the potty chair. Let your child observe, touch, and get comfortable with the potty chair before attempting to use it. Also, introduce the potty chair to your child as his or her own chair. Place the potty chair in a convenient place for your child. The potty chair does not have to be limited to the bathroom. Keep it in the playroom, in the yard, or wherever your child is playing, so your child can get to it when he or she wants. If your child is afraid of the potty chair, don't pressure him or her to use it. Put toilet training aside for 1 or 2 months, and give your child time to get used to the idea of the potty chair and to be comfortable with it. Let your child first sit on the potty chair fully clothed once a day as a routine. Also, let your child leave the potty chair at any time, and never force your child to spend time sitting on it. After your child is comfortable sitting on the potty chair with clothes on, let him or her sit there without clothes. Take the stool from your child's diaper and put it into his or her potty chair so that your child can see where it should go. HELPFUL TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS Setbacks Setbacks are to be expected, not to be seen as a failure or regression, but as a temporary step back. Setbacks are normal and may occur when your child feels too much pressure. Setbacks can be frustrating, but your child needs encouragement and reassurance from you. Try to remember that this is your child's task, not your own. Coordinating Plans Make sure to coordinate your toilet training plans with others who may be with your child during the day (caregivers, grandparents, day care staff members). It is important that they know how you want your child to be trained so that the child receives the same message during the day when you are not present as during evenings and weekends when you are. Parental Encouragement Make this experience as positive, natural, and nonthreatening as possible so that your child feels confident that he or she is doing it on his or her own. Often, what seems like laziness in your child is resistance to pressure or immaturity. Your child is likely to want to be trained as much as you want him or her to be trained. Encourage imitation. When you sit on the toilet, allow your child to sit on the potty chair beside you. Boys should learn to urinate sitting first, because if they stand first, they may not want to sit to have a bowel movement. Start a routine with regular reminders beginning with one time a day—after breakfast or maybe at bath time when your child is already undressed. Watch for behavior, grimaces, or poses that may signal the need for a bowel movement, and ask your child if he or she needs to go. Praise your child whenever he or she tells you that he/she needs to go and when your child tells you without being reminded. Let your child flush if he or she wants to. Because some children do not like the sound of the toilet or are afraid of the toilet, be sure to determine whether your child is scared. Also, try to reassure your child if he or she becomes upset about the disappearance of the stool down the toilet. Clothing/Diapers Keep your child in loose, easy-to-remove clothing. Help your child master the dressing and undressing needed to sit on the potty chair. Once the child is comfortably sitting on the potty chair with clothes on, then try it with clothes off. When your child is using the potty chair successfully several times a day, he or she may be ready for underwear for part of the day. Because diapers can be very reassuring, do not rush your child out of diapers. Your child's skin is just as likely to get a rash from wetness or exposure to a stool as it did during infancy. Therefore, keeping your child dry and clean is as important during training as it was when he or she was an infant. Change your child regularly, and do not leave him or her in soiled clothing as a training method. Disposable or nondisposable training pants may be used as part of the transition from diaper to underwear, but they are not recommended as an initial step. They may be helpful when your child is ready to take over the training process. Specific Training Issues Accidents are common and should be expected in the training process. Boys generally take longer to be trained than do girls. If you feel you need help in the training process, contact your pediatrician or health care professional to discuss any issues you may have. Night-time Training Nighttime or naptime dryness may occur at the same time as daytime dryness, although it may not occur until a year or so later. Aside from taking your child to the toilet before going to sleep, here are some other tips to help the child stay dry through the night: Ask your child to withhold urine a little during the day to gain better control. With your child's permission, wake him or her during the night to use the bathroom. A nighttime potty chair kept by the bed can make it more convenient for your child when he or she wakes during the night. If your child is still consistently wetting the bed 1 year after age 7 years, consult your pediatrician or health care professional. content source

Do's and don't when Potty Training your newborn

  It can be helpful to think of potty training as a process in which both you and your child have your own “jobs” to do. It is the parent’s responsibility to create a supportive learning environment. This means that you: Recognize that your child is in control of his or her body Let your child decide whether to use the potty or a diaper/pull-up each day Teach your child words for body parts, urine, and bowel movements Offer your child the tools she needs to be successful at toileting (such as a small potty, potty seat, stool, etc.) Expect and handle potty accidents without anger Avoid punishment as well as too much praise around toilet use. (This can make children feel bad when they aren’t successful.) It is your child’s responsibility to: Decide whether to use the toilet or a diaper/pull-up Learn his body’s signals for when he needs to use the toilet Use the toilet at his own speed Finding a toilet training method that works for your family is the key. No matter how you do it, remember this is a learning process that takes time, with many accidents along the way. Being patient is the best way you can support your child as she learns. Keep in mind that children with special needs may take longer to learn to use the potty. They may also need special equipment, and a lot of help and support from you. If you need assistance with your child’s toilet training, talk with your child’s health care provider or community service coordinator. What to Avoid When Potty Training My Toddler Toddlers are all about trying to gain some control over their world. They are using their growing physical, thinking, and language skills to gain some power over themselves, their bodies, and their surroundings. This natural and healthy desire for control can lead to power struggles, as children quickly figure out that one way to feel in charge is by refusing to do something they know their parent wants them to do. And, for better or worse, learning to use the potty is way up there on most parents’ list of what they really, really, really want their children to do—and children quickly pick up on that. (Just picture mom and dad clapping and jumping up and down when they see their child’s first bowel movement in the potty.) Toilet training is particularly ripe for power struggles because it is so tied up with toddlers wanting to have control over their own bodies. So it’s important to approach toilet training matter-of-factly and without a lot of emotion. Think of it as just another skill you are helping your child learn. If you show anger or disappointment when it’s not going well, or overwhelming joy when it is, it lets your child know this is something you want him to do badly. Refusing to do it becomes a very powerful way for your child to feel in control. The more emotional you are, the more it shows your child how much it matters to you that he use the potty. It is also very important not to force your child to use the potty because it can cause intense power struggles. These power struggles sometimes lead to children trying to regain control over their bodies by withholding urine or bowel movements. This can create physical problems, like constipation. So if you are starting to see power struggles developing over potty training, it might help to take the pressure off. Stop talking about potty training or doing anything about it for a little while, until your child shows signs of readiness and interest again. To Use Rewards for Potty Training or Not Many parents wonder about offering rewards for using the potty—a sticker, an extra sweet, or a little toy every time their child is successful on the toilet. Although these kinds of rewards may encourage progress in the short run, the concern is that for some children, the pressure of “success” in the form of the reward creates anxiety or feelings of failure when they have a (very normal and even expected) potty accident. The other risk is that the use of rewards for toileting can lead children to expect rewards for doing almost anything—finishing a meal, brushing teeth, etc. When parents are matter-of-fact about potty training and don’t make a big deal about it, children are more likely to follow their own internal desire to reach this important milestone. When Preschoolers Are Still Not Interested in Potty Training Reach out to your child’s health care provider with your questions or concerns about potty training. Occasionally, children have physical issues that make potty training more difficult, so a check-up is always a good idea. You may also want to sit down with a child development specialist who can help you figure out what the challenges around potty training might be for your individual child and can help you identify toilet learning strategies that might be more successful. content source

Benefits of Massaging Your Baby

Some of the benefits of baby massage include better sleep for the baby, reduced stress and cranky behavior, relief from flatulence, improved motor development and relief from congestion. Psycho-Social Benefits of Baby Massage- Touch is the primary communication received by a newborn. Infant massage has been a longstanding tradition. Being caressed and touched through massage also acts as psychological food for your infant. It is the best form of touch therapy for infants. It is a communicative approach and helps parents relax the baby as well as connect in a positive way. Physical Benefits of Baby Massage- Massage is one of the best ways to improve the health of your infant. Just as adults benefit from a massage, there are numerous benefits associated with infant massage for better physical development. Some important ones have been listed below: Better sleep: Infant massage helps in increasing serotonin levels in the body. This neurotransmitter is known to regulate mood. High levels of serotonin provide a feeling of well-being. As a result, it ensures better sleep that is deeper and more restful. Reduces stress and cranky behavior: It is common for babies to cry for various reasons. General reasons causing your baby to cry or act cranky include discomfort, pain in legs or abdomen, tiredness or improper sleep. Regular massage can relieve your infant from pains and discomfort, thus providing better sleep. This further reduces the crying and cranky behavior of the infant. Relief from flatulence: Many infants experience chronic abdominal pain due to intestinal gas. Belly massage increases the pace of waste removal from the body. This way, the trapped wind is also easily released by the body. Relieves digestion problems: Massage speeds up the natural progression of food along the digestive tract. This way, the massage has proven to be helpful is eliminating problems like constipation and acid reflux. Strengthens the immune system: Just like massage benefits various physiological processes in the body, it also benefits the immune system. Regular massage gives a newborn baby’s immune system a boost, thereby keeping common ailments at bay. Improves weight: Some babies are underweight at the time of birth. Massage provides significant improvement in the weight gain process, thus providing healthy weight to underweight infants. Improves motor development: Baby massage stimulates the nervous system. This makes the infants more aware of their body’s functions during the massage process. This way, infant massage improves flexibility, coordination and muscle control. Relieves congestion: In addition to benefits like speeding up of the nervous system and providing relief from digestion problems, baby massage also provides relief from congestion. Massage aids improved drainage of sinuses, thus preventing fluid accumulation in the sinuses and airways. Important Massage Moves: Check out the following massage moves to get started with the process. Head Massage- Apply some oil on your baby’s body. Then massage with fingertips in extremely gentle, circular motions all around the head. Neck Massage- Support the head and upper body of your child on one hand. Use the other hand to massage the neck with thumb and first two fingers in gentle, circular motions. Belly Massage- Put your hands at the navel. With your fingertips, massage in gentle yet firm circular motions over the tummy. Repeat these motions a few times. Colic-relief Massage- After the belly-massage, bend the baby’s knees up to the tummy. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and release. Repeat 2 to 3 times. After that, put one hand’s edge on his/her belly. Start gliding downwards from the belly button in a rhythmic pattern. This will help in releasing built-up gas in the stomach. Arm Massage- Roll the baby’s arms gently between the hands. Start from shoulders and move down towards the wrist. Repeat it twice or three times, and then focus on another arm. Leg Massage- The movements for leg massage are similar to those used for massaging the arms. Start from the thighs and move down to the ankles. Repeat 2 to 3 times for each leg. Some important things to take care of during infant massage have been listed below. Regular massage schedule Select a good massage oil Be gentle Select a comfortable place Notice cues offered by your infant Content Source Featured Image Source  

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Key Benefits of Baby Massage

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:

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