It’s funny to me that a month designed to give children huge sacks of candy that can rot their teeth and make them fat, is also National healthy Babies month. Go figure. But in fact, it is, however, I say rather than observe one measly month out of the year as a month for making people aware that they should have healthy babies or help other babies be healthy, this is something that should go on year round. Don’t you think?
One organization that works non-stop, year round, towards the goal of babies and children’s health, is The March of Dimes. If you would like to donate to The March of Dimes and contribute to babies and children’s health, I’m more than certain they would love to hear from you.
The simple fact is that a healthy baby becomes a healthy child, and a healthy child is better able to do well in school and better able to become a healthy adolescent and continue to function well and learn well to become a healthy and productive adult. A child with a healthy start will just lead an all around better life than a child with health issues.
Some health issues may go unnoticed, if you aren’t aware of what to look for. Here are some milestones to look for with your baby that if you don’t recognize in your child could be indicative of a problem and so would warrant concern.
At age birth-3 months your child should be able to stretch and kick their legs and raise their head and chest off the surface when lying flat on their stomach. They should be able to smile (no, it’s not always gas) and recognize objects and people (teddy bear and Gramma) and should be able to follow objects with their eyes.
Baby should be able to grasp objects and open and close hands and bring objects to its mouth, (and they will try to stick everything in their mouth too). Baby will imitate your expressions and become more responsive and play. Baby will develop better sense of feel and prefer soft objects to rough and will usually begin to prefer a preference for sweet smells as its sense of smell develops.
Then at ages 4-7 months the baby should be able to sit up on its own, and should be able to roll either way when lying down. Baby should be able to push up with their arms and support themselves and should be able to reach out and grasp objects and pass objects from one hand to the other. Baby will find more interest in the mirror and enjoys social interaction and should have a happy disposition. Baby will begin to develop cognitive thinking by being able to locate partially hidden objects and will struggle to obtain out of reach objects (and may become irritated if it can”t).
At 8-12 months baby should be able to get into a sitting position on its own and into a crawling position and perhaps even crawl. Baby should be able to pull itself up to a standing position and even walk from by holding onto objects. This is definitely time for the walker to help develop the leg muscles.
Baby begins to develop social skills at this level and may begin to be shy around strangers, (not all babies are shy, some are quite outgoing). Baby will recognize when parents leave room and may cry (although not all babies will cry, these are also the socially outgoing ones usually). Also at this stage baby will begin to use objects correctly, explore objects differently and begin to match images to names when spoken to them.
Proper prenatal nutrition, refraining from smoking, drugs and drinking alcohol, and seeing the pediatrician regularly when pregnant will give a much greater chance of a healthy infant, but nothing is guaranteed. Hereditary health issues cannot be prevented but identifying a problem early gives baby a better chance at overcoming it.