Milestones: Birth to 6-Months-Old | Baby Milestones Series

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Milestones: Birth to 6-Months-Old

Parenting has been one of the wildest adventures you’ve been on so far! Late nights, early mornings, it’s all starting to run together. What day of the week is it again? But you wouldn’t trade it for anything! Now your baby’s growing and you’re wondering what milestones you should be watching for. We’ve compiled a list from trusted sources for you!

Want a printable?

We can do that too! Follow our blog because at the end of this baby milestones series we will add a free printable so you can check off the list, have a list to carry to the pediatrician’s office, and something for the baby book if that’s your thing!

0-3 Month Milestones and  Normal Infant Behaviors

In the beginning, your baby will do a lot of pooping, peeing, eating, more eating, sleeping, some crying, and more eating! That’s pretty normal behavior for a newborn. A little stretch here and a few aha moments there, but for the most part, mom and baby are still functioning as one unit! Here are milestones you should expect to see by the end of the third month of your baby’s life.

  • will focus on black-and-white or high-contrast patterns
  • focuses about 8 to 12 inches away
  • begins cooing and smiling
  • moves arms and legs to show excitement
  • recognizes some sounds (hearing is fully matured  by this time)
  • turns head towards a sound or voice
  • the scent of his/her mother’s breastmilk is recognizable
  • prefers to look at human faces
  • while lying on tummy can move head side to side
  • open and closes fists
  • will make eye contact
  • brings hands to mouth
  • reaches for things
  • beginning baby babble
  • follows the movement of things back and forth with their eyes
  • can lift and hold head up when lying on his/her tummy
  • can push up briefly while lying on tummy
  • will swipe at an object dangling in front of them while on their tummy
  • settles down or smiles in response to sounds or voices
  • calms with rocking, holding, touching, and soft sounds
  • uses different cry for different things like (hunger, pain, tired)
  • may turn toward familiar sounds and voices
  • opens and closes hands
  • uses a hand to swat (likely doesn’t have control yet)

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4-6 Month Milestones and  Normal Infant Behaviors

My oh my how your baby has grown! They’ve reached almost all of the newborn milestones, or the majority of them and are on to bigger much cooler things now! Developing new skills and mastering milestones takes a lot of work for an infant. At bigger milestones like rolling, sitting up, crawling, and walking you may seem some regression in sleep. This is normal and once your grasshopper has mastered the art they will likely find their new groove! Here are some milestones your baby should reach around the end of their sixth month of life!

  • rolls from tummy to back and back to tummy
  • is using both hands to check out or touch toys
  • rocks back and forth on knees
  • maybe begin crawling, backward crawling, and army crawling
  • uses hand and eye coordination to grab a toys
  • grasps and shakes hand toys like rattles
  • puts toys or objects into their mouths using both hands
  • can pass things from one hand to the other hand
  • likes to play with people and may cry if you stop
  • accepts entire weight with his/her legs while standing with support
  • will reach for a toy while on their tummy
  • begins to use consonant sounds like “ma ma ma and da da da”
  • begins to copy sounds
  • will take turns making sounds with you
  • makes noise with their mouth for attention (like baby babble)
  • lies on back and reaches for their feet
  • begins taking a real interest in getting to things outside of their reach
  • can transfer a toy from one hand to the other while on his/her back
  • Generally happy when not hungry or tired
  • begins showing interest in food as you eat
  • recognizes faces and things from a distance
  • begins to recognize familiar from unfamiliar faces
  • holds head up steady and unsupported

If you begin solids:

  • will open mouth or focus as they see a spoon approach their mouth
  • can begin to move the food from front to back of the mouth

When to Bring Things to Your Pediatrician’s Attention

Your baby is growing and learning things quickly. If you miss some of these milestones or arent’really sure they’ve done all of these things that’s okay! More than likely your baby will hit most of these milestones. But, if at any time you think something may be abnormal, even if you can’t explain it, but have a feeling you should absolutely contact your pediatrician. If your pediatrician is unable to answer your questions fully and address your concerns respectfully in a satisfactory way please seek a second or even third opinion.

You are your child’s advocate.

There is no right or wrong way to birth or parent your babies and there’s no one more invested in them than you! Sometimes things are easily overlooked in a 20-minute pediatrician visit. It’s ALWAYS better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your children.

Follow us on the book of faces or check back bi-weekly for our next blog in the Milestones Series!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke


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Is My Baby Normal?

Is my baby normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL

Is My Baby Normal

Babies do all sorts of seemingly oddish things. Things that’ll leave you wondering, is my baby normal? Sometimes their movements and reflexes can look scary to those who haven’t been around newborns or who aren’t well-versed in their behaviors. We noticed that when we work with new parents, we almost always get asked, “my baby does ________, is my baby normal?”

Common baby behavior includes evolutionarily-base reflexes. These can seem frightening and sometimes funny too (shhhh). We delve into each of these ahead and explain why your baby isn’t an actual alien life form.

Rooting is a reflex that helps your baby, well, root.

What does that mean? It means that this adaptation allows your baby to seek out and find a nipple. They’ll turn their heads side to side, lifting their necks, with their eyes closed.  It’s actually an early indicator of hunger, shortly before they cry and scream emerge.  When they root, they’ll sniff you if you are holding them! If they are by themselves or in a bassinet, you might notice that they put their whole fist in their mouths!

Tonic Neck reflex is a much more subtle reflex.

Fencing or Tonic Neck reflex is when your little one looks like he/she is the “On guard” position when they lie on their back. Some may describe the baby as looking like a little fencer! It serves as an important clue to their neurological development.  For instance, if your baby is never or always in this position, or continues this reflex past six months, it’s important to mention it to the pediatrician.

Is My Baby Normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL

The Startle or Moro reflex is simultaneously intriguing and funny.

When you make a loud noise or sudden movement, like unswaddling, your baby will throw his/her hands upwards and their body will jolt. Sometimes, though, it seems to happen when the house is as quiet as a library. This particular reflex is another leftover evolutionary adaptation as it helped our prehistoric ancestors respond to danger.  Notice how their hands grasp while they move their arms upwards?  Since we are primates, this ensured that the baby would hold very tightly to the mother as she escaped danger.  Speaking of grasping…

The Grasp or Palmer reflex works in conjunction with the Moro, but is important on its own.

If you put your finger on the palm of your baby’s hand, he/she will instinctively close their hand around yours. This is one of the cutest, most enjoyable reflexes a parent, family member, or caregiver can expereince. This serves to keep them safe as discussed above, but it also is the beginning of fine motor development.

is my baby normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL
Grasp of Palmer reflex

The Plantar or Babinski reflex refers are associated with the feet of the newborn.

Just as the Palmer reflex is a reaction of the fingers curling to grab, the Plantar, or Babinski reflex is the foot’s way of responding to stimuli and helps the body to begin developing gross motor skills. Stroke your finger along the sole of their feet, right under the toes and you’ll see some extreme monkey ability!

Sometimes, parents will notice that their baby’s eyes are rolling into the back of their head!

This is really common and completely normal. As babies come out of or are going into a deep sleep, their state of consciousness is shifting and thus, their eyes will roll under their eyelids. Sometimes, their eyelids open a little and you see all the eye movement. (Generally speaking, there is no need to worry, but like anything, if you’re concerned call a medical provider.)

While we’re on the subject of beautiful baby eyes I want to also mention that if your baby’s may appear crossed from time to time. That can be normal too. It usually always straightens out by the baby’s first birthday. Talk with your pediatrician if you are concerned, but at each well-check they will examine your baby’s eyes to make sure they are developing correctly!

Periodic Breathing

Have you ever noticed that your baby, particularly when asleep, will start breathing short, little breaths like gasps and they’ll whimper? Well, this is another scary newborn event, which is also completely normal! Babies have immature respiratory systems and this is their body’s way of strengthening and regulating oxygen intake (similar to yawning releasing carbon dioxide).  They may whimper and make sounds during this bout of Periodic Breathing, but baby should not however, appear to be struggling to breathe or stop breathing altogether.

You’ll find yourself time and time again wondering, is my baby normal? As you grow as a parent, you’ll begin to wonder, “what is normal anyway?” Then, you’ll begin to differentiate between normal and abnormal behavior. It’s always good to know that some of the strangest baby happenings are absolutely normal.  And if you are still anxious, well, your pediatrician is only a phone call away!