You may not think about your infant's development all that often - you're too busy changing diapers, feeding them, and getting some sleep. But it's good to know what to expect from a baby at each stage of life so you can help them reach their milestones. It's also good to know what red flags to look out for.
Here are some things that happen to babies as they get older:
0-3 months old:
A baby will start sleeping for longer periods of time, which is good because the baby needs more sleep then they did before. A baby's brain starts growing and learning new things from what it senses from its environment. The baby might also start smiling!
3-6 months old:
This is, in my opinion, the most important stage of development and fine motor skill development during the first year of life. Infants will learn skills like rolling back to belly and belly to back, sitting, core development and engagement, early signs of army crawl. Tummy time is crucial during this stage as the baby will begin to develop the cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) spinal curves necessary for optimal function later in life - crawling, walking, running.
6-12 months old:
Most babies will try to crawl around in this stage of life, which is also when they may start taking their first steps or cruising (assisted walking). They might start getting into everything now and be super curious about what objects can do or maybe even eat them (watch out for small objects!). The baby will also say its first word or two which means that they're learning how to speak.
What are some red flags that may indicate a problem with your child's development or health?
Some red flags that may indicate a problem with your child's development or health include:
When infants reach six months of age, they should be able to hold their necks up on their own for at least a minute. If they aren't able to hold their neck up on their own by the age of four months, this may indicate that the infant has some retained primitive reflexes that may have not “turned off” during the first few months of life. This can halt their skills like crawling and walking.
If infants are not responding to sound by the age of six months, it may indicate an issue with their hearing and/or development. At around six months of age, infants should turn towards loud sounds and express different emotions and reactions to different voices and sounds.
Infants are typically able to sit well without support by the age of nine months, but if they haven't reached this milestone by that time or are still leaning back when sitting, it may indicate that newborn reflexes are still present. At this stage, this can be a concern for parents who choose to begin baby-led weaning or introducing food.
Monitoring your infant's developmental milestones can help you know what to look for in terms of any potential health or development problems.
Muscular and movement milestones are important to chiropractors because it indicates to us that the brain is communicating with the body. The nervous system is the information railway from the brain to the body. If the communication isn’t happening, the body won’t build it’s foundational skills in the usual and predictable pattern! These interferences are called “subluxations” and can be fixed with gentle chiropractic adjustments.
When I am visiting my littlest patients, I am looking to see if they’re meeting these milestones. They guide me on how to gently adjust the baby so I can help their body get back to balance. A tiny body in balance is able to work hard to meet it’s milestones!
What to do when your infant does not reach a developmental milestone
If you notice any kind of red flag, take your child to see their pediatrician for an evaluation. If you're concerned about any developmental milestone, monitor closely until they are past the time frame for that milestone.
In order to know what developmental milestones your child should have reached, it's important that you monitor their progress. This can be difficult because there are so many different guidelines out there for each age group and the red flags vary from one milestone to another. The most common ones include not being able to hold up their neck by four months or not responding to sound by six months of age. If they haven't met these milestones, don't worry! Always take them in for an evaluation with a pediatrician but also closely watch how they're progressing until they've passed this time frame for those specific milestones.
Dr. Cristina Padilla Bravo | Mobile Family Chiropractor in Jacksonville, FL
Dr. Padilla’s practice focuses on expecting mothers, babies, and children, creating a supportive and educational space for women and their families. She is certified in BIRTHFIT training, designed specifically to assist women in their motherhood transition.
Thrive Family Chiropractic, LLC was founded by Dr. Padilla in the fall of 2017 with the idea that Chiropractic care should be convenient and accessible to all, with a focus on facilitating care for families, women during pregnancy and children. Throughout her years of practice, Dr. Padilla has seen how challenging it can be for families to incorporate Chiropractic into their lifestyles and make it a priority rather than a luxury. With this thought in mind, Dr. Padilla wants to provide the best, most personalized and individualized Chiropractic care to women during pregnancy and to children of all ages, to help improve their lifestyle, prevent chronic illness and allow them to express their full potential in life, sports, school.