As a parent, we are constantly concerned about our baby’s development – we want the best for our little ones and milestones are one of the ways in which we tend to measure our child’s development. Before talking about what I believe are 5 important milestones, it needs to be stressed that your little one is an individual, which means that he or she will develop at a unique pace.
- Smiling is one of the first responses you get from your little one. The average baby smiles at 6 weeks of age, although many smile sooner than that. It is a critical milestone because it is a social signal and connecting emotionally and socially is one of the most important areas of development.
*Seek advice if your baby hasn’t smiled by 8 weeks and does not make eye contact or turn towards your voice.
- Babbling is the first vocal step in language development. Most babies start to babble at around 6 months of age. Between 4 and 6 month, she will have simple sounds like ‘ba’ or ‘da’ but by 6 months she will start to link them in a little conversation – “ba-da-da-ka” This is babbling.
*Seek advice if your baby is not babbling at all at 10months especially if your little one has suffered ear infections.
- Rolling is dependant of the development of the tummy muscles and the back muscles. Once the muscle tone is developed in the body, your little one will be able to roll. This occurs at about 4-6 months and is an important precursor for crawling.
*Seek advice if your baby is not rolling by 6 months and dislikes tummy time intensely.
- Crawling is one of the most complicated milestones and emerges at variable ages. Some babies miss the crawling stage altogether or may crawl in a very strange pattern or even bum shuffle. Optimally your baby should crawl on all fours and fast – this is important for later milestones. Most babies crawl between 7-10 months.
*Seek advice if your baby is not crawling by 11 months and never rolled and dislikes tummy time.
- Falling asleep by self-soothing independently is not usually seen as a developmental milestone but is one of the stages your baby needs to reach as she moves towards self-regulation. Most babies can settle themselves to sleep independently by 6 months of age, if well and her nutrition is good.