What are the typical developmental patterns for the first eight months of a baby's life?
Month one of a baby’s life is preoccupied with survival, in effect, the needs for food and sleep. As that first month progresses, he will be increasingly interested in communicating and interacting. Entering the second month, emotions other than crying will begin to appear, including smiling at those he recognizes as providers of comfort. He is also developing motor skills by discovering the use of his hands and fingers. He is definitely by this stage interested in discovering the world outside the womb. Personality is taking shape. Physical strength is increasing, evident in a growing ability to control head movements. He is developing an interest in play.
At three months, there is increasing awareness of his surroundings and physical strength, increasing movements of the head and limbs, usually accompanied by visible efforts at independent movement. There is better control of hands, which are used more in attempts at play and self-feeding. His digestive system is developing to the point where increased intake of formula or milk becomes the norm. Sleep patterns sometimes begin to change during this phase of the baby’s life, with longer periods of sleep during the night, and the baby becomes more aware of his senses.
By month four, he is increasingly alert and anxious to interact with his surroundings, and is more expressive of happiness. His weight should have, by now, reached twice what it was at birth, and his motor skills will have continued to develop to the point of using both hands interchangeably. The desire to taste items increases and he will be able to control his upper body better, including his head. He will sit upright if enabled and may have begun to roll over on his own.
Finally, the four-month-old baby is beginning to develop more normal eyesight, including color recognition and distance.
At five-months, he is making greater efforts at speech, and may begin to make efforts at propelling his body across the floor. Upper body strength continues to develop, and he should be capable of rolling over. Routine becomes important. Eyesight continues to improve, as does ability to distinguish colors. Speech will show more noticeable improvement and he will begin to understand sounds.
At six months, a baby’s rate of growth will slow relative to the first five months. He can now sit upright by himself, and should be propelling himself across the floor. Diet will now begin its biggest transition, with solid food introduced. Personality will continue its development, as will physical characteristics like eye color and speech. Most noticeably will be the increased recognition of family.
Month seven will reflect noticeable changes in the baby’s independence with more visible signs of personality. Mobility will have continued to improve, and he may begin to pull himself to a standing position while holding on to furniture. Teeth will begin to appear, which is accompanied by irritability, and diet continues its evolution toward greater emphasis on solids.
At eight months, he could be crawling. Motor skill development involves advancements, with toys becoming more important in terms of his ability to understand their purpose. The baby should now be familiar and comfortable with his surroundings and routines. He is beginning to formulate the most basic of words. Mobility continues to develop and he should be more actively pulling himself up and remain standing while supported by furniture.