All infants grow, develop and thrive while in relationship with you; nurture that relationship and the rest of development will follow.
— Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA


Primary Markers in Baby’s 1st Year

·         Attachment

·         Mobility

·         Building Foundations of Sleep Patterns

Ways to Connect to Baby

·         Voice

·         Touch

·         Hold

Cognitive Development:

       Infants learn and develop in relationships.

       If an infant has a loving, safe and reliable caregiver; they can focus their energy on developing new skills and making connections in their brain.

       Infants at this stage coo and gurgle, they are great communicators.  From the time they are born they learn to draw the parent in to a reciprocal relationship necessary for a strong emotional attachment.

       At this stage infants can turn to locate the source of a sound, they explore things with their mouth.

       They cry to express their needs; hunger, pain, discomfort.

       They can follow an object with their eyes.

       After 6 months infants play pat-a-cake and wave bye-bye.

       They look for things that are out of sight and make words such as “mama” and “dada.”

       They begin to imitate parents’ actions such as talking on the phone or cooking.

 Social Emotional Development:

       Infants at this stage are building a relationship of safety and trust with their primary caregiver.

       Infants have an unsophisticated nervous system and need their parent to help them settle and provide comfort.

       The process of developing trust happens as parents reliably change their infants’ diapers, feed them when they are hungry, and hold them close when they are upset.

       Infants older than 4 months smile, laugh and can recognize the face and voice of their parents.

       At 12 months, an infant can respond when you call their name. They begin to fear strangers and become emotional when their parent leaves them in the care of another.

       At 12 months infants will use their parents as a secure base.  They often crawl away from their parents for short amounts of time, quickly returning to them when they begin to feel unsafe.

Gross and Fine Motor Development:

0-6 Months

·         Lift head while lying on their stomach

·         Roll over from stomach to back

·         Kick legs and move arms

6-12 Months

·         Move around on my stomach and crawl

·         Roll over from stomach to back

·         Reach for objects in front of me

·         Keep my head up and sit without support

·         Hold objects with my hands

·         Sit without support

Sleep and Brain Development:

Sleep statistics (primary source Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s research and

0-4 months

·         Most newborns 0-4months will sleep a total of 16-17 hrs in a 24 hour period with the longest sleep period being 4-5 hrs.  If your under-4-month-old has a consolidated night time sleep of 4-5 hours, they are sleeping through the night.

·         Do not expect predictable sleep patterns before 4 months


·         Sleep a total of 14-15 hours in a 24 hour period

·         Take 2-3 naps, lose 3rd nap around 9 months, daytime sleep totals 3-4hours

·         Sleep approximately 11 hours a night

·         Most wake up at night to feed 2 times. No need for feeding after 9 months.  This is different if breastfed and in the family bed, as those babies eat, sometimes without waking, at night indiscriminately

Sleep and Brain Development:

·      Sleeping well increases brainpower, just like lifting weights increases strength in muscles

·         As the infants brain matures so does the pattern and rhythm of sleep. There are five turning points for sleep and brain development:

a.        6 weeks – night sleep lengthens(no more than 5 consecutive hours)

b.       3-4 months daytime sleep regularizes

c.        9 months disappearance of more than 2 night waking’s; no need for feeding

d.       12-21 months disappearance of morning nap

e.        3-4 y.o. afternoon nap becomes less common.

·         REM sleep in infants is full body movement, not just eye movement

·         The first task of brain development is to regulate the mind and body. 

·         The primary marker for brain health is deep restorative sleep and alert awakeness.

·         Babies up to 12 months have two sleep cycles: light and heavy


How to feed and nurture your child: 0-6 months

Respond to their signals:

• Feed your child when she shows signs of being hungry.

• Help her calm down so she can focus on eating.

• Hold your baby during feedings and make eye contact.

• Stop feeding when she shows she is full.

• Try to avoid feeding your child every time she cries, she may not be hungry. She may just need comfort.

 How to feed and nurture your child: 6-12 months

• Start using a high chair if you choose.

• Create family mealtimes.

• Start with semi-solid food from the spoon. Move to thicker/lumpier foods finally to soft pieces of food.

• Offer safe finger foods so he can practice feeding himself.

• Turn off the TV during mealtimes whenever possible in order to allow for interacting and sharing.


Remember, be kind to yourselves, you are developing as a parent alongside your child.  If your baby is 9 months old, you are a 9 month old parent.  Enjoy the relationship you are building with your child.  Always remember, children don’t need perfection, they need affection.


Congratulations on your new baby.