Primary Markers in Baby’s 1st Year
- Building Foundations of Sleep Patterns
Ways to Connect to Baby
- 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:
- Lift head while lying on their stomach
- Roll over from stomach to back
- Kick legs and move arms
- Move around on my stomach and crawl
- Roll over from back to stomach
- Reach for objects in front of me
- Keep my head up and sit without support
- Hold objects with my hands
- Sit without support
- Pull up to stand*
Sleep and Brain Development:
Sleep statistics (primary source Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s research and zerotothree.org):
- 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:
6 weeks – night sleep lengthens(no more than 5 consecutive hours)
3-4 months daytime sleep regularizes
9 months disappearance of more than 2 night wakings; no need for feeding
12-21 months disappearance of morning nap
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.