The first year of your baby’s life is an exciting time – your little one is growing and developing at an amazing speed and it’s completely thrilling to see it happen right before your eyes.
Before you know it, the little love you brought home from the hospital starts smiling, rolling, babbling, crawling, standing, eating, talking and walking. And, that’s nothing compared to what’s going on in her little head.
Babies are constantly learning, and as they begin to fly through the phases of their development, you’ll probably be wondering whether or not your baby is on the right track. Of course, babies all develop differently. Just like adults, they have their own paces and personalities. Healthy babies reach milestones at a range of ages – some can even be ahead in some areas and behind in others simultaneously.
If you’re curious about what your baby might be working on developmentally, or concerned that she is behind, your pediatrician is a great source. Your pediatrician will evaluate your baby’s growth and development at each well-baby check-up, and of course, you can always check in with additional questions.
Babies are constantly learning, and as they begin to fly through the phases of their development, you’ll probably be wondering whether or not your baby is on the right track.
And, companies like Wildflower Health are making sure you are supported the rest of the time. Wildflower Family Health is a free app committed to helping manage your child’s health and growth in a way that is beneficial and functional. The Family Health app starts in pregnancy, helps with the little ones and even tracks the whole family’s health so parents, kids, and grandparents can be on one shared app. The new health view focuses on early childhood development and parental health. The newest health view focuses on early childhood development and parental health.
Family Health seamlessly transitions its support of families from pregnancy to parenthood. By simply swiping between health views within the Family Health mobile app, parents can manage the health needs of each family member. Specifically, users can:
- Access education on important topics for young children, such as nutrition and sleep.
- Keep track of developmental milestones and manage important activities, such as scheduling recommended well-child checks.
- Addresses important challenges facing new parents, including screening for postpartum depression.
Using an app like Family Health can give you peace of mind when it comes to your baby’s development. It can also help you spot potential issues you’d like to bring up to your pediatrician. Knowing what to expect of your baby’s growth and development helps you recognize what exactly you should be looking for and working on. Even better, the Family Health app offers parents tons of content. From conception to baby’s second year and beyond, it’s a great place to turn to when your little one is going through transition after transition.
In order to get the details on developmental milestones during a baby’s first year, we spoke with Wildflower expert, Dr. Anika Sanda, a pediatrician with Prima Medical Foundation and Marin General Hospital. She gave us a rundown on what to expect, as well as answered some of our most frequently asked questions regarding a baby’s development.
What do new parents need to know about baby’s development, generally? Many people equate “development” with “progression,” is this the best way to look at it?
The first two years of your child’s life are the most critical in terms of development. If delays can be recognized early during this time, then early intervention through occupational, physical or behavioral therapy can make a big difference in the long run. There is so much variability in how and when each child develops certain milestones. It is best to have your pediatrician examine your child frequently through check-ups during this period.
Development is broken down into five categories: gross motor, fine motor, speech and language, social skills, and cognition. Development is generally linear. You have to learn to sit before you can stand and then walk. However, sometimes, in language, development can go back and forth. Kids will say new words but will then stop saying them and then start using them again later.
It’s important to note that, if your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), you need to look at the milestone guidelines a little differently. The age at which your baby is expected to reach her milestones is based on her due date, not her birthday. So if your baby was born one month early, she will most likely achieve milestones one month later than the guidelines might predict. At some point, most children catch up to their birthdate-ages, but it takes time.
Many parents feel worried if baby doesn’t hit milestones right at the recommended mark. Is this a good reason for concern?
I really trust and listen to the parents when they feel their child is not meeting certain milestones on time. There are actually standardized checklists for development screenings meant to be filled out by parents. A parent’s assessment can be the initial step in identifying a certain developmental delay. The pediatrician can then do further medical and developmental evaluations as needed.
In addition to the standardized checklists for development screenings, parents can use digital tools to arm them with more information. Specifically, the Family Health app’s health view details milestones based on your child’s birth date, with educational articles and tips to learn more for ages 0-2. As always, check with your doctor if you have additional questions.
If there is flexibility within milestones, when should parents actually worry?
I would advise the parents to first address their concerns to their pediatrician or someone trained in behavior and development. There can be so many reasons that a milestone is not being met.
What should a parent do if they are noticing significant delays in development?
They should address their concerns with their pediatrician first. The pediatrician can then help them navigate the referrals to specialists and various therapists. If a developmental delay is picked up before the age of three years old, then most services can be provided the Early Intervention program in your state. Your pediatrician can again advise on your local resources. After three years old, services can be provided through your health insurance and your school district.
What are the most important milestones parents need to be aware of within the first two years of their baby’s life?
Major motor milestones are: rolling over, sitting, standing, walking, running and then climbing. Fine motor skills to look out for are: bringing hands to midline, grabbing for objects, using a pincer grasp, and using utensils. Social and cognitive milestones include: the social smile, playing peek a boo, making eye contact, pointing, and stacking blocks. Language milestones are: cooing, babbling, first words, and putting words together. Of course, there are several other ones detailed in the list above.
How important are digital health tools, like Family Health by Wildflower, to provide support, education and health connections for new parents?
Knowledge about child behavior and development allow parents to better address their concerns with their pediatrician during well-child visits. Digital tools like Family Health by Wildflower provide that information, along with the connection to local resources like your hospital or pediatrician. Tools within the app can help you prepare for pediatrician well-child visits, like the Q-list, designed specifically to save questions you have for your doctor visits.
What features and tools in Family Health by Wildflower would you, as a pediatrician, recommend to parents?
Within the Family Health by Wildflower mobile app, I like the developmental milestone interactive feature and immunization information resources. Parents can track their child’s milestones alongside the milestone tracker. All of those developmental milestones align with the child’s age and, with one click, you can read clinically-approved articles to accompany those milestone topics.
For the immunization information, it’s important for parents to have their child’s immunizations records most easily accessible to them for better care in general. The Family Health app’s Vaccination Tracker pulls in the CDC recommended vaccines for your child. So instead of relying on the paper record, you can simply check the box next to the immunization needed for their age and select the date the immunization was given.
This post was in partnership with Wildflower Health, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.