- 1 Development of the newborn: everyone has their own times
- 2 Development of the newborn: motor skills and posture
- 3 Development of the newborn: the fine movements
- 4 Development of the newborn: hearing and speech
- 5 Development of the newborn: sight
- 6 Development of the newborn: relationships and play
They grow non-stop for 9 months in the mother's womb. From tiny creatures of a few millimeters they are transformed, day after day, into wonderful children. And once they come to light, they continue this path under our entranced eyes. The development of the newborn is something truly fascinating and, especially for those in the first experience, noticing the changes that occur every day is a constant surprise. Let's see what happens in the first 6 months.
Development of the newborn: everyone has their own times
A premise is very important. It is true that there are precise stages in the development of the newborn that serve to understand if the little one is growing well or if there are slowdowns. However, it is also true that we must never forget that times can be different from child to child.
The thing that should never be done is comparisons. Just to give an example, we don't have to worry if our 9-month-old son doesn't crawl and our grandson rides like a rocket. There are children who completely skip the crawl phase and start walking directly. So it's always something very subjective.
The skills that we are going to list now, divided by categories and age, are therefore general lines that could undergo variations depending on the specific characteristics of each child. In any case, the pediatrician is the best person to turn to for feedback: he knows our children very well.
Development of the newborn: motor skills and posture
It tends to stay in the fetal position. If he is placed on his stomach, he keeps his legs tucked under his belly, his arms close to his chest and his pelvis raised. On his stomach, if you pull him from his arms to make him sit up, he drops his head back. Held under his armpits, with his feet on a plane, he straightens up and moves his legs as if he were marching.
It stays less in the fetal position. He begins to hold his head for a few moments and, if he's on his stomach, tries to lift his feet backwards. Face up, he extends his arm and leg to the side he turns his face to. If he is pulled to sit up, he first drops his head back, then straightens it for a few moments, and finally drops it forward. When placed upright, it appears to take small steps.
Control your neck muscles, supporting your head longer. On his stomach, he supports himself on his arms so as to raise his head to look around. When pulled by the arms to sit up, he stands straight and does not let his head dangle.
Both supine and prone, he should now exercise perfect head control. If he is lying on his stomach, raise his arms, legs and head. Held under the armpits, it stands straight on the legs. At about 6 months, usually, he is already sitting alone, placing his hands between his spread legs. However, it is not completely stable, so it is advisable to stay close to it or surround it with cushions in case it suddenly "collapses" to the side. He holds out his arms to the person he wants to be picked up by.
Development of the newborn: the fine movements
If you stroke his cheek or touch him on the corner of his mouth, he turns to that side and instinctively opens his mouth to suck. He almost always keeps his little hands closed into a fist and if you put a finger in the palm of your hand he grabs it and holds it tight.
Fists tend to open. It is not yet able to hold an object, even a small one.
He opens and closes his hands. He plays with his little hands and feet: he has just discovered them, he tends to bring them to his mouth. She can't reach objects, but she manages to hold them for a few seconds before dropping them.
He grabs small objects with his whole hand and passes them from one to the other, almost always without dropping them. At 6 months she is able to hold any object in her hands, such as a bottle or a biscuit.
Development of the newborn: hearing and language
In case of a loud noise, he suddenly opens his arms and legs wide, starting to cry. He calms down by listening to rhythmic sounds (they remind him of his mother's heartbeat in his belly) or low, whispered voices.
He recognizes his mother's voice. He responds with her typical verses and expects her to do it in turn. If you talk to him in a lively and excited way, moving your mouth a lot and with an expressive look, he demonstrates his enthusiasm for him with excited movements. When he is satisfied, he makes small guttural sounds.
It calms down with the voice of the mother, with the sounds coming from a toy or with music. If the auditory stimulus comes from a point outside his field of vision, he turns to look for its origin. She practices her voice, repeats the vowels in a prolonged way (aah, ooh, eeh), perhaps while she observes something carefully, makes cheerful verses to express her joy.
Now he distinguishes the sounds well and turns in the direction of their origin, even if it is the voice of someone calling him from a distance. He always experiments with different and more complex verses, perhaps while playing alone. Sometimes he begins to tie vowels to consonants (“pa-pa-pa, ma-ma-ma, nghe-nghe). It is babbling, that process that will gradually refine until it becomes a real language. The child also begins to understand the meaning of what he is being told. He loves jokes and, at this age, laughs often.
Development of the newborn: sight
If the light is strong, he closes and squints, he is annoyed by it. In the dark, the pupils dilate. He sees a little blurry and at a distance that does not go beyond 30 centimeters. He probably only sees in black and white.
He turns to a light source, looks around him and follows a moving object with his gaze. He is attracted to faces and stares for a long time at the face of his mother or whoever is next to him.
Follows moving objects at close range for a while. However, if they are too close, the eyes tend to converge towards the center, as if he were squinting. He still doesn't know how to coordinate the movements of his hands with his eyes.
Locate and track a moving object up to 3 meters away with your eyes. If he is closer (15-30 centimeters), he reaches out his hands to try to grab it. Now coordinate sight and movements.
Development of the newborn: relationships and play
He is in dire need of contact with his mother, to smell her, the heartbeat, the noises of his body. That is, she needs to relive the sensations of the baby bump.
The need for physical contact is always very strong and is associated with that of eye contact. That's why he stares into the face of his mother or anyone who approaches smiling.
He recognizes the faces of his parents and of those who spend time with him. He shows happiness in seeing them, with smiles and festive verses. When he is happy (for example because he realizes that he is about to eat), he manifests his joy at him with excitement and guttural sounds.
Love company, not just mom. She distinguishes people's faces and wants to touch them, as if to caress them. This is the time in the baby's development when the little ones begin to play. They hold the first objects in their hands, observe them, shake them to hear their sound and, inevitably, bring them to their mouths to discover their possible taste. So be careful what you give him in his hand.