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0 - 3 Months Developmental Milestones

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Check out these developmental guides:

0 - 3 Months Developmental Milestones

4 - 5 Months Developmental Milestones

6 - 9 Months Developmental Milestones

9 - 12 Months Developmental Milestones

12 - 24 Months Developmental Milestones

0-3 Months Developmental Milestones

Blending developmental milestones information of Dr. Sears' The Baby Book the American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring for Your Baby and Young Child:  Birth to age 5, Touchpoints by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, and Child Development, 2nd Ed. by A. Christine Harris, the first three months is split into weeks (zero to four weeks, five to eight weeks, and nine to twelve weeks) to more clearly illustrate your child’s accomplishments.  The skill inventory is not exhaustive nor are the milestones within each subheading necessarily in the order of achievement or importance.  This is also not meant as medical advice, just mom-to-mom sharing the general guide of development.

As you study each chart, notice that babies develop from the "top-down" and "inside-out", meaning your baby gains control of his/her head before the arms or legs (top-down) and gains control of the arms before the fingers ("inside-out").  Appreciate your baby's uniqueness and individual schedule.  Your child may focus on one skill while letting the others plateau for a time.  Do not get into the confusing habit of comparing your baby to others. Consult your
pediatrician with your concerns for medical advice, not your neighbors and friends.

Feel free to print this out in chart form (.pdf format) to post on the fridge.  That way you can note when
you notice your baby mastering a skill and slide it into his/her scrapbook (that you may have time to work on when your "baby" is 15!). 

0 - 3 months developmental milestones - newborn development
Watching the zero to four-week-old develop:

During your baby's first month, keep your eyes peeled for these behaviors and skills as you enjoy getting to know your baby.
Large Muscle (or Large/Gross Motor) Development:
Fetal position favored
May attempt to lift head while on tummy
Involuntary/reflexive muscle movements
Vision restricted to 8-10 inches, still blurred
Moro reflex (startles spontaneously), more common when lying on back
Rooting reflex (whether breastfed or not), especially when something brushes against cheek
Stares vaguely at surroundings

Small Muscle (or Fine Motor) Development:
Fists clenched
Mostly involuntary movement

Lingual (or Verbal) Development:  Social and lingual development often intertwine as the young child uses his/her growing lingual development to capture attention.  These skills have been listed under their separate headings when appropriate, but may be listed under each when applicable.
Insistent cries (may begin to have fussy period around suppertime each day lasting to 12 weeks of age)

Social (or Irresistible Charm!) Development:  
Smiles in sleep
"Molds" body against person holding him/her
Distinguishes parents' voices (especially Mom’s) from others
No routine to eating, sleeping, waking

Intellectual (or Cognitive) Development:
Learns trust through parents’ consistent, patient response to cries
Quietly alert (best time for learning and interaction, not for getting the dishes done)
for about one hour of every ten hours

How do I please my zero to four-week-old?
Walking/being carried while in sling or in arms
White noise (recordings of rain, ocean waves, static-type noises)
Loud ticking clock (imitating sounds from womb)
Skin-to-skin contact/gentle baby massage
Feeding on demand/not scheduled feedings
Being sung/talked to/hearing parents’ voices
Eye-to-eye contact (vision best 8-10 inches from face)

Various Warning Signs/Contact your pediatrician if your baby:
Sucks poorly and has few wet diapers (should soil 6-8 disposable or 8-10 cloth diapers in 24 hours)
Shows no blinking reflex in brightly lit areas
Makes very little arm/leg movement or seems
very stiff, very loose (or loses muscle tone)
Constantly trembles lower jaw (when not excited, cold, or crying)
Is consistently nonresponsive to loud sounds
Has more than 6-8
exceptionally loose, watery bowel movements (not to be confused with typically loose breast milk stools) --  suggests dehydration along with dry mouth and decrease in wet diapers
Has two rectal temperature readings above 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C)

0 - 3 Months Developmental Milestones; 5 - 8 week old     
Watching the five to eight-week-old develop:

Large Muscle Development:
Arms and legs begin to relax and move more fluidly as muscle twitches/reflexes lessen
Head still wobbly but can lift it 45 degrees for a few seconds when on tummy

Small Muscle Development:
Begins to unclench hands and swipe aimlessly
May hold (soft!) toy when placed in hand for several seconds

Lingual Development:
Coos, squeals (believed to be in response to simply feeling good, rather than external stimulation)
Fussy period may be continuing (to 12 weeks -- This, too, shall pass, Mom and Dad!)

Social Development:
Smiles responsively!  (It’s not “gas” anymore!)
Reads/responds to parents’ moods
Maintains eye contact/loves faces
Can track moving objects with eyes
Likes to be held/cries if put down
Stays awake longer when interacted with

Intellectual Development:
Trust grows by making associations– gives cues (like mouthing objects/hands), expects consistent response (feeding)
Distressed if needs are not met
Differentiates between people, sounds, and objects
Watches hands when they come into view

How do I please my five to eight-week-old?
Nursing  (If you had a rough start, it should be getting easier now with "experience".)
Carry/wear in a
sling as much as possible
Gentle infant massage/stroking bare skin
Beautiful music (classical, instrumental, new age nature-type sounds)
Examining mobiles/toys with contrasting colors (red, white, black patterns)
Skin-to-skin on Daddy’s bare chest
A warm bath with Mommy or Daddy

Various Warning Signs/Contact your pediatrician if your baby:
Is not responsive (does not smile) at the sound of your voice
Does not notice his/her hands (They are still poorly controlled, but usually finds them interesting when they come into view)
Has a rectal temperature over 101 degrees F

9 - 12 Week Old Developmental Milestones - Infant Development
Watching the nine to twelve-week-old develop:

Large Muscle Development:
Rolls from back to side
Arms/legs move freely
Bears weight on legs for short time
Holds head steady and higher than bottom (for up to 10 seconds) while on tummy looking around
Sits with support

Small Muscle Development:
Begins hand fascination -- sucks fingers, plays with hands
Hands open as grasp reflex disappears -- will hold toy longer, grab hair/anything placed in hand
Will swipe at toys/jungle gyms
Explores own body with hands (especially face, mouth)

Lingual Development:
Laughter begins, may seem forced (my daughter's sounded like forced coughing!)
Makes vowel sounds, "eee", "aaah", "oooh"
Shrieks loudly/enjoys hearing own voice
Fussy time usually begins to lessen now

Social Development:
Smiles easily
Laughter begins, may seem forced
Shrieks loudly/enjoys hearing own voice
Varies cries to communicate needs

Intellectual Development:
Cause/effect understanding begins (touch dangling toy, it moves) but still some confusion (ex.:  if he/she kicks and dog barks, may believe he/she caused dog to bark)
Long-term memory builds as baby waits for expected response
Stops sucking to listen
Differentiates between speech and other sounds

How do I please my nine to twelve-week-old?
Walking/being carried in sling or in arms
Chest-to-chest contact
Swiping at toys/shaking rattles
Would rather play propped up than lying down
Face-to-face interaction with caregivers

Various Warning Signs/Contact your pediatrician if your baby:  
Does not attempt to track (follow with the eyes) a nearby moving object
Fails to reach for, grasp, and hold items
Neglects to smile at people
Does not hold up head

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