Kid sitting on a plastic chairNewly born baby sleeping

 For about the first month of life, or longer if the baby is born prematurely and is catching up, the baby will do little besides eat, sleep, and dirty diapers. An infant has a small stomach and can’t ear very much at a time, but he or she is busy growing and developing and needs his or her meals. Feeding the baby, the usual six to ten times a day is likely to be the biggest demand the baby makes on you. The rest of the time, the baby will probably sleep, and you may be able to catch up on your sleep too.

Every baby develops at a different rate, so the following descriptions of a baby’s development is only a guide. It will give you a general idea of what changes to expect in your baby over the first year or so of life. Many parents keep a baby book in which they note these events. But whether you record the baby’s progress or not, it’s fun to see a tiny infant that does nothing but eat and sleep develop into a person.

Beware, though, of making comparison between your child and your relatives’ or neighbors’ babies. Remember that each baby is unique. If a child is slow to say words or stand up, it doesn’t mean that child is less intelligent than a cousin or neighbors child. But if your child lags far behind other children of the same age, check with your doctor.

Basically, here is what you can expect from your baby:

At six weeks, the baby may be awake and playful, without crying, for half an hour after each feeding. This about the time when you can expect those first spontaneous smiles.

At three months, the baby also will follow the movement of a favorite toy dangled in front of his or her eyes.

At four months, the baby will learn to roll over from front to back and at five months from back to front.

Between the age of four and six months, the baby will learn to lift his or her head and shoulders, and by about six months will have enough muscles control to balance in a sitting position without support.

Most babies begin to make simple recognizable sounds such as “Da-da” or “Ma-ma” at about eight months of age. This is the stage when they may try to use a spoon for the first time, and may or may not get the food into their mouths.

At nine months, most babies can get to a sitting position from lying down and can pull up to a stand and walk holding onto furniture and walls. The baby may begin to crawl at any time now, but some babies skip crawling altogether. This is the time to “child-proof” your home and put harmful items out of reach.

At about a year old, the baby may be able to stand up for a few seconds and may be taking a few steps alone. Luckily, 12 months is also when a baby begins to understand a few simple commands, like “NO!” In most cases, it will be a few more months before the baby is walking. By this time, your child will be eating only three to four times a day.

As your baby develops, his or her attention span and interests will also broaden gradually. A very small baby may watch a mobile for a few minutes, but then fall asleep or cry. As the child learns how to use arms and legs, he or she discovers the ability to make things move. The baby learns to grab things too. The eyes begin to focus better, so the baby can see more things. Still, a toy may hold a baby’s interest for only five minutes before he or she needs to look at something different. As you play with your baby, you can see how long a game is satisfying. The complexities of the game and the time it holds the child’s attention will slowly increase.
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