Milestones

Babies are growing very fast during their first year of life. There is the physical growth (height & weight) but also developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are skills the baby starts mastering like rolling, sitting and walking.

Babies tend to follow the same progression throughout these milestones, but remember, every baby is different which means the stages can be different and the length in each stage can be different but, like teething, it’s good to know what to expect, when and to know how to manage it. It decreases the stress and anxiety around it.

Month 1

During the first month of life, most of the babies’ behaviours are reflexive. Everything happens automatically. There are 4 main reflexes.

1. Mouthing reflex

  • Sucking and swallowing reflex. A baby will automatically begin to suck when their mouth or lips are touched.
  • Rooting reflex. A baby will automatically turn his head towards your hand if their cheek is touched. This fades at 4 months.

These reflexes are very important for baby’s survival, helping them to find food.

2. Startle (Moro) reflex

This reflex occurs when a baby hears a loud noise or when he falls backwards. His arms and legs extend away from his body. The Startle Reflex will keep waking your baby when he sleeps. To improve sleep, you have to swaddle your baby. Initially your baby might not like it, but it’s important to persist to improve sleep. This fades at 4 months.

3. Grasp reflex

Baby will automatically grab the finger or object when it is placed in the palm of his hand. This fades at 5 months.

4. Stepping reflex

When a baby is placed with his feet on a flat surface, he will automatically step one foot in front of the other. This fades around 2 months.

1-3 Months

  • More aware of their surroundings
  • Follow moving objects
  • Starts smiling at familiar faces
  • Can hold his head up for a few seconds when on the tummy
  • Open and shut hands
  • Grab and shakes hand toys
  • Pushes legs down when on a flat surface
  • Make cooing sounds

4-7 Months

  • Starts coordinating vision, touch and hearing
  • Starts rolling (Stop swaddling)
  • Starts sitting up
  • Some may start crawling
  • Starts pushing up by using their arms and arch their back to lift up the chest. These movements strengthen the upper body preparing the body for sitting up.
  • Rocking while on his stomach
  • Kicking legs
  • Bring toys to their mouths
  • Discovering feet and toes
  • Like looking at themselves in the mirror
  • Transfers objects from hand to hand
  • Laughs
  • Babbles

8-12 Months

  • Sit without support
  • Starts crawling (7-8 months)
  • Very mobile – like exploring (Very important to childproof your house especially the kitchen and bathroom).
  • Starts standing (Around 9-10 months)
  • First step around 12 months
  • Like to poke their fingers through holes (Remember to cover all power points)
  • Usually first word at 12 months
  • Separation anxiety and stranger anxiety can start at this point

By the end of this period :

  • Gets in and out of sitting position independently
  • Gets on hand and knees position crawls
  • Pulls self up to standing position, walks holding on to furniture, stands without support and eventually takes a few steps without support and begins to walk
  • Uses pincer grasp (Thumb and first finger)
  • Places objects into container and takes them out of container
  • More functional activities like holding a spoon and turning pages in a book

Toddler

Sits alone – 5 to 9 months

Crawls – 6 to 12 months

Stands – 8 to 17 months

Walks alone – 9 to 18 months

First words – 1 to 3 years

Two word phrases – 15 to 32 months

Responsive smile – 1 to 3 months

Finger feeds – 7 to 14 months

Drinks from cup unassisted – 9 to 17 months

Uses spoon – 12 to 20 months

Bowel control – 16 to 42 months

Dresses self unassisted – 3.25 to 5 years

Hope this gives you more information on this topic.

Sleep well.

Christine

 

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Maternity bag

Have you packed your hospital bag yet ? Do you know what you’re going to need ? Majority of mums continue to work very close to their delivery date and then it can be a big rush getting everything ready.

Here is a very good checklist to avoid stress and leaving things at home that might have made your stay at the hospital a lot easier and pleasant.

MUM

  • Comfortable undies (big ones)
  • Nipple cream (if you’re going to breastfeed)
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity pads (Lots!)
  • Comfy clothes (big around the waist especially if you’re have a C-section)
  • Snacks
  • Phone charger
  • Bag for dirty/wet clothes
  • Slippers & socks
  • Toiletries :
    • Soap
    • Bath sponge
    • Shampoo & conditioner
    • Deodorant
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
  • Comfy bra
  • Drink bottle
  • Breastfeeding pillow (if you’re going to breastfeed)
  • Lip balm
  • Pen & notebook (you always want to write something)
  • Small change (for vending machine or shop)
  • Camera
  • Personal pillow
  • Towel
  • Tissues
  • Ipad/Laptop
  • Music
  • Linen saver
  • Ural tablets (if you’re having a natural birth)
  • Soft toilet paper
  • Hair dryer
  • Hair ties (if your hair is long)
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Hot/cold pack

BABY

  • Newborn nappies
  • 2 outfits per day
    • mittens
    • socks
    • hat
    • suits
    • singlet
  • Wipes
  • Bottles & formula (if you’re going to bottle feed)
  • Toiletries :
    • Message oil
    • Baby wash
    • Moisturiser
    • Nappy cream
  • Wrap/Swaddle
  • Towel
  • Baby blanket
  • Cotton buds
  • Little eyes (eye wipes)
  • Disposable changing mat
  • Nappy bags
  • Bibs
  • Face washer (soft)
  • Burping cloth
  • Baby brush
  • Baby nail set

Good luck

Sleep well

Christine

Second baby on the way, how to prepare my toddler

Pregnancy while having a toddler can be a very tiring time for you. The demands upon you (work, your partner, your toddler, running household, ante-natal visits and preparing for the new baby) may leave you with little time for yourself. Now it is very important to try and focus more on yourself (to get enough rest) and your toddler. Spent as much time with your toddler while it is only you and him/her. It’s going to be a lot different once the new baby is there.

When to tell your toddler

Not too soon. A very young toddler may have little understanding that a baby is in mummy’s tummy and their concept of time is minimal and months may be too long for them to tolerate. On the other hand, toddlers are amazingly astute – so your ballooning body will catch their eye at some point, and that will prove a good moment to spill the beans. Have pictures ready to help with the understanding.

For many toddlers, the baby will not be real to them until the baby is born.

Let her touch your tummy (especially when baby is moving and kicking). She might also enjoy coming along to an ante-natal appointment and listening to your baby’s heartbeat.

How to cope and prepare toddler around birth

It can be very difficult to have a toddler around when you go into labour. Your toddler is not going to understand that you’re in labour and is expecting a lot of pain. To see you in pain, may be too traumatic to handle for your toddler. It might be best for her to stay with other family members or friends.

Prepare your toddler for the birth day and that she will have to stay with someone while mommy & daddy are at the hospital.

The first meeting is often seen as a crucial litmus test of the sibling relationship but I don’t think so. I think, try to keep the focus on the toddler rather than the baby. Best advice is to try and make sure the baby is in a cot or bassinette when your toddler makes her entrance, so your arms are open to cuddle her and you can explore the newborn together.

Feelings towards the new baby

It is very common for your toddler to have jealous feelings towards the new baby. He was the centre of attention since birth and now all of a sudden this new baby is taking all of the attention. He may also feel overwhelmed by the sudden whirl of friends, photo’s, gifts and flowers.

The feelings of an older child can easily be overlooked.

Younger toddlers, who can’t verbalise their feelings, might regress to earlier behaviours –like thumb sucking, wanting to drink from a bottle, forgetting their recent potty training skills and using baby talk to get your attention.

Older toddlers and kids might express their feelings by testing your patience, misbehaving, throwing tantrums or refusing to eat. These problems are usually short-lived and a little preparation can help.

Here are some tips:

  • Have a regular one on one time with your toddler (no baby present) -Watch him ride his tricycle, blowing bubbles with him, have a simple conversation with him.
  • Look at photos where he was a baby. Point out the different stages (rolling, crawling, and walking). Let him know that the baby will grow up and one day he will be big enough to play with him.
  • Give him a special gift from the new baby. It may help him feel a bit more positive about the new little stranger in the house.
  • Get your toddler involved when people come and visit the baby. Let him show them the new nursery.
  • Let your toddler help pick out items for the new baby’s room.
  • Reinforce your older child’s role in the family, saying that he or she will be the “big brother/sister” to the new baby.

Looking after yourself

Your new baby and toddler both need a mummy. Don’t let yourself get overtired by trying to do too much. People don’t expect a tidy in control house. Most visitors will also be happy to make tea & coffee and to help with simple chores. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

If you’re lucky enough to get your toddler and new baby asleep at the same time, you need to rest too. Even 15 min of rest can do wonders.

Relax, rest and enjoy this special time.

 

Sleep well

Christine

When can I move my toddler to a big boy bed?

It’s always a very exciting time for parents and toddlers to transition from a cot to a “big boy bed”. Obviously the toddler likes his new bed and for some reason parents just can’t wait to move the “baby” (who is not a baby anymore) into a big bed.

Most parents do this transition early and then they end up with a child running around in the house in the middle of the night. This situation can be very unsafe especially if the child gets up and the parents don’t know.

There are usually a few reasons why parents want to move their child into a big bed:

  • Sibling on the way, parents needs the cot for the new baby
  • The toddler managed to climb out of the cot and fell (safety)
  • The toddler ask for a big boy bed

In my opinion, a toddler should not move out of his cot before the age of 2.5 years – 3 years. Mentally and psychologically your toddler needs to be ready to move to a toddler bed. He needs to understand the concept “It’s sleepy time” now and he needs to stay in his bed. He needs to understand that he is not allowed to get up in the middle of the night (unless he wants to go to the toilet if he is already toilet trained) and if he does get up, there will be a consequence.

If your child does not understand that, he is not ready to move to a toddler bed. You will end up in a situation where your child keeps getting up in the middle of the night and you will have to get up to take him back. At the end of the day you’re going to be so tired that you’re going to put your toddler in your bed so you can just get some sleep. Co-sleeping then will start other problems.

 

If you face the following problems, try to fix the problem, rather than moving your toddler to a toddler bed prematurely.

  • New baby on the way. I need the cot. It is absolutely not worth it. There are so many sites where
    parents need to get rid of old baby stock. You can get another cot for a very good price or even for free. Transitioning to a toddler bed can take time and patience. Don’t rush your toddler just because you want to kick him out of his cot.
  • Your toddler is climbing out of the cot. The best thing that does work is to put your toddler back in a sleeping bag. He will be unable to lift his legs high enough to climb out. If you have a cot where the bar of the cot is higher than the front, turn the cot around. Now the cot will be too high for him to get out.
  • Start a reward chart. Encourage positive behaviour; he gets a star if he doesn’t get out of the cot. When the chart is full he can get something special, like ice cream or he can pick a toy when you go shopping.

 

  • Do consequences. If he gets out of the cot, give him one warning. If he still tries to get out, take away his favourite toy/or something else he likes.
  • Get inventive. Think of creative ways to ways to stop him from getting out.

So the bottom of the story, don’t move your toddler out of his cot before 2.5 years or when he understands the concept that he has to stay in his cot for the whole night. He is not allowed to get out of bed unless he wants to go the toilet.

Hope these tips help if you are in the process of doing this.

Good luck 😉

Christine

 

 

 

Constipation

In babies, constipation refers to hard bowel motions and not infrequent bowel motions. Babies may have several bowel motions per day which is normal or 1 every second or third day, which is also normal.

The most common cause for constipation is when a baby/toddler associates passing a stool with pain, so they delay toileting and the problem gets worse.

It’s quite rare in breastfed babies to be constipated.  It usually start when:

  • you start introducing solids
  • you start introducing formula or
  • when your baby is not getting enough fluids in their diet.

The most common signs of constipation is:

  • The poo is hard, dry or crumbly and looks like marbles.  You can use he Bristol Stool Chart:

  • Baby is crying and looks uncomfortable before doing a poo
  • The poo or wind smells bad
  • Baby is not eating enough
  • Baby has a hard belly

If the poo is very hard, it can sometimes cause small tears around your baby’s anus (back passage).  These little tears can bleed and course more pain and discomfort.

 

What to do:

  • Never give your baby medication for constipation unless prescribed by your doctor.
  • Breastfed babies:  Feed your baby more often.  See your doctor.
  • Formula fed babies:  Make sure the formula has been made up correctly (Enough water). Make sure you’re adding water to the bottle first, then the powder of the formula.
  • Solid fed babies:  Offer water/diluted fruit juice (especially prune juice) between meals. (1 part juice to 3 parts water. Encourage your baby/toddler to eat more fruit and vegetables. Many different foods can contribute to constipation.  Too much applesauce, bananas and cereal (especially rice cereal)

Other things you can do:

  • Gently move your baby’s legs in a cycling motion – this may help stimulate their bowel
  • Gently massage your baby’s tummy
  • Gentle rectal stimulation with the use of a cotton swab or rectal thermometer
  • Glycerin suppository
  • Encourage your toilet trained child to develop the habit of sitting on the toilet regularly and pushing.  Two times a day for 3 – 5 minutes each time.  Try this 20 – 30 minutes after meals
  • It can help if your child has a footstool/ box

If your baby is constipated, try to get this under control before thinking to do sleep training.  It’s very difficult to sleep train a constipated baby.

 

Good luck and sleep well

Christine