Nourishing Milestones

Helping moms nourish their baby's growth and development

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Baby Development Slideshow

How to Foster Your Baby’s Social Development

Humans may be social animals, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a little coaching from our parents to help us learn to interact with, laugh with, share with, and love other people. Try these tips to help keep your baby on track socially and emotionally. Remember, if you ever have concerns about your baby’s social development, discuss these concerns with your pediatrician.

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Can You Tell if Your Baby Is on Track?

Your baby’s cognitive growth affects his intellectual development, as well as his development of fine and gross motor skills. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of important baby milestones, so you know what to look out for and when to worry.

Moms Best Baby Tips

Question 1

    • Did you do anything special to encourage your baby to crawl?

      • LongBeachLiz
        A lot of children never crawl on their hands and knees. My friend's kid rolled wherever he needed to go. Just keep playing with your baby. Sit him between your legs and play. He'll get it quick enough.
      • Mommy156
        Just keep putting toys in front of him and he will try to reach for it. Also keep doing stretch exercises. He'll get there eventually.
      • Avr-88
        Milestones are different for all babies. In my honest opinion, if baby is growing, and is healthy, milestones don't become a worry until many months later. It’s completely normal for babies to go at their own pace. All babies are different.
    • Did you put your baby on a schedule?

      • Ravens_Mum
        I think schedules are excellent for babies. It helps them learn what to expect and gives them the stability they need. The only thing I don't use a schedule for with my daughter is eating. I feed on demand, not on a schedule.
      • cabrandy03
        I don't believe in putting young babies on a schedule. My daughter naps when she's tired and eats when she's hungry.
      • windsun23
        Lots of babies love the predictability of a schedule, while others don't. Look for clues, such as baby getting fussy, restless, etc., and then take note. Try to predict and plan for these times and prepare. Bottom line: your baby will set her own schedule if you listen to her cues.
    • When did your baby start holding her own bottle?

      • aimesnyc
        I don't believe there is a set timeline. Some babies never hold their own bottle, and some grab at it early. If your baby starts trying to hold it during a feeding, I wouldn't discourage it. Just help keep it steady while they grasp it as well.
      • moderndayhippy
        Every baby is different. Although this is a milestone that many mothers look forward to, try viewing holding your baby and their bottle (for them) as a time to bond and show them your love.
      • Mrs.Andrews
        A baby should not be left alone to feed themselves until at the very least nine months old and when they can sit up by themselves.
      • Karasfirst
        Some babies hold their bottle around four to five months. Some are slower. I would say the majority of babies are holding their own bottles around six to eight months.
    Q&A with Dr. Laura Jana
    Dr. Laura Jana is the award-winning co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn (2nd Ed, AAP 2010).

    Ask Our Expert
      • What are your thoughts on co-sleeping?

        For the sake of babies’ safety, it’s important to distinguish between co-sleeping and bed-sharing. My thoughts on the subject are based on the latest recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics , which is to have babies room-share with their parents (which can help facilitate care and breastfeeding), but not bed-share as a way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

      • At what age to babies really start to understand peekaboo?

        Peekaboo is considered such a classic 9-month old’s game because it involves important new learning, thinking and problem-solving (cognitive) skills, and requires more direct social interaction and the newly developed realization that something exists even if you can’t see it (object permanence). All of these skills are typically mastered by 9 months of age.

      • At what age should I seek out help if my child is not speaking?

        Language development is a process that actually begins well before children actually start speaking in the traditional sense. The expected progression starts with simple baby babble and imitation of sounds at 4 months . By 6 months babble involves strings of vowels and even some sounds that start with consonants (m, b), followed within the next few months by the eagerly anticipated “mamamama,” as well as “babababa” and an increasing number of copied sounds. At a year, toddlers can usually say “mama,” “dada,” and “uh-oh,” try to say many more words and copy the sounds of sentences. In the middle of the second year , toddlers have generally expanded their vocabulary by several words, which they learn to string together in 2 to 4 word sentences by the end of their second year . While there is definitely variation from one child to the next, if at any time a child seems not to be following this typical pattern, it’s important to have him/her evaluated.

      • How important is "belly time"? And when should it start?

        Belly time, also commonly called “tummy time,” simply involves allowing babies to spend supervised time laying on their bellies – an activity that can be started at birth and is encouraged for all babies. The question of tummy time first became common after the 1994 launch of the Back to Sleep Campaign, which emphasized the importance of back sleeping instead of belly-sleeping babies in order to decrease the risk of SIDS. While awake, however, tummy time gives babies the chance to strengthen their head, neck, and body muscles, while also helping prevent the likelihood of getting the flattened areas on the back of their head (plagiocephaly) that sometimes develops in babies who spend a lot of time on their backs.

      • My grandson almost 9 months old cries whenever his mom leaves the room. When will he start being ok about not being with mommy?

        9 months is the classic age when babies may become more clingy and experience “separation anxiety ” when the object of their attachment – in this case your grandson’s mother – leaves. This makes sense, given that 9 month olds are typically only just figuring out that things (and people) continue to exist even when they are out of sight, a concept referred to as object permanency . While each child’s personality can factor in to how outgoing or shy they ultimately are, rest assured that most outgrow this characteristic separation anxiety (usually over the next few months) and learn to less stressfully separate from their parent(s) and enjoy time with other caregivers.

      • At what age should a baby roll over? At what age should I be worried?

        The ability to roll over gives babies their first taste of independent mobility and offers them the reward of new views of their world. It also serves as a reassuring sign that the development of the muscles and body required to accomplish this much anticipated task is as expected. In general, babies begin to roll from front to back around 4 months, and back to front (which takes more strength and coordination) around 6 months. While rolling is a great way for babies to show off their budding motor development skills, it’s not the only one. For any babies who don’t meet these (or any) expected milestones, parents should have their pediatricians take a look to see if there’s any reason for concern or if simple reassurance and patience is warranted.

      • My 4 month old has mastered rolling from stomach to back but has not been able to roll from back to stomach yet. Is this normal at this age? When should she be able to roll back onto her belly?

        It’s typical for babies to learn to roll from front to back first – usually around 4 months of age – but take a bit longer (closer to 6 months) for many to master rolling from back to front. If you think about it, this makes sense, as rolling front to back is a matter of getting your arms tucked out of the way and leaning, whereas rolling back to front requires a bit more body and muscle strength.