Pregnancy and Beyond

All babies learn and grow at different rates. Your baby will not be the same as your neighbor's baby or your sister's baby at the same age. However, babies grow in a predictable order. This means that most babies can do similar things by a given age.

If your baby was born prematurely, she will act like a younger baby. For example, a baby born 6 weeks early may act more like a 4 ½ month old when she is really 6 months of age.

General Development

Your baby will probably have doubled her birth weight by the time she is about 6 months of age. Her head size, weight, and length will all be increasing at about the same rate. She will be awake more now and interested in the things that are going on around her. Sometime during this period the first teeth begin to come in.

Development of Large Muscles

There will be many new things your baby will learn to do during this time. Place your baby on her tummy for supervised periods of play. When placed on her tummy she will push with her arms and lift her head so she can look around. Your baby will learn to roll over, usually from stomach to back first, and then from back to stomach. Sitting is another thing she will learn. At first she will need your help; then she will learn to help herself by leaning forward on her hands and arms. Practice helps her learn to maintain her balance.

Development of Small Muscles

Your baby will look at and play with her hands. This is the beginning of hand-eye coordination. Your baby will learn that her hands are part of her, distinct from other objects. She might grasp an object to look at, pass it from hand to hand or further examine with her mouth.

At this stage your baby will enjoy batting at hanging toys or objects. Reaching and touching will help your baby to judge distance and develop coordination.

Development of Social Skills

Your baby is developing her own unique personality. Some babies assume everyone is their friend. Others need a little time to warm up to new people. This is a good time to begin reading and singing to your baby. Play with her-both of you will have fun! She will enjoy Peek-A-Boo and Pat-A-Cake, and the interaction will be good for her.

For more information on child development, you may contact Parents as Teachers by calling your local school district office or by visiting the National Parents as Teachers website. Another resource for information on parenting and child development is ParentLink at 1-800-552-8522, or visit the ParentLink website.