Q&A With Dr Aliya: Milestones For Baby’s First Year

From cooing to cruising, we’ve got you covered in this month-by-month guide to your baby’s physical development

Q. I want to make sure that my baby is reaching his major physical developmental milestones “on time”. What is considered normal when it comes to reaching milestones? Is there anything I can do to help him along the way?

A. Between birth and his first birthday, your baby will do some considerable growing. A baby’s first year is filled with cognitive, social, emotional and physical changes that occur at warp speed compared to the rest of his life. In fact, 90% of a baby’s neurological development occurs in the first two years. It’s a thrill for parents to watch. However parents may wonder if their baby is following the predictable timetable for major first-year milestones. 

According to Dr. William Sears MD, babies develop skills based on their environment. If their interaction with parents and caregivers is responsive and engaging, babies are able to gain a wide variety of skills and experiences enhancing their transition to the next milestone. 

Here is a brief guideline of physical milestones in the first six months and some encouraging activities to help them along the way!

Birth to 2 months

  • Lifts head when on lying on tummy
  • Stretches arms and legs
  • Hands start tightly fisted, start to open gradually
  • Head bobs if held sitting
  • Encouraging activities: make eye contact, eliminate background distractions (eg. TV, radio), brief periods of tummy time, baby wearing, massage baby, introduce contrast colors (black & white)

2 to 3 months

  • Starts to prop up on forearms when on tummy
  • More head control during tummy time
  • Reaches for and retains objects briefly
  • Uses hands more; may start sucking on hands
  • Encouraging activities: continue tummy time for longer periods, play with rattles/toys (sounds)

3 to 4 months

  • Starts to push up on hands when on tummy
  • Begins to put objects in mouth
  • Reaches with open hands, grasping
  • Starts to roll (side to side or tummy to back)
  • Encouraging activities: place objects just out of reach, mirror play

4 to 6 months

  • Rolling (front to back and back to front)
  • Able to swipe and reach for objects
  • Transfers objects hand to hand, hand to mouth
  • Begins learning to sit (supported)
  • Encouraging activities: allow baby space to move around/roll, play peek-a-boo, use real objects for play (plastic spoons, cup)

Remember, these timelines are averages, meaning your baby may reach a milestone earlier or later than the baby next door.  Never underestimate the role you play in nurturing and encouraging your tot, helping him move from one milestone to the next.  If you are concerned your little one isn’t progressing at the proper rate or reaching certain milestones, talk with your health care practitioner.

Be sure to come back next week to read my continued guideline for babies 6 months up to a year! 

Do you have a question for Dr. Aliya? Send an email to editor@babypost.com with Dr. Aliya in the subject line and check back every Thursday to see what Dr. Aliya is writing about each week!

A health practitioner, chiropractor and acupuncturist with a distinct integrative care approach, Aliya brings extensive experience in pre-natal and pediatric wellness to her clinical practice at Restore Integrative Health in Toronto. She is also a runner, yoga instructor and new mother.

Visit her website at draliyavisram.com or follow her on Twitter @DrAliyaVisram or on Instagram @DrAliyaVisramDC

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