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Hit Those Milestones

By Elizabeth T. Jordan, DNSc, RNC, FAAN

Hit Those Milestones

Now that baby’s at least 4 months old you’re likely getting better at observing how baby can engage with you and others around him—objects too! Milestones coming soon including sitting up, crawling and rolling around on the floor. The fun is just beginning!

Remember, reaching milestones can occur at different times between babies the same age. You are the most important person when it comes to baby’s learning. We’ve listed fun things you can do to help your baby grow and learn during each stage.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during regular well-child healthcare visits at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 12 months after baby’s birth. Your baby may need more screening if he’s considered at risk for developmental problems from being born too early or having low birth weight, for example.

As a parent you know your child best. If you have questions about how your baby is behaving or growing, let your baby’s healthcare provider know immediately. Don’t wait—if indeed there is a problem, it’s important to get your baby help as soon as possible.

Baby’s Milestones Ages 4-8 Months

Personal & Social Development 

Your baby may Baby might . . .You can . . .
Express comfort and discomfort; enjoyment and unhappiness°       Show displeasures by crying or whimpering

°       Show pleasure by cooing, smiling, or making other noises

°       Enjoy social play

°       Laugh in response to a noise

°       Smile at smiling face

°       Respond when the baby cries, to reassure and comfort

°       Play side-by-side in front of the mirror

°       Softly sing or hum familiar songs

Calm himself°       Suck thumb, fingers, or pacifier

°       Rock himself

°       Coo or babble

°       Provide calm, quiet environment

°       Let baby calm himself; respond if needed

°       Interact with baby by talking or singing

Show interest in adults he knows°       Reach, smile, laugh, babble or coo to get attention

°       Gaze intently at the face of a familiar person

°       Imitate sounds or noises

°       Respond to baby with eye contact; briefly and smile, coo or gurgle

°       Talk to baby throughout the day

°       Use a happy tone when talking to baby

°       Describe action: “You are holding the red block!”

Show awareness of other children°       Begin to recognize familiar children with facial expressions, noises or body language°       Use baby’s name frequently

°       Let other children play with baby in a supervised setting

Demonstrate attachment to individuals°       Turn his head toward a familiar caregiver

°       Look in the direction of your voice

°       Imitate your smile

°       Track your movements

°       Limit time with unfamiliar people; gradually introduce him to others

°       Provide familiar toys, blankets, other comfort items

°       Speak calmly to baby; provide reassurance

°       Speak directly to baby; make eye contact

 

Understanding & Communicating Milestones

Your baby may . . .Baby might . . .You can . . .
Respond to sounds and words heard often°       Begin to react to his own name

°       Cry at loud noises or voices

°       Calm in response to a gentle familiar voice

°       Respond to the baby; promote conversation

°       Use repetitive words or phrases

°       Talk to baby throughout the day

°       Repeat words and sounds

Use various sounds and movements to communicate°       Use his voice to express happiness/unhappiness

°       Babble using strings of consonant sounds

°       Imitate the sounds of speech

°       Stop crying when you talk to him

°       Talk to the baby about what you’re doing

°       Follow his lead; use his sounds in real words, phrases or sentences

°       Introduce simple sign language signs for common words like nap, hungry, diaper, more

Recognize and react to the sounds of language°       Make sounds when he hears you

°       Imitates the sounds he hears around him

°       Read repetitive and rhyming books to baby several times a day

°       Sing and say nursery rhymes such as “This Little Piggy” when changing, putting baby down to nap, riding in a car

Begin to respond to some of the words in picture books°       Look intently at the pictures in a book

°       React to colorful pictures

°       Hold a book with help

°       Show baby the same simple books often; point to the pictures using the words for what he sees

°       Help baby to pat and hold a book with your help

 

Discovering and Learning Milestones

Your baby may . . .Baby might . . .You can . . .
Show awareness of happenings in his surroundings°       Follow moving objects

°       Find an object that’s partially hidden

°       Explore everything with his hands and mouth

°       Try to reach objects just out of reach

°       Look at an object in his hand for a longer period of time

°       Imitate actions such as waving bye-bye

°       Play hiding games with baby

°       Make sure everything in baby’s reach is safe to touch or put in his mouth

°       Place objects just beyond his reach

°       Make silly faces for him to imitate

Remember what has happened recently°       Begin to understand that things exist even if not physically present

°       Look for an object he has thrown from high chair

°       Put his arms up when you ask “How big is baby?”

°       Turn his face away from tissue

°       Hold out his hand to play a game

°       Begin to copy actions in familiar songs or finger plays

°       Create and keep daily routines

°       Play repetitive games such as “pat-a-cake” and “how big is baby?”

°       See how many times he will open your hand to see the toy you have hidden there

Cause things to happen°       Bang on his tray with a spoon to hear the different sounds it makes

°       Hit the buttons on his busy box to make different noises

°       Pull a string to bring a toy closer

°       Give baby various containers, wood blocks, large wooden beads to explore

°       Provide pull toys, especially ones that make noise when they move

 

Coordinating Movement Milestones

Your baby may . . .Baby might . . .You can . . .
Change the position of his body°       Push up on his arms and lift head and chest, arching his back when on his stomach

°       Lift both arms and rock on his stomach

°       Start to move forward or backwards, pulling or pushing with arms

°       Get up on his hands and knees, rocking back and forth

°       Move from lying down to sitting position

°       Give baby safe places on the floor to explore, while being supervised

°       Put baby on his stomach and extend his arms in front of him

°       Give the baby toys just beyond his fingertips and encourage him to reach for them

Use his hands in more coordinated movements°       Reach for objects with one hand

°       Move objects from hand to hand

°       Pick up a small object with a raking grasp

°       Hold objects in both hands and bang them together

°       Wave bye-bye or imitate hand clapping

°       Try to turn pages of a favorite book

°       Give baby a variety of toys that are easily grasped

°       Give baby board books or those made of cloth or vinyl to explore

 

Further reading: Read Aloud to Baby

 

Elizabeth T. Jordan, DNSc, RNC, FAAN, is an expert advisor to Healthy Mom&Baby.


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