Baby Development Notes

I love knowing what developmental milestones are coming up, but I can't remember them. I blame the sleep deprivation.... So I started making notes.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my notes in case anyone else is interested.These notes come from reading books and blogs, not reading the primary literature. The sources are:
I've divided the notes up into age ranges:
  • Newborn (birth - 2 months)
  • Early Infant (2-6 months)
  • Older Infant (6-12 months)
  • One year olds
  • Two year olds
Scroll down to see the notes on each range. The notes on toddlers (one and two year olds) are less extensive than the notes on babies.

Within each age range, I've divided the notes into sections. I don't always have anything for a given section at a given age, but I've left the section headers in as placeholders, to make it easier for me to add to these notes later.

Developmental milestones are listed in bullet points. The starred items are ideas of things to do to help your baby develop.


Newborn Cheat Sheet
(birth - 2 months)

Vision
  • At birth, baby can see only focus between about 7 and 30 inches, acuity is poor (things that are close together blur together), and contrast sensitivity is poor. Peripheral vision is better than front vision. (WGONIT, p 210-11)
  • Innate preference for human face (WGONIT, p 211)
  • By 2 months, able to follow a moving object smoothly (WGONIT, p 212)
  • By ~2 months, able to differentiate some colors. Reds and greens are best. (WGONIT, p 216)
Hearing
  • Newborns' hearing threshold is 40-50 dB higher than adults'- they can't hear quiet sounds. Also have a more limited range of frequencies that they can hear- hear low frequencies better than high ones (WGONIT, p. 243)
  • Can distinguish voices at birth (WGONIT, p. 243)
Touch
  • Most advanced sense at birth (WGONIT, p 123)
  • Evidence from rodents, monkeys and human studies indicates that early touch stimulation is important in overall cognitive and emotional development, as well as in the development of immune function.  (WGONIT, p 129, p 138-9)
  • Best able to feel using the mouth. Can actually recognize by sight an object previously on explored with the mouth. (WGONIT, p 131-2)
  • Able to recognize differences in temperature at birth, but not yet able to regulate body temperature. Will move more/sleep less when cold. Will sleep more and extend limbs when warm. (WGONIT, p. 137)
* Lots of cuddles, kisses, and other touches. Consider massage.

Smell

Motor
  • Holds head up by ~1-2 months (WGONIT, p 262)
* Vestibular stimulation (rocking, swinging, etc) will help soothe a newborn better than other methods alone (WWGONIT, p 155)
Language

Emotional
  • "Lower" portion of the emotional system (i.e., the amygdala) is well formed at birth, meaning that baby can experience basic emotions like pain, pleasure, and surprise. (WGONIT, p 297)
  • Smiling in response to specific social cues begins at ~ 6 weeks old (WGONIT, p 301)
  • Fussy period at about week 5: due to increased alertness and developmental changes that allow baby to perceive more sensations (WW)
  • Fussy period at about week 8: due to discovery of simple patterns (WW)
Language
  • Protoconversation (babbling in response to a conversation partner) begins at ~6 weeks and continues to ~4 months (WGONIT, o 302)
General Intelligence/Other

* Rotate toys. Babies habituate to toys and stop learning from them. Old toys will be more interesting in a new location (i.e., room of the house)

Sleep
  • Nighttime sleep periods longer than daytime ones by 4-6 weeks. Longest stretch may be 3-5 hrs. (SS, pg 78)
  • Probably sleeps 10-18 hrs/day. 13 is average, with 7.8 at night and 5.4 during the day. (SS, pg. 69, 84)
  • 2-6 night wakings (SS, pg 70)
Eating
  • Growth spurts at 3 and 6 weeks
*Flavor variation in breastmilk may help with later willingness to try new flavors. Actual flavors present may bias later preferences as well. (WGONIT, p 191-2)

Early Infant Cheat Sheet
(2-6 months)

Vision
  • All primary visual abilities (depth perception, fine acuity, color vision) are in place by about 6 months (WGONIT, p 196)
  • Between 3 and 6 months, develop the ability to anticipate the motion of an object (WGONIT, p. 212)
  • By 4 months, baby has "mature" color vision. Babies are attracted to the primary colors- red blue, green, and yellow. (WGONIT, p 216-7)
  • Binocular vision matures between 2 and 5 months. Average age is 3.5 months (WGONIT, p 218)
* Get prompt treatment for any vision problems that may interfere with binocular vision, to prevent permanent lack of sterovision. (WGONIT, p 222)

Hearing
  • By 6 months, can distinguish the full range of frequencies (WGONIT, p. 244)
  • Hearing threshold remains 20-25 dB higher than adults' at 6 months. (WGONIT, p 245)
* Babies and children are relatively poor at masking background noise, so minimize the background noise whenever possible to improve language acquisition, etc.

Touch
  • Able to distinguish different objects with hands by about 10 weeks old (WGONIT, p 132)
  • Able to distinguish textures with hands by about 6 months old (WGONIT, p 132)

Motor
  • Lifts head and chest during tummy time at ~2-3 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Grasps objects voluntarily at ~3 months, reaches for and grasps objects at ~4-5 months. (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Sits with support at ~2-3 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Rolls from tummy to back at ~3-4 months (WGONIT, p 262)
* Vestibular stimulation, such as spinning your baby (sitting in a swivel chair and twirling) may help develop motor skills (WGONIT, p 155)
* Gentle challenges to baby's abilities (i.e., holding a toy just out of reach while encouraging her to reach for it) may help develop motor skills. May not speed development, but may improve quality of movement and interest in activity (WGONIT, p 289)

Language

Emotional
  • Fussy period around week 12: as transitions become smoother (motor skills, but also in all other senses) (WW)
  • Fussy period around week 19: as baby starts to experience events, or sequences of transitions (WW)
  • Fussy period around week 26: as baby discovers relationships among things (WW)
Other

Sleep
  • National Sleep Foundation Pediatric Task Force recommends 14-15 hours sleep. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 16-20 hours. Parents report and average of 13.1 hours, with 9.3 at night and 3.8 during the day. (SS, p. 84)

Eating
  • Growth spurt at 3 months
Older Infant Cheat Sheet
(6-12 months)

Vision

Hearing

Touch

Motor
  • Rolls back to tummy at ~6-7 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Sits without support at ~6-8 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Pulls up to stand at ~8-9 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Crawls at ~9 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Develops pincer grasp at ~9 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Claps hands at ~10 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Stands without support at ~11-12 months (WGONIT, p262)
*Baby-proof early, so that baby can explore and practice new motor skills, to encourage motor development (WGONIT, p. 289)

Language

Emotional
  • "Higher" portion of the emotional system (i.e, cortical emotion centers) begin to function meaningfully at ~6-8 months, marking the start of the ability to feel more complicated emotions and control them. (WGONIT, p. 297).
  • Fussy period at about week 37: baby starts to recognize categories of things (WW)
  • Fussy period at about week 36: baby starts to recognize sequences (WW)
  • Increase in social referencing at  8-9 months: infant looks to mother's expression to decide how to proceed in a questionable situation. (CoM: http://www.isabelagranic.com/bed-timing/2009/04/8-11-months-part-i-whats-happening-in-the-babys-mind.html)
  • Separation anxiety begins at ~8-11 months
General Intelligence/Other

Sleep
  • Onset of Separation anxiety at ~8-11 months may make this a poor time to sleep train (CoM: http://www.isabelagranic.com/bed-timing/2009/04/8-11-months-part-ii-readers-question-about-night-weaning-sleep.html)
  • Between 6-8 months, the National Sleep Foundation Pediatric Task Force and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend 14-15 hours of sleep per day.  Parents report and average of 12.8 hours, 9.7 hours at night and 3.1 hours during the day. (SS, p. 84)
  • Between 9-11 months, the National Sleep Foundation Pediatric Task Force and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend 14-15 hours of sleep per day.  Parents report and average of 12.1 hours, 9.3 hours at night and 2.8 hours during the day. (SS, p. 84)

Eating
  • Growth spurt at 6 months

One Year Old Cheat Sheet
(12-24 months)

Vision

Hearing

Touch

Motor
  • Walks at ~12-13 months (WGONIT, p 262)
  • Releases objects at ~12-14 months, but doesn't have good control until ~18 months (WGONIT, p 262)
*Use of infant walkers (the kind where baby sits in the walker and propels it around) will generally delay start of walking (WGONIT, p 287)

Language

Emotional
  • Fussy period at about week 55: discovery of programs- fixed goal, but flexible steps. (WW)
  • Onset of "social negotiation" at ~18-21 months: toddler figures out that her goals/wishes my conflict with her parents'. Separation anxiety often returns due to this, but at same time, toddler begins to assert independence. (CoM: http://www.isabelagranic.com/bed-timing/2009/04/1821-months-the-mother-of-all-developmental-transitions.html)
General Intelligence/Other

Sleep
  • Developmental transitions between ~18-21 months may make this a difficult time to sleep train (CoM: http://www.isabelagranic.com/bed-timing/2009/04/1821-months-the-mother-of-all-developmental-transitions.html)
  • Between 12 and 17 months, the National Sleep Foundation Pediatric Task Force recommends 12-14 hours per day and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10-13 hours per day. Parents report an average of 12.5 hours, 10.1 at night and 2.4 during the day. (SS, p. 84)
  • Between 18 and 23 months, the National Sleep Foundation Pediatric Task Force recommends 12-14 hours per day and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10-13 hours per day. Parents report an average of 11.6 hours, 9.7 at night and 1.9 during the day. (SS, p. 84)

Two Year Old Cheat Sheet
(24-36 months)

Vision
Hearing
  •  Hearing threshold remains ~10 db higher than adults'
Touch

Motor

Language
Emotional
  • Synapses in prefrontal cotrex involved in emotion enter a prolonged phase of pruning that continues into adolescence. This is associated with emotional growth into maturity. (WGONIT, p 297)

General Intelligence/Other

Sleep
  • The National Sleep Foundation Pediatric Task Force recommends 12-14 hours per day and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10-13 hours per day. Parents report an average of 11.4 hours, 9.6 at night and 1.8 during the day. (SS, p. 84)
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