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.