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child development

Updated on March 9, 2009

Newborn: Baby Development Stages

Even prior to birth, Development Stages start. They're often easy to see using techniques like ultrasound. First, a gel is spread on the skin then Ultrasound is performed with a small, handheld device called a transducer to CONFIRM (not change) the due date that is determined based on your last menstrual period. The accuracy of ultrasounds varies depending on when it is done. Ultrasound is a painless method to show a fetus in the uterus. The test uses sound waves and a form of sonar detection system to generate a black-and-white moving picture on a TV monitor.

But after birth, some Development milestones may be harder to spot, during the first year of your baby's important rapid growth period.

These Developments include a whole range of changes involving:

Motor skills: Motor skills are purposeful and organized movements requiring both muscle development and maturation of the central nervous system. In addition, the infant's skeletal system must be strong enough to support the movement and weight involved in any new action. Motor skills are actions that involve the movement of muscles in the body.

They are separated into two groups:

Gross motor skills, which are the larger movements of arms, legs, feet, or the whole body (crawling, running, and jumping); and fine motor skills , which are lesser actions, such as holding an object between the thumb and a finger or using the lips and tongue to taste things.

Visual system: A child with visual sensory processing problems may have fit of rage or become fearful by what is normally harmless as they perceive the situation as frightening.

Cognitive development: Cognitive development is the expansion in a child ability to think about and interact with their environment. Your young child initially learns about the world through active, physical investigation and then gradually develops the ability to think logically and symbolically about their experiences. So in a nut shell, cognitive development is described as thinking, problem solving, idea understanding, information processing and overall intellect.

The First Month

You can expect during the first month a baby that is developing well to exhibit strong reflex movements and a general curiosity which is expressed many times orally.

They'll frequently bring their hands to their mouth, exploring all manner of tactile sensations. They learn by moving as well as by listening so play games with them; that encourage movement. Touch your baby's finger to your nose and then to his nose for instance.

They'll frequently turn their head from side to side, displaying the beginnings of mastery of muscle control and visual sharpness.

Children of working-class parents heard 1,200 words and those with parents on welfare heard only 600 words an hour. Professional parents talked three times as much to their infants.

Your infant can focus about 8-12 inches away, at this development stage, approximately the distance from mother's nose to her nipple. They're taking in the scene, so their eyes will wander, but they're not random. Bright light should cause your baby to blink. High contrast patterns are good-looking (Wall paper, Toys) but none more than that of the human face.

They can turn their head in reaction to familiar voices, or even sounds (especially loud ones).

The First Trimester

Pregnancy has a first trimester which is from conception through the first 12 weeks, but so does the period after birth.

During the period after birth; the first trimester; the newborn is growing and developing intensely. Changes seem to come almost daily.

Motor skills are strengthening and sharpening now. Your child can raise his or her head and even the chest a little when lying on their stomach. As they gain control over finger and arm muscles opening and closing the hands is ordinary. Pushing down with the feet to support the legs is one of the first signs that can be seen.

At this stage in your infant life their visual acuity is getting better and better. They can look at a face with attentiveness and follow moving objects deliberately by the end of three months. They now have the ability to clearly recognize individuals and things; like their bottle. Eye and hand coordination is very evident.

Their social skills are awakening about now. Local eye movement, smiling, enjoyment in the company of others or turning their head towards the direction of sounds. Behavior imitation of others start to show itself, example hand clapping.

In the course of the Second Trimester

Unborn second trimester is 13 through 28 weeks, but by the end of your infant's 6-7 months, those early investigative interest are ramping up. Your baby can sit without using their hands. Perhaps with a little help from a nearby chair or table, your child may be able to support her entire weight on their legs. During this growth stage they have acquired the ability to control their balance and muscles in their legs that you'll have to keep and eye on them constantly, because their into everything.

Full color eyesight is now possible.

Being able to make out routine objects at a distance develops to the point of recognizing familiar people and things across the room. Your child can track them as they move. Babies use their sight to make their motor functions stronger, build their picture perception, establish parent-child bonding, and gain and maintain their balance.

Babies cognitive skills

Babies' cognitive skills are working, and working extremely well, long before they can talk. They recognize a great deal, and they have decided preferences as well. Your baby may obviously respond to their name when it's called. Your child will learn words by imitating the sounds they hear from their environment that will later become words. Those sounds start to connect together into what will, before you know it, be quick sentences.

But don't forget that before all this can happen, crying lays the groundwork for speech as your baby learns to control their vocal cords, and air that comes from their lungs.

Year One

From chair to table, your baby can now make short trips across the room. Those stumbles and babbles have become walking and talking by the end of the first year. Your child can say a few easy words, including that all significant 'Momma' and 'Dada'.

Cognitive skills start to develop into joyful human interaction through touching, talking, smiling and feeling, and value selections start to emerge as your child start to display a preference for certain people and/or toys. Then memorizing, learning, socializing and motor skills all walk forward together.

One of the first words most parents will agree; that their baby learn is "No".


Each child is an individual, and learn at their own pace. While he or she shares many similarities with babies of the same age, each one develops at a unique rate and in an individual way according to their interests, knowledge and abilities. Stages are approximate guidelines.

Normal is often described by what's statistically average. Most people fall in the center; the average, while others fall to one extreme or the other.

Be careful of assumptions about what is 'normal', many of our great minds were considered abnormal.


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    • Party Girl profile image

      Party Girl 9 years ago

      This is just a great hub, I found it so interesting.

    • profile image

      Pat Graham-Block 9 years ago

      Great information about how the human body (and actually more then jus the physical body) is formed! Thanks for this great information!