Rabu, Ogos 27

How much should my baby grow?


`It's a boy!'
`It's a girl!'
Once that's been established and fingers and toes have been counted, what's the next thing you'll find out about your newborn? Probably weight and length. When sending out your birth announcements, you'll probably include both of these measurements. Why all this interest in your baby's size? Because it's a concrete way to begin tracking your baby's growth from the first day forward.


Just like adults, newborns come in all shapes and sizes. The majority of babies born full-term (40 weeks) weigh from just over 3.41 kg to almost 5.02kg, and they are between 47.5cm and 52.5cm long. At one time we used to put a premium on `big' babies, but within this wide range of newborn weights and lengths, it's the baby's overall health that matters most.
Your newborn will most likely gain weight at an average of 200gm per week, and grow about 2.5cm to 3.75cm during his first month. Most newborns go through a period of rapid growth (a growth 'spurt') when they are seven to 10 days old, and again between three and six weeks.
Don't be worried if your full-term baby goes home weighing slightly less than he did when he was born. While it's disappointing for parents to see their newborns' weight drop, it's perfectly normal. Nearly all newborns lose a portion of their birth weight because of fluid loss and because they do not need much milk during the first few days of life.
By day 14 or before, your baby should be back to his birth weight. If you are concerned about what seems to be an excessive weight loss after the first few days of your baby's life, check with your paediatrician.


though it may seem to the parents and siblings of a newborn baby that his activities are limited to sleeping, eating, and crying, that little body is capable of a myriad of movements. Research has shown that babies can not only make associations between sound and other senses, but can also be taught to respond in different ways to the same sound and, if permitted, will exert some control in choosing sounds they want to hear. One of your newborn's most important movements is his rooting reflex. Newborns get hungry, but they don't yet have the ability to look actively for food. The rooting reflex prompts a baby to turn in the direction of his mother's nipple. If you gently stroke the cheek of a newborn with your hand, he will turn in that direction, mouth open, ready to suck. This reflex generally lasts a few months, until the baby becomes proficient at simply turning his mouth to where his next meal is coming from. Your newborn's sucking is also a survival reflex. When his mother's nipple is placed in his mouth, he will automatically suck. The purpose of the rooting and sucking reflexes is obvious: they help your newborn get the nourishment he needs. These reflexes soon become voluntary or directed movements, and in a few months you may even find your infant trying to console himself by sucking his own hand.
Although it may seem to the parents and siblings of a newborn baby that his activities are limited to sleeping, eating, and crying, that little body is capable of a myriad of movements. Research has shown that babies can not only make associations between sound and other senses, but can also be taught to respond in different ways to the same sound and, if permitted, will exert some control in choosing sounds they want to hear.
One of your newborn's most important movements is his rooting reflex. Newborns get hungry, but they don't yet have the ability to look actively for food. The rooting reflex prompts a baby to turn in the direction of his mother's nipple. If you gently stroke the cheek of a newborn with your hand, he will turn in that direction, mouth open, ready to suck. This reflex generally lasts a few months, until the baby becomes proficient at simply turning his mouth to where his next meal is coming from.
Your newborn's sucking is also a survival reflex. When his mother's nipple is placed in his mouth, he will automatically suck. The purpose of the rooting and sucking reflexes is obvious: they help your newborn get the nourishment he needs. These reflexes soon become voluntary or directed movements, and in a few months you may even find your infant trying to console himself by sucking his own hand.
The Moro reflex shows itself when your newborn is startled by a loud noise or feels he is about to fall or be dropped. Sometimes new parents notice this reflex if they place their baby in the bassinet or crib too quickly. Your newborn will react by throwing out his arms and legs, arching his neck, then curling in again with a cry. This reflex quickly disappears, usually by the third month.
You may be able to see the tonic neck reflex at work in your infant. If you turn your baby's head to one side, you may notice him straightening the arm and leg on that side of his body, while curling the opposite arm and leg. This reflex will probably disappear by the middle of his first year.
Stroking your newborn's palms and feet, also called the grasp reflex, may elicit other reflexes. Put your finger directly in your baby's hand, and he may grasp it quite tightly - tightly enough perhaps to support his full body weight in the first days after birth. Touch the sole of your newborn's foot and look for a similar response: a flexing of the foot, with tightly clenched or flared toes. These reflexes also slowly disappear over the course of the first year of your baby's life.


Motor skills develop naturally under most circumstances. Your job during this stage is to make your baby feel safe and secure. Make sure that his head and neck are supported. Never leave him unattended, especially on high surfaces such as a changing table or bed. You can encourage movement through play by gently 'cycling' his arms or legs as he lies on his back, or you can let him kick at your hands or a toy that squeaks. The movement your newborn like best is YOUR movement, so hold him often.


Your newborn may seem to do little more during the first weeks of life than eat, sleep and cry. But in reality, all of his senses are functioning already, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this new world he's entered. It's hard for us to know exactly what a newborn is feeling, but if you pay close attention to his responses to light, noise, and touch, you can see his complex senses begin to come alive.


A newborn's sight is perfectly set to see the most important things in the world to him - his parents' faces. New babies can see best at a distance of only 20cm to 35cm, bringing his eyes in focus when he's gazing up from the arms of Mom or Dad. Your newborn can see things further away, but it is harder for him to focus on distant objects. Still, the light shining in from a faraway window may catch his eye, and he may stare at another family member moving around the room.
His colour preference is black, white and red in contrast to bright colours.
After human faces, brightness and movement are the things he likes to look at best. Even a crude line drawing of two eyes, a nose, and a mouth may keep his attention if held close enough. Although his sight is functioning, it still needs some fine-tuning, especially when it comes to focusing far off. His eyes may even seem to cross or diverge (go 'wail-eyed') briefly. This is usually just a sign that your newborn's eye muscles need to strengthen and mature a bit during the next few months.


We assume newborns can smell because we know they can taste, and these are the two most closely related of the human senses. Research with new babies shows they prefer sweet tastes from birth and will choose to suck on bottles of heavily sweetened water, but will turn away or cry if given something bitter or sour to taste.
Think of the world of smells an ordinary day affords your newborn: your clothes, dinner cooking on the stove, flowers in the yard. At least you don't have to worry too much about your baby's taste buds at this point. Breast milk will satisfy him completely!


As it is to most humans, touch is extremely important to your newborn. Through touch, he learns a lot about the world around him. At first, he is looking only for comfort. Having come from a warm and enveloping fluid before birth, he'll be faced with feeling cold for the first time, brushing up against the hardness of the crib, feeling the scratch of a rough seam inside his clothes. He'll be looking to his parents to provide the soft touch he needs: silky blankets, comforting hugs, and loving caresses upon his head. With almost every touch your newborn is learning about life, so provide him with lots of tender kisses and he'll find the world a soothing place to be.


Your baby is born with the ability to cry, which is how he will do most of his communicating for a while. Your baby's cries generally tell you that something is wrong in his world: his belly is empty, his bottom is wet, his feet are cold, he's tired, he needs to be held and cuddled. Soon you will be able to recognise which need your baby is expressing and respond accordingly. In fact, sometimes what a baby needs can be identified by his cry - for example, the 'I'm hungry' cry may be short and low-pitched, while 'I'm upset' may sound choppy.
Your baby may also cry when he is overwhelmed by all of the sights and sounds of the world. Sometimes he may cry for no apparent reason at all. Don't be too upset when your baby cries and you aren't able to console him immediately: crying is one of his ways of shutting out stimuli when he's overloaded.
A newborn can differentiate between the sound of a human voice and other sounds. Try to pay attention to how he responds to your voice. He already associates your voice with care: food, warmth, touch. If he's crying in his bassinet, see how quickly your approaching voice quiets him. See how closely he listens when you are talking to him in loving tones. He may not yet coordinate looking and listening, but even if he stares into the distance, he Il be paying close attention to your voice as you speak. He may subtly adjust his body position or facial expression, or even move his arms and legs in time with your speech.
Sometime during your newborn's first month, you may get a glimpse of his first smile and perhaps hear his first laugh or giggle. What welcome additions these are to his communication repertoire!


`Does your baby sleep through the night?' is one of the questions new parents faces the most. And the bleary-eyed mums and dads of newborns almost always answer: 'No'
Newborn babies don't know the difference between day and night yet - and their tiny stomachs don't hold enough breast milk or formula to keep them satisfied for very long. They need food every few hours, no matter what time of day or night it is.
A newborn may sleep as much as 16 hours a day (or even more), often in stretches of three to four hours at a time. And like the sleep all of us experience, babies have different phases of sleep: drowsiness, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, and very deep sleep. As babies grow, their periods of wakefulness increase.
At first, these short stretches of three to four hours of sleep may be frustrating for you as they interfere with your sleep pattern. Have patience - this will change as your baby grows and begins to adapt to the rhythms of life outside the womb. At first, though, the need to feed will outweigh the need to sleep. Many paediatricians recommend that a parent shouldn't let a newborn sleep too long without feeding. In practical terms, that means offering a feeding to your baby every 2 to 3 hours or so.


Keep sleep safety in mind. Do not place anything in the crib or bassinet that may interfere with baby's breathing; this includes plush toys. Avoid objects with cords or ties and objects with any kind of sharp edge or corner. Make sure the crib you are using is up to today's safety standards.
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that healthy infants be placed on their backs or sides to sleep, not on their stomachs. Recent studies suggest that the back or side position for sleep might be safer. These studies noted that babies sleeping on their backs or sides have a somewhat lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than babies who sleep on their stomachs do. The thought is that babies sleeping on their stomachs may have a greater tendency toward sleep obstruction and rebreathing their own carbon dioxide.
There are some exceptions to this recommendation, including: those with certain deformities of the head that make them more likely; to develop airway blockage when lying on their backs; Your paediatrician can best advise you on the right sleep position for your new baby.


Dancing: Put on some music with a beat. Hold your baby's face close to your own, and gently sway and move to the tune. Feel free to sing softly.
Name game: Touch and name all the parts of your baby's body as he watches you. Make a game out of it by jumping from foot to foot or hand to hand.
Cuddling: Cradle your baby in your lap and gently stroke him in different rhythmic patterns.

What a time of wonder these first few months are! From a sleeping and eating machine to a smiling, responsive infant, your baby will grow by leaps and bounds in many ways, including physically.


After losing some of his birth weight during the first few days of life, your baby will be starting to grow steadily. By the middle of his first month, he will probably be gaining about 300gm to 600gm per month. After the first month, weight gain may average 0.9kg to 1.2 kg and length may increase 2.5cm to 3.75cm per month. These are just averages; as long as your baby is staying on his own growth curve, you should have no concerns about his progress. Your paediatrician will measure his weight, length, and head circumference and plot your baby's own growth path on a chart, so any growth problems can be spotted early.


By the end of this period, your infant's distance vision should improve dramatically. He'll be able to recognise you as you enter a room, well before you have picked him up. You'll catch him gazing out a window or at a picture on the other side of the room. Human faces are still one of his favourite things to look at, especially his parents' and his own.


Your baby loves to hear your voice. So talk, babble, sing and coo away during these first few months. Take special advantage of your baby's own 'talking' to have a `conversation'. If you hear him make a sound, repeat it and wait for him to make another. You are teaching your baby valuable lessons about tone, pacing and taking turns when talking to someone else. Besides voices, your infant will enjoy listening to music (try out a variety and see which one he likes best). He'll be fascinated by the routine sounds of life as well. Keep him nearby as you rattle pans while making dinner, for instance.


Between one and three months, your baby is depending on you to bring touch to him. Infants know they are loved and cared for when they are held, caressed, massaged and kissed.


Your 1-3 month old is more alert and aware of his surroundings than he was as a newborn. He already recognises his parents' voices and faces, and he might be ready to respond to them with smiles. Your baby is ready to be an active participant in play.


Your baby will carefully watch your facial expressions and listen to your voice. By listening to you, he is learning the importance of speech before he understands or repeats any words himself. He'll also learn during this period that he has the ability to vocalise, too; make sure to answer his coos and gurgles with your own sounds, and he will be more willing to express himself. Now that your baby's hands are open (and he's discovered them), he'll begin to use them to learn about the world. He'll play with his fingers, bring his hands to his mouth, and try to swing at things within view. In this way, he is learning hand-eye coordination. When lying down, he'll stretch out his arms and legs - soon he will learn to grasp and kick! You will learn to recognise when your baby is alert and ready to learn and play, and when he'd rather be left alone. Sometimes your baby will need to protect himself from overstimulation by 'shutting down' for a bit.


Remember that play is not just 'play' to babies and children. Play is how they learn, so be enthusiastic when your baby shows interest in playing. Take every opportunity to interact with him - provided he's in the mood. Don't overstimulate him with too many activities at once, and let him tell you when he's bored. Your baby will enjoy listening to music, the sounds his toys make, and your singing - and he won't care whether or not you 're any good. His eyesight is improving, so he'll be fascinated by brightly coloured pictures in books and the mobile above his crib. And he won't be able to take his eyes off himself if he has an unbreakable crib mirror. As your baby's hands open, offer him a rattle to hold, and watch his search for the source of the rattle 's sounds. Give him safe objects of different textures, shapes, sizes, colours, and weights to hold. Dangle objects above your baby and let him swat at them. To get his hands moving, clap them together. Move his legs like a bicycle with your hands. These body games will help him learn to control his movements. Once your baby can hold his head up, introduce these classic games, or make up your own: Elevator: Lie on your back and lift your baby up over you. Say, 'I'm going to kiss you! ' while you lower him down and give him a kiss. Bouncing rides: Place your baby on your lap and hold him under his arms. Move forward until you 're at the edge of the seat, then raise and lower your heels to give him a gentle bounce. Reciting rhymes while you do this will add to the fun and encourage language development.


Your infant is now on his way toward more voluntary movement as some of the initial reflexes noticeable after birth begin to disappear. By the end of the second month, most infants should be able to lift their heads 45 degrees off the crib mattress while lying on their stomachs; some may even be able to lift up further. By the end of this period, he should be able to bring his head up and look around. You'll notice increasing neck strength as you hold your baby, too; he'll be able to control his head more and more on his own, although he'll still depend on you to watch that he has proper head support. While it will still be difficult for him to lift his head while lying flat on his back, you'll notice that his neck is less floppy if you lift him by the arms. Baby's legs will gradually straighten out, and his leg strength will become more apparent with each kick. Although his kicks may still be mostly reflexive, he may soon be strong enough to push himself over from his front to his back with his leg. This is why you should never leave your baby unattended on a changing table, bed, or other high surface. You never know when your baby will decide that he wants to roll over! Your infant will grow increasingly aware of his own hands during this period. Although he has been able to grasp your finger or a light object reflexively since birth, during these months he'll learn how to control that grasp: how to open and shut his hand and how to bring a hand (or an object it is holding) to his mouth. He can swipe his hands at objects hung above him. He can shake a rattle or other toy placed in his hand - and drop it when he loses interest in it. He may continually attempt to get his own hand into his mouth during these months, but may fall short of this goal until about the fourth month. Then he'll get that thumb where he wants it and will be able to keep it there!


Your baby will recognise Mummy and Daddy, laugh, squeal and smile spontaneously. His personality begins to become evident. Crying will continue to be your baby's primary means of communication for many months. Aside from letting you know that he needs something (and perhaps even what he needs by the way he cries), your baby may cry when he is overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds of the world. sometimes he may cry for no apparent reason at all. Your baby will respond to the sound of your voice by becoming quiet, smiling or getting excited, and moving his arms and legs. He will begin smiling regularly at you at this point. He probably won't smile and be friendly to strangers, but he may warm up to them with coos and baby talk - or at least a curious stare. Babies this age discover that they have the ability to vocalise; soon you'll have a cooing and gurgling machine! Some babies begin to repeat some vowel sounds, like'ah-ah' or'ooh-ooh' at about two months. Your baby will 'talk' to you with a variety of sounds; he'll also smile at you and wait for your response, and respond to your smiles with his own. His arms and legs will move, and his hands will open up. He may even mimic your facial expressions.


Now your baby will probably begin to stay awake longer during the day and sleep more at night than he did when he was born. Since your baby is more alert and aware of his surroundings during the daylight hours, he will be more inclined to sleep during the night, especially if you fight the urge to play or talk to him during night-time feedings or diaper changes. Your baby is adapting to the sleep-wake cycle that his parents favour, and his stomach is growing and holding more breast milk or formula. That means he might even be sleeping up to seven or eight hours without waking up because of hunger. At about three months, if you feed your infant and put him to bed at 10pm, you may find yourself actually sleeping until dawn! Again, not all infants keep to the same timetable.


Here are some milestones to look for during this period. By the end of three months, most babies: Smile at the sound of a parent's voice Smile at others Reach for, grasp, and hold objects Support their heads well Make babbling sounds Bring objects to their mouths

Sometimes during this period, your baby will probably begin to explore the world of solid food. Once this happens, he'll be increasingly influenced by taste, texture, and his own personal preferences.
The average rate of growth for a baby between four and seven months old is about 600gm to 750gm. You should begin to see your baby's growth pattern emerging - with small changes during periods of rapid growth. There is no strict rule of thumb about how much a baby should weigh at this stage, but by eight months he'll probably weigh about 2.5 times what he weighed at birth.


Get ready for the months of movement! Your baby is now rolling over, starting to sit up, grabbing toys and other interesting objects, and possibly even crawling. While the majority of his energy during this period is spent developing his motor skills, he is also honing his senses, understanding and anticipating more and more of what he sees, hears, and feels in the world around him.
You'll see him staring in concentration at a toy he's turning over in his hands or intently studying his own face in a mirror. By the end of this period, he'll be able to focus far beyond the few metres he's capable of at four months.
In keeping with his ability to move around, he'll be able to track even rapid motion with his eyes. He'll follow the course of a ball you roll past him and will keep his eyes on the quick movements of an older sibling playing nearby. He's also practising his newly acquired hand-eye coordination, so watch as he stares for a while at an object, then slowly reaches out to get it.


Now, he's beginning to pick out the components of your speech. He can hear and understand the different sounds you make and the way words form sentences.
By his seventh month, your baby should recognise and respond to his own name. He'll also make more attempts to imitate sounds and spend more of his time babbling. Make no mistake, these are your baby's early attempts at speaking and should be encouraged as much as possible. Repeat sounds you hear him making back to him. Introduce him to simple words that apply to his everyday life. Have 'conversations' with him, waiting for a pause in his babble to 'answer' him.

Your doctor may suggest the addition of solid foods to your baby's diet sometime during this period. If this is the case, you'll want to select his foods carefully, introducing one new food at a time. Not only does this help you pinpoint any food allergies that may occur, but it also helps you discover which tastes your baby likes best.


By now, your baby is becoming better at holding his head and chest up when lying on his stomach. This is helping to prepare his head, neck and trunk muscles for sitting and eventually, standing upright. During this stage, he'll begin pushing his head and chest further by straightening his arms and arching his back. He may also begin moving his legs and rocking on his stomach. In this way, he's getting ready to do some rolling over and crawling.
By seven months, he will probably be rolling over in both directions. Never leave your baby unattended. His newfound movements could cause him to fall from a bed or couch unless you are there with him. Even if he never rolled over before, there's always a first time. Babies like to surprise you that way.
Your baby is using his hands more and more to get what he wants. He is learning how to transfer objects from one hand to the other, how to turn them round and round for inspection, and how to use his hands like a `rake' to bring things into his grasp.
Give him lots of toys and safe household objects to pick up, shake and (of course) throw. Be careful with small objects. Babies will place just about anything they can into their mouths for further inspection, so you must be on constant lookout for choking hazards.


Your baby's range of sounds and facial expressions continues to grow, and he'll probably spend lots of his time babbling, squealing, smiling, and laughing - which may leave less time for crying. He's also imitating more of the sounds that he hears, which are his first attempts at speaking!


Are you beginning to think that your 4 to 7 month-old knows his name? You're probably right! His memory and attention span are increasing, and he's learning all sorts of things; even at this tender age.
Repetition is the name of the game for learning and play. Be prepared to play games, sing songs, and repeat actions over and over - you may be bored, but your baby is excited and stimulated!
Babies generally begin to grasp the principle of cause-and-effect during this stage; he learns that his actions cause reactions, that he has the ability to make things happen. He will explore this concept by doing things - dropping an object, kicking his crib, yelling - over and over again. Although this may be frustrating, it is the way your baby is learning the effects his actions may have. He is not throwing his pacifier on the floor over and over in order to upset you. He is doing it in order to see if it appears before him again.
Now that your baby is beginning to realise that his actions have an effect on you, he will enjoy playing copycat games where you mimic what he says. He may also make the discovery that whenever he cries he grabs your attention. This is mostly a good thing, but he will also use it on occasion when he is bored or frustrated. Rather than punish him for this, give him extra attention once he stops crying or fussing.
Reading to your baby gives him a chance to observe the way you talk and mimic the sounds you make. If the book has bright pictures, all the better. Be sure to show them to your baby and describe them. Books that will withstand some mouthing and chewing are best.
With your baby's more sophisticated motor skills, he is probably ready for toys that he can activate himself. Toys that make sounds when shaken are good, as are toys that teach cause-and-effect, such as pop-up toys. Puppets and other toys with finger holds will allow your baby to practice hand control. Be sure to read toy packages, and stick to the age guidelines suggested by the manufacturers.


During these months, your baby will learn to roll over and position himself for sleep in his own way. Towards the end of this period, he may be able to keep himself awake or be kept awake by his surroundings, so this is the time to instil good sleep habits by sticking to a bedtime routine.
At this age, you will probably want your baby to start falling asleep on his own, if he doesn't already. This may mean performing your nighttime routine and putting him into his crib while he's still awake. If he cries, let him be for a few minutes. He may settle down and go to sleep. If the crying continues, go back in and soothe him for a moment, without picking him up. This may go on a few times until your baby figures out that crying is not getting him anywhere.


Now your baby will master crawling so he can get where he wants to go. By the end of this stage, most babies will be standing upright, either alone or by 'cruising' along the edges of your furniture. 'Cruising' is when a baby holds onto an object, such as a coffee table, and uses it to balance while moving along its side.
Be especially vigilant about gating staircases and blocking off rooms that you would rather your baby didn't explore. Don't forget to look around again at your baby-proofing efforts. They might need beefing up now that your baby is so mobile.


By now your baby is sitting, using his hands every now and then for support. Soon he'll figure out how to get himself up to the sitting position from his belly to examine a toy closely with his hands or check out what's happening around the house. He is rolling over on his own, too.
Before your baby begins to crawl, he may begin rocking on his hands and knees, or `swimming' with arms and legs. Sometimes babies even crawl backwards first, since their arm muscles are stronger than their leg muscles.
Don't worry about the style of crawling your child chooses, and don't worry if your child never truly crawls at all. Some find other ways of getting around, from dragging themselves on their behinds to rolling across the room. As long as your baby is using both arms and legs, is using both sides of his body to propel himself, and shows interest in exploring his surroundings, there is usually no reason to be concerned.
Once he is crawling, your baby will love crawling over and under any obstacles in his way. Most babies especially enjoy climbing stairs, and such an adventure can be a great strengthening exercise - provided you are close at hand to prevent falls.
While fascinating, crawling won't keep your baby's attention forever. He wants to walk like you! Expect him to pull himself up on everything he can, from the coffee table to your leg. Teach him how to get back down by bending his legs and lowering himself to the floor.
Getting up but not being able to get down again is a common problem for first-time standers. He'll love having you hold his hands while he walks a few steps at first, and soon he may have enough confidence to let go and try a few steps on his own. Expect lots of tumbles and falls in the early days of walking, and look for the jerky, feet-wide-apart gait of a new walker. Have no fear - he'll be running soon enough.
Your baby also is developing her hand and finger skills. Instead of simply raking' objects toward him with his whole hand, he'll be grasping with his thumb and fingers (called a pincer grasp). He'll soon love to roll a ball to you, and he 'll delight in banging two toys together. By the end of this stage, he may be able to stack toys and will enjoy objects that have parts that move, or can be opened and closed.


During these months, your baby might say 'mama' or 'dada' for the first time, and he will communicate using body language, like nodding and shaking his head. He'll pay even more attention to your words and will try very hard to imitate you - so be careful what you say!
Your baby will be testing his verbal skills as he prepares for his big speaking debut. He will be making more and more recognisable sounds, such as 'ga'. 'ba', and 'da'. He may even stumble onto a real word like 'mama', and he'll be thrilled at your excitement
Your baby will begin to express his likes and dislikes with body language, nodding in agreement or wrinkling his nose with displeasure. He'll begin to communicate what he wants by pointing, crawling, and gesturing. You'll know that your baby understands what you say to him when you ask, 'Where's Daddy?' and he looks his way; or you say, 'Go find the blue ball', and he crawls right to it. He should already respond well to his own name, and he should look up (and at least pause) when you firmly say, 'NO!'
By the end of his first year, your baby should be responding well to simple requests from you ('Wave bye-bye') and should be making some valiant babbling attempts at real conversation.
Continue talking to your baby using names as well as repetitive word games, like 'This little piggy' Ask her:'What's that?' and pause before you provide the answer. Soon your baby will be pointing and saying, `Bah?' as if he's asking a question.
Be musical and sing to your baby to encourage language learning. By listening to the words, he will learn to recognise and repeat them. Throw in hand gestures and vary the style and tempo of the music to keep your baby's attention. He will also respond to rhymes, which show him how playful language can be.
Read to your baby from large, colourful picture books, and encourage him to turn the pages. Give him a chance to 'read' and allow time for him to 'answer' your questions.


Your baby's sight has been maturing for several months, and he is able to see quite well and even focus on quickly moving objects. He is now putting his motor skills together with his new visual skills. He can spot a toy across the room, focus on it, crawl to it, pick it up, and turn it over for visual scrutiny.
He will delight in looking at the same picture book over and over again, concentrating on the familiar images. He will love objects with parts he can move or pieces he can connect, and he'll spend lots of time staring at these things, perhaps trying to figure out how or why they work. Familiar and loving faces are still his favourite thing to look at.
Don't place conditions on your baby's play by requiring him to accomplish certain tasks or meet specific goals. If play becomes instruction, your baby may become bored or (even worse) feel that your love or attention is dependent upon how well he performs the task.


By this age, your baby may have a pretty good idea of tastes he likes and those he doesn't. Don't be discouraged if he seems to prefer only one or two kinds of foods. By continually offering his foods with a variety of tastes and smells, you'll be sending the message that they are always available - and you'll be surprised the day he decides to try something new.


Your baby is getting around more on his own as he masters crawling - perhaps even walking - skills. This means he can go and touch the things he wants to touch. After making sure there are no hot or sharp items that can hurt him and no small objects that he can put in his mouth, let your baby explore the textures and surfaces of your home and yard.


Just when your baby is beginning to develop in so many positive ways, certain sleep problems may start to crop up. These problems are often due to your baby's increased awareness of his 'separateness' from you. Separation anxiety may mean tears and fears (the baby's, not yours) when you try to leave him in his crib at night oe when he wakes up and took around for some sign that you are nearby.
It can be difficult to respond to your 8 to 12 month-old's night-time needs with the right balance of concern and consistency, but remember : this is the time to set the stage for future restful nights for the whole family. The important thing now is to try and keep the sleep experience a positive one for your baby.
While research shows the average number of hours slept at this age is 13 per day, the range of normal is still quite wide. Your baby is probably still taking two naps a day - one in the morning and another sometime after lunch. The naps can last as long as your baby needs them to be. Some babies will nap 20 minutes, others a few hours.
The naps will usually help preventyour baby from becoming too cranky to sleep well at night and will help him (and you) enjoy his waking hours more. If you feel the napping is interfering with his bedtime too much, wake him from the afternoon nap a little earlier each day. This way, you can gradually induce him to sleep a little longer at night.
By this age, your baby is picking his own positions for sleep and is sure to move around a lot during the course of a night's rest. Keep large stuffed animals out of his crib; they can still cause problems for him if they fall onto his face. Check for ties and ribbons that Can wrap around his neck. Get rid of objects or toys with sharp edges and corners. You have probably already made sure your crib is up to today 's safety standards; but if you haven't, check it out.
Once your baby is pulling himself up using the sides of the crib, it's time to remove the soft bumper cushions. The bumpers can give him a dangerous 'leg up' for climbing out of the crib and falling. If there is still a mobile hanging over the crib, take it down now. Don't forget to look around for other things that your baby can touch from a standing position in his crib. Wall hangings, pictures, draperies, and window blind cords can all be potentially harmful if they are left within your baby's reach.


Some games for babies in this age group include:
Peekaboo: Cover your face with your hands, then remove your hands and say : 'Peekaboo, I see you!' Some babies have an insatiable appetite for this game ; you may be playing it over and over for a few months.
Rasa Sayang Eh!, Buai Laju-laju and Tepuk Amai- Amai, Babies love to learn these nursery rhymes and anticipate the accompanying movements.
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe A counting game ideally suited for climbing up and down stairs.
Hide-and-Seek This game exploits your baby's understanding of object and person permanence. Hide your baby's toys - or yourself - and encourage her to seek.

you're in for a year of changes! Midway through this year, most babies are walking, and many are starting to have conversations. By their second birthdays, most are losing that `baby' look and growing taller instead of rounder. While developmental growth is going full speed ahead, physical growth slows down during this year, so don't be surprised by what seems like a halt to the rapid growth of the first year. Your baby will change in so many other ways, though, you'll want to keep his photo album close at hand to remember what he was like before!
During this second year of life, your baby-turned-toddler may gain between 1.8kg to 3kg. Compare that with how he tripled his birth weight during the first year! An average 15-month-old girl weighs about 13.2kg and stands 77.5cm tall. Boys tend to be about 600gm heavier at 15 months but about the same height. By age two, both will stand about 85cm tall and weigh about 16.2kg or 16.8kg on average. Your toddler's head size will also not change as dramatically this year. He'll probably add about an inch to his head circumference - bringing him not far from his adult head size!
What you will notice more than actual growth is changes in a toddler's appearance. Instead of the rounded belly and soft arms and legs suited to crawling on all fours, during this second year your toddler will most likely trim down, become more muscular because of his increased activity, and begin to look more like the preschool child he is about to become than the baby he was.


Walking is the single most obvious motor skill acquired during this period, but a baby this age is also gaining greater mastery over his hands and fingers. As his movement develops, so does his curiosity about the world around him and his ability to investigate places he wasn't able to go before. Once again, you'll have to look around your home from a different eye level. Childproof your home as much as possible, so your new walker can experience the freedom and excitement of exploration.
Different babies walk at different times. Some proficient crawlers will walk later, since they already have the ability to get around quite well. Some younger siblings walk early, just to keep up with the older kids. If your baby hasn't started walking by the time he's one year old, he probably will within the next few months.
New walkers are called 'toddlers' because that's exactly what they do. They keep their legs wide apart and seem to hesitate between each step, jerking side to side as they move one foot forward, then the next. They generally get upright by putting their hands out in front, lifting their bottoms, and pulling their feet under them. Not very graceful, but it works. Your toddler will experience his share of falls, but if you don't overreact to these tumbles, he should get right back up and try again.
Watch the changes in the way your baby uses his hands. Your toddler's hand-eye coordination is developing rapidly, which means he is better able to manipulate small objects. You may notice, though, that when your baby learns to manipulate things with one hand, he'll have to learn to do the same with the other hand. At least at this stage, knowledge from one side of the body isn't instantly and automatically transferred to the other side.
As your baby develops, he may be extremely interested in finding out how things work. Offer him many safe opportunities to do this.


By now your toddler is embracing life on his own terms, running and jumping, grabbing what he wants, and shouting for joy. His senses are maturing rapidly, and so is his understanding of the why's and how's of the world around him. As the size of his world grows, he'll be seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching things he never has before.


Between one and two years old, your baby's sight will improve dramatically. Your job is to provide pleasant, stimulating visual information. Picture books, colourful toys, and other children are great things for your baby to look at and learn about. Be aware of disturbing or scary images toward the end of this period; your toddler is not able to distinguish between the real and the imaginary yet.


No matter when your child says his first words, it's a sure bet he'll understand much of what you say to him well before that. He should be able to respond to commands ('Roll the ball to Mummy.') and should be fully aware of the names of familiar objects and family members. This tells you his hearing is functioning well and helping him develop his language skills. He'll also enjoy the other pleasures of hearing : listening to children's songs and music, laughing and yelling with friends in the park, having you tell him a bedtime story.


With his newfound language skills, your toddler will tell you which things he likes the taste of and which ones he doesn 't. You can help him label tastes and smells by using descriptive words during mealtime or outside trips. Don't forget to offer him a variety of foods to taste. Fight the urge to give him only what he likes. Just keep providing opportunities to try new things, and one day he'll surprise you by accepting!


Although he may seem too busy exploring to enjoy your touch, a cuddle or kiss from you is still a necessary part of your toddler's life. He is experiencing and understanding so much more, but underlying his willingness to explore is the knowledge that he is loved and secure. Take every opportunity to show him this.


Language development really takes off during this time, especially as your baby approaches his second birthday. He is better able to comprehend what you say and express what he wants. He will take joy in his ability to understand more complex directions - and he won't hesitate to give you directions.
Most babies say their first words toward the beginning of this period, though some start even sooner and others don't start talking until they are nearly two years old. If your baby is preoccupied with learning to walk, he may push talking to the back burner; this is not unusual and nothing to be alarmed about.
Your baby may have learned fragments of dozens of words that probably won't be recognisable yet. When he gets around to talking, though, he'll probably progress quickly. He'll soon be able to point at something familiar and say its name, and recognise names of familiar people, objects, and body parts. By two years, he may use phrases and even two- to four-word sentences.

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