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04th May 2017

Baby milestones that matter (and those that really don’t…)


As parents can’t help but be a little bit competitive when it comes to milestonemeasuring. However, how much do they REALLY matter?  

Well, health professionals use developmental milestones to chart your baby’s physical and neurological growth. These are general guidelines, and it’s all about the overall journey (aka not a race to each marker!). 

In short, its not so much about exactly when these milestones happen, only that they do. 

Practice makes perfect 

Your baby’s brain lays down foundations, then builds on them. They discover a movement and then need practice with that new skill until they learn to control it and do it voluntarily. 

For example, when a new baby bats randomly at a toy, she needs to do it again and again until she can touch it by choice. There’s no hurry; letting baby practice is far more important than rushing them onto the ‘next thing’. 

At around four months, babies are usually:

  • Responding to loud sounds. 

  • Smiling at family and other people she meets 

  • Reaching and grasping toys. 

  • Following objects with her eyes. 

  • Supporting her head on her own. 

  • Babbling. 

1. Tummy Time: important in developing the strength to move forward, using their inbuilt reflexes at first. Lots of tummy time allows babies learn to get to the more complex milestone of getting on all fours and creeping. 

2. Creeping/crawling: important for the development of the joints; muscles of the upper body and leg as well as core strength to help baby stay stable when they stand.  

3. Crawling aids development of key brain pathways for vision, hearing, touch, hand-eye coordination, the sense of balance (vestibular), motor planning, spatial awareness and timing, all of which come into play in later learning. 

4. Walking: the point at which your child starts to walk doesn’t matter as much as parents think. It’s actually the motor skills they develop before walking that matter more, as it shows good motor memory and the ability to process new information.  

At around eight months, babies are: 

  • More boisterous 

  • Able to get across the room in any number of creative ways (including sliding along on her bum) 

  • Much more sociable  

  • Clearly responding to new stimuli. 

Your baby’s development should always progress, never regress or plateau, and they need oodles of stimulation 

They learn so much in the first year of life that your baby’s brain will almost double in weight. If you ever have any concerns about your baby’s development, speak to your doctor.

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