A Pediatrician’s Perspective: Developmental Milestones Through
Baby’s First Year
Guest Post – Dr. Bruce Brovender
The American Academy of Pediatrics takes this question very seriously and has laid out guidelines for Pediatricians to follow. It is very important to be constantly vigilant at each well baby visit for potential problems. I have learned to always listen to parents who may have a concern about their child’s development.
One important point I tell all my patients is that development is a fluid process and takes place at varying rates and speeds. Babies do not all sit up, walk or say their first word at the same time. Within that process there are well-defined age ranges, thus pediatricians do expect that children should develop within these acceptable ranges:
Newborn – 2 Months
Babies start developing as soon as they are born, and as any new parent knows, babies show new skills almost every day. When first born, the baby will spend most of their time sleeping. Within a few weeks, the baby will begin to spend longer periods awake, be more alert and more visually attentive. By the time the baby is about 2 months, the baby will be looking around, cooing and starting to smile.
By 4 months the baby can vocalize with a variety of different sounds, and experiment with their mouth and tongue. When the infant gets a response from a parent to their vocalizing this is teaching them the beginnings of verbal language and social reciprocity, so always be responsive to your baby’s efforts to communicate with you.
Most babies will roll over by 5 to 6 months and be sitting with good head control by 6 months.
The baby will experience longer awake periods. During these awake periods, it is always best for the baby to interact with people versus devices because babies develop language and social interactive skills much more readily from person to person contact.
Babies of this age cannot yet truly play with toys in the way they are intended, but they will try to explore all the sensory properties of the toys. Hence, everything will go in the mouths as mouthing is a great way to explore the texture and taste of a toy. This is exploratory play and is very normal, but will require greater vigilance on the part of the parent to avoid choking hazards.
The baby is also experiencing oral motor muscle development, enabling babbling, early chewing and articulation of consonant vowel combinations. Talking, singing and playing games with simple language will help lead the way to baby’s first word, which typically emerges by 12 months.
During this time, the baby will become more mobile as well, and it’s time to baby proof the house! The baby will also sit upright, free up their hands to play and manipulate toys, and will have developed strong attachments to their primary caregiver, and will begin to enjoy simple games such as peek-a-boo.
Twelve months is the typical age for a baby to be cruising, and to start taking steps. Prior to cruising, they will crawl on all fours and pull to stand allowing them greater access to the environment to expand their play and problem solving. So now they can go and search for the ball they see roll under the couch!
Dr. Bruce Brovender | Board Certified Pediatrician in Clinical practice at Global Pediatrics in New York City, NY
Dr. Bruce Brovender is a board certified Pediatrician in clinical practice at Global Pediatrics in New York City, NY . His areas of expertise include counseling the parents of newborns, general pediatric and adolescence care up to age 21. Dr. Brovender additionally has a special interest in developmental disorders.
Dr. Brovender serves as a clinical instructor at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital. He received his doctor of medicine degree from the Bologna University, School of Medicine and Surgery in Bologna, Italy. He completed residency training in pediatrics at Lenox Hill Hospital and at Mamimonides Medical Center. Dr. Brovender also did a fellowship in pediatric hematology oncology at New York University/Bellevue Hospitals.
Dr Brovender is a member of the New York Medical Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. He also works as a medical consultant for Johnson and Johnson and Neutrogena, creating safe and effective skin care products.
Dr. Brovender has been listed as one of New York Best Doctors for several years in New York Magazine, and he has been voted as one of the “New York Times” top doctors for the past two years.