Your baby's development, stage by stage
Bringing your new baby home is a special event. And over the next 6 months, you'll have many more milestones in your baby's development to treasure. From that first smile to that first spoonful, this article tells you what you can expect and what to look forward to.
Now that you can change nappies with your eyes closed and have mastered the first stage of weaning, discover what's coming up over the next few months in your baby's development. From exploring the world on all fours and making those first words, to taking on life as a toddler.
Your first breastfeed with your newborn happens as soon as is possible after birth. This precious time is an opportunity to bond with your new baby and gives them ‘colostrum’.
Immediately after your baby is born, your body will already have milk ready for him to start breastfeeding. This first milk is called ‘colostrum’ and will available for 2 days after birth.
WHO strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, other foods should complement. Breastfeeding is recommended for up to 2 years.
Breast milk can help your baby become a lifelong healthy eater Your breast milk is uniquely tailored to your baby and, incredibly, the food you eat while breastfeeding can influence their taste preferences throughout weaning and beyond.
Although it’s considered the most natural thing in the world, breastfeeding can take a little time to perfect – that’s why we created our breastfeeding guide, with advice on successful feeding. For example, propping yourself up with cushions can help you feel more comfortable, while knowing how to help your baby latch on properly can make things easier for you both.
Breast milk is incredible, multifaceted, and fascinating. It’s been inspiring our research for 40 years. And as we’re able to discover more and more about its composition, more unexpected and amazing properties are being revealed.
Your breast milk is totally unique to you. Its composition is determined by a mixture of factors, including your diet, hormones, genetics and environmental influences. Amazingly, it also changes with your baby’s individual needs.
Diet & Nutrition
When it comes to making feeding decisions, try to talk all the options through as a couple, and be supportive of your partner’s wishes – even if these change after birth.
Breastmilk plays an important role in supporting the development of your baby’s immune system, helping defend them against germs and viruses.
After 6 months old, if you’d like to make your own baby food from scratch, we’ll show you how to give your baby all the nutrients they need.
Learn about the signs to look for, which foods are most likely to trigger a reaction, how and when to introduce allergenic foods safely.
For a new mum it can be worrying when your baby doesn’t seem to be feeding as well as you’d expect, or they cry for long periods of time due to colic.
Bonding & Wellbeing
After the intensity of labour, meeting your newborn baby for the first time is an overwhelming experience. You’ll be relieved, proud, amazed and sore in equal measure. Thanks to a rush of oxytocin, you’ll also be head-over-heels in love.
As a new mother, holding your baby close for the first time can be an amazing experience, as you savour the feeling of the new life lying on your tummy.
When it comes to introducing a sleep routine for your baby, it’s important to be realistic in your expectations. When they’re very young, they’ll simply sleep, wake and feed when their instincts tell them to. But after a few weeks, it’s possible to start introducing simple concepts like night and day, which can help when it comes to developing a routine later on.
Sleep plays an incredible part in your child’s development. Learn about the impact of environmental factors on your baby’s sleep, and how you can encourage positive sleeping habits early on with the help of our baby sleep expert Chireal Shallow.
Between 6 to 12 months your baby may start to express discomfort or display emotions such as anger and fear. During this time, they will look to you for security especially in times of uncertainty. That’s why it is critical during this period to establish a strong bond with your little one and build a safe, secure and positive environment so that he can grow healthily.
Health & Development
A baby in the first 6 months of life is completely dependent on parental care. Not only for their physical needs but also for emotional regulation and protection against stress.
Different children grow at different rates. Some children grow faster than others and what is considered ‘normal’ includes a wide spectrum.
The human brain is the control centre of the body. During the first two years, your baby’s brain grows extremely fast and brain mass is tripled1. It is during the period from the first to the sixth months of life that brain development is the most important in your baby’s life2. Your baby is learning new things every day. Nutrition is essential to support brain development.
The impact that a parent’s love and attention has on a baby’s development is researched and undeniable. We now know that it is impossible to “spoil” a new born baby and that the more we respond to their cries in those early developmental months, the less needy and more resilient they will grow to be.