Child Development: Infants

Blink—and They've Arrived!

Congratulations! It's love at first sight. Your baby has finally entered the world. Now what do you do with this fragile little bundle? What can this infant do besides eat, sleep and cry? Believe it or not, from day one babies are on the road to learning. They are learning to tell you what they need through different cries. Responding to your babie's needs helps them know they are cared for and not alone in the world.


Birth-3 months

Watch to see if your baby is discovering his own body. Is she gripping your finger? Does he suck his hands or reach for his feet? Becoming aware of her own hands and feet, following objects with her eyes and smiling when she hears your voice are all typical at this stage of development.

3-6 months

Help your baby explore. Offer toys with different shapes, textures or sounds. Does he reach for objects and try to mouth them? Does she smile at herself in a mirror? Play peek-a-boo to get your baby to babble and giggle.

Create routines. Try doing the same things (e.g., bathing, feeding and diapering) in order and at the same time of day. Your baby then knows what's coming next. A warm bath, soft lullaby and milk lets them know it's time for bed.

6-9 months

Your baby is starting to repeat sounds like ma-ma and da-da. Repeat what your baby says; the baby will enjoy copying you.

Your baby can sit with help and probably has rolled from frount to back. Crawling may begin, so it's time to child-proof your home: cover electrical outlets; tie up cords hanging from blinds; put safety latches on cabinets.

9-12 months

Your baby may be upset when you attempt to leave. This behavior is normal. Be sure to say "bye-bye" and wave or create your own routine like blowing a kiss. Sneaking out just causes stress on your baby. When you leave, the person caring for your baby can offer comfort with a blanket or stuffed animal and words of support.

Now is the time when most babies have mastered crawling, have started to pull up on furniture or walk independently. Put gates on stairs and cover or remove items that have sharp edges.

Tune in to how your baby communicates with you! Babies will point to objects and people and even name them. Nursery rhymes with hand motions encourages this early learning.

Infant Health and Safety

3–6 Months: Your baby is starting to wiggle more and may roll over. Do not leave a baby alone on a couch or bed. This is a great time for placing babies on their tummy to build muscle strength and help with head control.

Ask your pediatrician if it's time to start with simple solids like cereal. Remember, no honey for your honey the first year: it could cause a form of food poisoning.

9–12 Months: Riding in the car. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years of age or, preferably, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer."

 Parenting Challenges


Play & Learn Activities Calendar

Help children learn through play by using one of the following age-specific monthly calendars that feature daily activities. Download the calendars:

March 2019: