Entering parenthood is such an exciting time in your life! From picking out cute outfits, getting endless snuggles, and, of course, having your heart grow for your little miracle, it truly can be a fun and beautiful process. But another exciting thing about becoming a parent is seeing the milestones your child reaches--hearing them babble for the first time, watching them army crawl or bum shuffle, and hearing their very first words; it’s something every parent remembers! But when do all these milestones happen? What if they don’t happen on time? Should you be concerned? Have no fear, I’m here to put you at ease and help you out!
Infants can start rolling as soon as 4 months old! I mean, can you even imagine that little bean of yours rolling around on the floor?! First they master the art of tummy time, whether some enjoy it or completely hate it; tummy practice is first, then they build strength in their tiny little arms and feet, then they will start to sway back and forth, working up their strength, and then to your--and probably baby's--surprise, they will roll over from their stomach to their back and, Ta-da!, they’ve reached that first milestone! They will continue to practice as they have more tummy time, and before you know it they will be rolling over from tummy to back. Then around 6 months of age, they'll be able to roll over from back to tummy!
How can I help my baby roll over?
Tummy time is key. Practice a couple of minutes (or however much your baby wants to) every day. You can start as soon as week 1. I have found that spreading a couple of toys around at “bellies reach” can help create motivation and curiosity for them to reach for those items and result in them rolling over. If you see them start to show signs of rolling over, sway them back and forth gently, letting them create that spark of growth in their minds.
As early as 6 months of age your little one can start to learn how to sit up on his/her own. Once your baby first learns to control their head movement, they may have mastered rolling over from back to front and front to back, creating that strength for them to push up on their own or with your assistance. Sitting up will only last a couple of seconds at first, then it will grow to longer periods of time the stronger your baby gets! Make sure to support them as much as possible in those beginning stages, and create that safe surrounding for them.
How can I help my baby sit up?
With a parent's help, a baby can start sitting up assisted as early as 4 months old. Play a game such as laying them on their backs and have your baby grasp your fingers and gently pull them up. This will help them build up strength in their back, head, and neck. In everyday tasks like going for a walk in their stroller, have them sit supported so they can see the world around them. Point out their surroundings, like a dog or other kids. You can also prop them against you and have your other kids or your partner pass a ball back and forth. Showing them how exciting the world can be with toys or with what’s around them will definitely motivate them to stay upright!
Hello, mobility! Babies can start crawling from 6 to 10 months old. Your little guy or gal is getting strong! You may notice them start to bum shuffle, army crawl, crab scoot, or even do some kind of push up crawl motion, rather than a typical crawl. Every baby's crawl may look a little different! Before they get mobile, you will notice your little one moving more while lying down, moving backwards, going on all fours or planking. These are all signs that crawling is in the near future! This is also the time to start baby proofing.
How can I help my baby crawl?
Tummy time is definitely your key. Starting baby on tummy time early and doing it frequently will not only help them to roll, but help them grow those muscles they will need to learn how to crawl. Place their favorite toy in front of them just slightly out of arm's reach. This will inspire them to use their bodies to reach the object. You can even place yourself near them and they will definitely want to go to someone they love. Create a pillow obstacle course--as they are learning to crawl, this will create a game that they will love and show off their confidence with their abilities. I would even lay some of my daughter's favorite snacks on a blanket in front of her, and boy did she move to get those cheese puffs! Show baby how this can be something exciting to learn, and the adventures they can have.
Your little tike can start walking between 10-14 months old! You will notice your infant (soon transitioning into toddler) pull themselves up on furniture like a chair or a couch. After pulling up to stand, they'll move along items in the house, exploring the room as they do so. You may also notice them take a couple of steps on their own on their road to becoming a full-time walker!
How can I help my baby learn how to walk?
This is such an exciting moment for you both! Have your child walk between you and someone--start off a close distance apart, then gradually make it wider. This will not only create a game for them, but instill confidence in themselves to see how far they can make it and how awesome they are doing. Praise them as they do this. They will love seeing your reaction and will mimic it as well, because they will see and learn that this new milestone can be really fun! Lend a hand as you walk. Even if it's for a short period of time, let them walk alongside you at a park or just around your home. This will help them develop independence so eventually they will be able to walk unassisted. Allow your child to be barefoot indoors, and have them practice on soft smooth surfaces. This will help them build muscle tone in their feet and ankles, allowing them to create balance and that arch they will need for coordination.
How exciting do all these milestones sound? As you can see, these milestones can happen at any time. Having three kids of my own, I have had early milestones reached and have had milestones reached way later than mentioned. You will notice as you grow into motherhood that every child is different. Some will walk at 10 months and others will walk at 14 months. Some will have their first tooth at 5 months and some will get theirs when they are 9 months old. There's no specific deadline for when your child will do their first, just an approximate timeline. But if you are worried that your baby hasn't reached a certain milestone yet, or if you have any questions and need to ease your mind, talk to your pediatrician and they will definitely help. You can also talk to your mom friends or an online community of moms for helpful words and perspectives. Your baby will meet those milestones when they are ready, and they will love seeing your face as they accomplish them. So get the camera ready! You've got this, momma!