Richmond Practice - The Developmental Milestones of Your Child’s First Year

The Developmental Milestones of Your Child’s First Year

Published in Families Upon Thames, August 2015

Watching a baby develop is fascinating for most parents, carers and health care professionals, who, with every visit, see babies grow and gain in weight, as well as acquiring new skills.

Important Developmental Milestones

Whilst in the past, babies (apart from constantly wanting to feed) were considered relatively passive, today we know that they are very curious and actively explore their surroundings, right from the start. In doing so, their different areas of development impact each other: improving vision in the first weeks, for example, allows a baby to make better eye contact, to start smiling when seeing familiar faces and to recognise and turn to their parents.

Good hearing is essential to respond to sounds, initially mainly by turning towards the source, but soon also by vocal imitation. This starts as early as 2 to 5 months and finally leads to the first comprehensible words at around 12 months of age.

Each step in a baby’s gross motor development has an enormous impact on their perspective and possibilities: sitting up literally changes the baby’s view of the world, and together with the ability to move around enables a little one to change their position and get close to toys they see.

As fine motor and coordination skills improve, babies can grab objects with their hands and explore them closely by bringing them in front of their eyes (and putting them in their mouths).

The different areas of development are highly interdependent and it is therefore not sufficient to focus on single specific skills e.g. the date when a child started walking or talking. It is also important to consider that every child is unique and will not develop at the exact same pace as any other child.

However, you should consult your doctor or health visitor if your baby:
  • Does not make eye contract
  • Does not react to sound
  • Does not reach and grab objects
Here is a overview of our private developmental checks, modelled on the German child health surveillance programme and undertaken by a consultant paediatrician at Elsbeth's Doctors.



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