We’ve touched on the possible relationship between plagiocephaly and motor delay in our previous blog post. While the correlation isn’t completely clear, there is a study which investigated whether the presence or absence of torticollis (a tight neck muscle on one side of the neck) might have any effect on infants’ crawling and standing ability. In light of this, what really are the milestones to watch for in your baby? While all babies develop at different paces, there is a well-known timeline for baby milestones by age. While you’re here, don’t forget to read our blog post on 12 ways to encourage baby development if you are worried about plagiocephaly and brain development.
Do you know that your baby was capable of smiling before being born? This is considered to be a reflex smile much like a muscle twitch. Your baby will develop a genuine smile between 6-12 weeks of life. So, how can you tell the difference? A reflex smile is generally shorter and happens randomly during the day or when your baby is sleeping. Genuine smiles last longer and are typically an emotional response to something pleasing such as your voice, tickles or a funny sound.
By five months, your baby might start letting out giggles or squeals to accompany their smiles. Keep engaging with your baby and you might be in for a treat of some deep baby belly laughs!
All babies are different and while some babies start rolling over at three months, others develop this skill nearer to five or six, and others have it nailed by eight months. Don’t worry if your baby is still learning at seven months – all babies develop at different paces.
The more your little one develops their core muscles, the easier they will find sitting. Sitting unaided is usually mastered between five and nine months while your baby figures out the balance and strength needed to be able to balance.
The average age for crawling is between six and nine months where different babies adopt different styles of crawling, from bottom shuffling to backwards crawling and tummy or commando-type crawling, or a combination of them all! Other babies skip this step altogether and move from sitting straight through to pulling themselves up by holding onto furniture.
The natural step after crawling is walking and most babies have taken their first steps from anywhere between 12 to 18 months. That’s a six-month window so don’t be too worried if your baby is a ‘late adopter’. If your baby hasn’t started walking by 18 months, it might be reassuring to check in with your health visitor or GP.
Generally speaking, babies begin teething at around four months but this, again, varies from baby to baby and some babies are born with a tooth already showing! Have a read of our blog post on ways to help a teething baby.
The average age for babies to utter their first word is from nine months, however, it’s perfectly normal for babies to wait until they are at least one year old before babbling away! Make sure you are chatting to your baby and giving them the opportunity to engage in conversation. Even if they don’t join in, they will learn the structure of ‘your turn – my turn’ and absorb your vocabulary and intonation.
As mentioned, children develop at different paces and unless you feel you have a reason to be worried, most babies will get there in their own time! If you think your baby might have flat head syndrome and are worried about this affecting their development, do get in touch with our friendly team for advice.