May 2013

Your baby's milestones part 1 (up to 6 months)

As your baby grows she’ll develop new skills and these ‘milestones’ show she’s becoming more independent and growing the right way. Here is the lowdown on what to expect and how to encourage your baby to embrace these new skills in the first 6 months.

It’s important to remember too though that babies don’t all develop at the same rate, and so may pick things up faster or slower than others. If you’re worried about anything, it’s always worth going to see your GP.

The milestone: Smiling

At around six weeks, you should see your baby smile for the first time. Why now? Well, it takes this long for her to strengthen the muscles that enable her to do it! It’s a moment for parents to get excited – sure your baby feels happy to see you for weeks, now she can finally show it. Encourage your baby to smile by talking to her face to face, with lots of facial expressions.

The milestone: Babbling
From 4-6 months your baby will try and mimic the sound of talking where, she’s trying to communicate with you! Babbling is important for infants as it helps them learn the sounds of speech, Encourage her by talking – even if it’s just giving her a running commentary of things you’re up to. Repeat her sounds back to her so she can learn to copy you. Read to her – the more you communicate, the more she’ll pick up, and sing to her – babies love hearing nursery rhymes and songs – especially ones with actions.

The milestone: Rolling Over
Between 4-6 months when her neck and arm muscles are strong enough, your baby will start to rollover. First she’ll roll over one way, and then she’ll master being able to roll back again. To encourage rolling over, put your baby on her tummy for short periods to help her develop strength in her neck muscles. Position a toy just out of reach to encourage her to roll over to get it.

The milestone: Holding something
By 5 months your little one should be able to hold an object, but she may not be able to let it go again! A rattle can prove lots of fun at this age as she masters her new skill.

The milestone: Teething
Your baby’s teeth can come through anytime, but often it’s around the six month mark. The first tooth normally comes through in the front of the mouth, at the bottom.

The milestone: Weaning
By six months you’ll need to start introducing solid food. You may find that she is no longer satisfied by milk and that she’s starting to show interest in the food that you and others are eating. Your baby needs it to build up nutrients in her body, as well as develop muscles and coordination in her mouth, which is essential for talking.

In Part 2 I’ll be covering the milestones up to 18months.