Growth & Development in Babies Six Months to One Year of Age
Watching a child grow physically and intellectually is among the greatest rewards of being a parent. At the same time, parents become easily worried about what is "normal" in terms of their child's growth and development. It is important for every parent to be aware that "normal" really refers to a "normal range" when monitoring a child's progress.
Normal rates of development in children vary considerably. Not only do children differ as to when they reach particular milestones, but the same child may develop rapidly in one area and far more slowly in another. It is only when a child falls significantly or persistently outside the normal range that there may be reason for concernand this applies to a relatively small number of children.
In addition, you as a parent know your child best. If some aspect of your child's growth is troubling you, do not hesitate to consult your pediatrician or family practitioner, who also can take your child's individuality into account. The same advice applies to any health problem your child develops. The information in this book is meant to help and reassure. But if home treatment does not prove effective after a reasonable time, or if a particular symptom seems unusual, by all means talk to your doctor about what action to take.
6 to 12 months. At a year old, your child's weight will be about triple her birth weight and she will be about 50 percent taller. Her strength and agility will increase. At six to eight months, her first teeth will appeara process that may be heralded by increased crankiness. If no teeth emerge by about the thirteenth month, a problem may exist that needs medical attention.
Your baby will begin to understand simple commands like "no" and "give me," though it will be several more months before she speaks her first words. She is also naturally curious about her environment and will use her newly developed motor skills to explore. By eight months, many infants can drag themselves along the floor on their elbows, and they may get up on all fours and begin to crawl, often backward at first. A baby's urge to move and explore may seem limitless. Babies this age will tear the pages out of books, open cabinets, pick up objects, move them from hand to hand, and put just about anything into their mouths. It's important that you keep a close eye on your child so that she doesn't swallow anything dangerous or get into trouble. Now is the time to take steps to childproof your home to prevent accidents.
Emotionally, children in this age range make their preferences increasingly well known. They may refuse food or insist on feeding themselves (facilitated by their new ability to grasp with the thumb and forefingera skill that develops at around nine months). Their willfulness may culminate in another, less welcome milestone by the end of the year: the first temper tantrum.
Anxiety around strangers is another normal stage that occurs toward the end of a child's first year. A child who previously babbled and smiled when meeting new adults may, at nine months or so, suddenly become guarded and cautious at the stare or approach of a stranger.
Regular sleep patterns may also become disrupted, as your child wakes during the night and cries because you aren't in the room. If nighttime awakening is a problem, try putting your child to bed while she is drowsy but still awake, and encourage her to go to sleep on her own. This may help ease her anxiety if she awakens in the middle of the night.