Baby Development: 0-3 Months
Babies develop a lot in the first three months. It is important as a parent to know what to expect. In an interview with the Health Channel, Leah Vega, a Physical Therapist with Center for Women, and Infants at South Miami Hospital describes the changes a baby goes through in its first few stages of life.
A baby’s body is capable of being in only a few positions, but these positions evolve over the course of the first few months of the baby’s life. Leah defines these positions as supine, prone, and quadruped. Supine is when a baby is lying on their back with their face up, prone is when they’re lying on their stomach with their face down, and quadruped is when they are on their hands and knees. There are also different sitting positions a baby will go through such as ring sitting and tailor sitting, until they eventually are standing, supported or unsupported.
Another thing parents will begin to see in the first three months is the baby opening and closing its hands. Babies are born with their hands in fists. Slowly you will see your baby begin to open his/her hands. Sometimes one hand will open first while the other one is still developing. Leah says that parents should keep an eye on this because babies should be developing symmetrically. “There shouldn’t be a hand preference until around two or three years of age when they start with the coloring and the writing skills. So, everything should be very symmetrical,” Leah explains. Leah suggests helping your baby develop by opening his/her hands and having her/him try to grab things that he/she would be able to hold. Parents can also give the hands little massages, hold the fingers, and move the arms and legs.
At about two months you want to see the baby moving its arms and legs on its own. The baby will also start bringing his/her hands to the mouth within the first three months. “Exploration is huge at this age, especially with the mouth. You’ll see babies all the time putting toys in their mouths and parents are like ‘they put everything in their mouth!’ I tell them to let the baby do that because now he/she is exploring,” Leah says. Eventually, when the baby starts teething, that behavior is going to occur even more. Leah warns that you do not want your baby to have that open, flat posture where he/she is not moving. You want to see your baby moving and exploring its body which will help strengthen the stomach and shoulders.
At two months, a baby will also start lifting its head and kicking its feet when placed on its stomach. The baby will also start trying to lift its body with their hands. Eventually this will lead to crawling and arm crawling, which are crucial skills for a child’s development.
To watch the full segment of Leah Vega describing early physical development for babies, visit the Health Channel’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/c/AllHealthGo