Loving, learning and growing in the first twelve months
By Lifelong Learning Centres
Hey mum and dad! I bet you’re super excited to meet me, maybe even a little scared. What kind of person will I be? How will I grow? What will you need to know? Don’t worry though, there’s lots of help and support out there for you, and I have a quick tip from me to you. Us babies develop on our own timelines, so there’s no set ‘way to be,’ just be ready to love me and watch me grow.
Here’s some exciting things you’ll be able to share in my first year:
The first three months of life will be all about eating, sleeping, and ‘speaking’ (you might call it crying, but I’m just learning how to express myself with my facial expressions as well as my voice). This is a huge time of firsts, first independent head lift, first smile, first sounds, first laugh, and of course the first bath and bonding time between us.
By six months my personality will really start to shine through. When I’m not taking in my surroundings, I’ll be focusing on captivating you with my newfound ‘voice.’ In the first six months you may expect to see me roll over, sit up, eat solid foods, begin teething, reach for things and maybe even grab them. From here the world truly is my oyster.
By this stage, I might have started attending a baby daycare centre - and I’ll be able to enjoy early socialisation with other babies, music, sensory stimulation and exploration of new environments. As long as the centre offers high quality care with qualified and experienced educators, this will all become part of my lifelong learning journey, and I should thrive.
Over the next six months, I will continue to learn and develop by crawling, standing, waving, clapping, pointing, playing, maybe even saying my first sounds. (But if I don’t - that’s ok as well!)
Every day you can help me develop and reach new milestones - here’s a few we can achieve together!
Lifting my head: This is where the all important ‘tummy time’ comes into play. Babies who are given plenty of tummy time have been shown to lift their head independently sooner. To try and encourage head control try placing me on my tummy and stay with me on the floor. Making funny noises will encourage me to look at you, slowly teaching me to control the movements of my own head. Tummy time has also been linked to teaching babies to roll over, and the applause and congratulations you give me encourages me to keep trying!
Bonding: This is an extremely personal time for us, a chance for us to explore our own personal connection as a brand new family. Some tried and true methods to connect with me are looking into my eyes when bottle feeding, massage, looking in the mirror together, bath time, skin-to-skin contact, or even you and I dates.
Sitting: It’s important to make sure I feel supported as I learn to sit up without wobbling and falling. Try propping me up with cushions until I have completely learnt to control my upper body. Toys that encourage me to sit up and interact will help me reach this milestone faster.
Teething tips: It’s easy to assume that everything that upsets me is ‘teething’ - that may or may not be true. As long as I have some toys and items to soothe any red and inflamed gums, this part of my first year can go fairly smoothly. There are many products on the market which promise to assist with teething - often nature knows best.
Crawling: Crawling is critically important for my development. I need to crawl before I can walk, and before I can run! The crawling movement stimulates both left and right brain development
and improves muscle strength and stretch (so technically, it makes me smarter!). Crawling has been shown to relieve tension in the joints and promote better sleep patterns which in turn will boost my immune system. You can encourage this behaviour by placing toys just out of reach when I’m on the floor - and watch me make my way over.
Above all, let’s have fun in our first year - I can’t wait to meet you!
Love, baby :)
(P.S. When you’re ready to look for the best baby daycare for me, call the lovely people at your local Lifelong Learning Centre on 1800 CHILDCARE)
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.