Mapping Milestones: Charting Your Baby’s Health and Development
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Mapping Milestones: Charting Your Baby’s Health and Development

Parents of all young children have one thing in common: they have questions. A lot of them.

Navigating your child’s development and health can be a bit overwhelming. Over the first months and years of a baby’s life, a parent must keep their baby on track, ensuring he or she is growing – mentally, physically, and emotionally – at the appropriate rate. Is it any wonder that there are plenty of questions about every new stage your child enters?

But how do you know what is “right” for every child? Of course, each child is different, and it can sometimes be difficult to give sweeping generalizations about what they should know, say, and do at certain points in life. Often, though, the development of a healthy child follows distinct patterns and cycles across the board.

These patterns are referred to as “milestones” and you would be surprised at how accurate these guides are when predicting your child’s behaviors, attitudes, and interests.

As your Memphis-area pediatricians, the doctors at Pediatrics East are always ready to answer the questions you have regarding your child’s health. However, if you are looking for a quick run-down of what to expect of your child at every stage, our milestone guides are here to help.

Milestone Guides

Click on the following ages to learn more about your child’s current and upcoming milestones:

In each guide, you will find important information about your child’s development and projected goals for each time period. Learn more below about the important milestones your child will achieve below.

Who’s Hungry?

In the first several years of your baby’s life, feedings change drastically. From changing schedules to introducing solids, there are a lot of moving parts to track.

Especially in the first few months of life, your baby may seem like all he or she does is eat. Your life revolves around eating times; eventually, you will long for the days when your child would eagerly accept milk or formula, since they have become a picky-eater toddler!

Here is an at-a-glance breakdown of what to expect at each life milestone:

Baby should be fed every 2-3 hours, and every 4-5 hours through the night, and it should last about 30 minutes.

Baby should have 30-36 ounces every 24 hours. Babies may drink water or juice (half juice, half water) if they are thirsty.

You can introduce solids to baby at this point (not necessary until 6 months). Begin with rice cereal, then you can eventually move on to fruits and vegetables.

If you haven’t yet, it is time to try solid foods. Meats cannot be introduced until 7-9 months and milk or formula should still be given through 12 months.

Now is the time where you can try stage 3 foods. There are, however, a few foods to avoid: nut-based foods, shellfish, eggs, honey from a jar, and foods that pose choking hazards. Start working on using a cup.

Whole milk should be the standard now; try to have baby off the bottle by 15 months, if possible. All foods are free game now, including meat and eggs. Be cautious of foods that are common choking hazards: hot dogs, grapes, hard candy, and peanuts.

Although your child can eat any kind of food now, will they? For picky eaters, it is best to have a “take it or leave it” approach, and to not let them fill up on milk or juice.

Continue the same advice we offer at 15 months – provide nutritious meals, but if your child doesn’t eat them, let them be hungry for a bit. It won’t hurt them!

Many three-year-olds, despite being good eaters in the past, may become very finicky. Be patient, and stay strong with “take it or leave it” at meal times!

Sleep Schedules

If feedings feel unpredictable, sleep schedules can feel just as uncertain. Although you may feel like you will never sleep again, we are  here to help you figure out what is normal for every age. 

Here are sleeping some tips for each stage:

Start establishing good sleep habits now. Put the baby in bassinet or crib to sleep, on his or her back. Put baby down awake to learn to fall asleep without your help.

By this age, 50% of infants should be sleeping at night. If you are in the other half, we can help! Read the steps to a better night’s sleep here.

Your baby should be sleeping all night, every night. If not, ask us for information about sleeping.

For all ages after this (six months to three years), your little one should be sleeping all night long, with naptimes during the day. If you have questions about sleep habits and patterns, please ask us!

Crying to Crawling, Walking to Talking

You will be amazed at how much your baby can do, learn, and say in the first three years. These years are incredibly formative, and it is important to keep up with these exciting developments.

To know what developments to look for, follow along with each milestone below:

Your baby isn’t very interactive at this point, which makes this stage a lot of work. Hang on – there is fun ahead!

By this stage, most babies are aware of their surroundings. Smiling, cooing, and laughing begin.

Good social interaction begins, with smiling, laughing, and playing with hands. Your baby may have not rolled over at this point, but should be able to between now and six months.

This is a major milestone where your baby is continuously doing new things: rolling over both ways, scooting, attempting to crawl, starting to sit upright without help, and babbling and mimicking sounds.

Babies at this age are all busy working on something, whether it be trying to stand, making new sounds, or working on fine motor control. Don’t worry if your child isn’t doing all of these things – it will come! Now is the time to get the house child proofed before your baby is completely on the move.

Now that your little one is on the move and curious about everything, this is the time to start forming habits and disciplining when necessary. Your child can’t learn about the dangers of the world or how to behave without your guidance!

Your child has become his or her own person lately, showing a big personality and a range of emotions. Around now, you can expect temper tantrums to begin. When tantrums start, the best thing you can do is ignore them.

Once they turn two, babies have a lot of ambition when it comes to climbing and playing – and also when it comes to getting what they want! Your baby will now be talking, stringing together words, and making commands.

At three, your baby may seem to be acting more like an adult than a baby! Your child is now fully capable in motor skills, and is prone to accidents – keep an eye out for them. Also, your child should be speaking fluently (though not always coherently), and may have issues with stuttering. If your child isn’t potty-trained yet, don’t worry. They are not behind!

As always, every child is different. If you are worried about your child’s development, please make an appointment with your doctor.

Memphis Area Pediatricians

To know whether or not your child is on the right track with eating, sleeping, and developing, you must bring your baby in for regular check-ups!

As we have stated above, these milestone guides are simply that: guides. To really know how your child is growing and if there are any significant delays, regular check-ups with your pediatrician are essential.

Contact us today to set up regular appointments with your doctor, especially during these important stages of your baby’s development!

Posted by Tim Flatt at 9:29 AM
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