Friday, August 27, 2010

Developmental stages - 0 to 7 months

Congratulations to you if you have your new-born infant in your arms and best wishes to those who are expecting in a few months.

Allow me to share some of our experiences.
Having delivered the baby, when we saw our child the first time, we had many concerns about his forehead(which was not visible at all), eyes which were partially closed, shape of the head and many similar ones. But then our parents and the doctor assured that there is no need to worry as you will observe lot of changes in the coming months and surely we did. And as time passed, we were surprised ourselves how our son has been evolving mentally and physically. Now he is 6 months old and thus, thought of sharing these developments in this post.

0 Month

Physical development

Shape of the head:

Our son's head gradually started changing its shape from egg-like to more circular. My mom-in-law had gifted us a pillow with a depression in the middle for the head. This probably helped in changing the shape.

Some traditional ideas:

a) Fill a cloth with Rai or mustard seeds and stitch it in the shape of a pillow. This helps in shaping the head. We did not try it as mustard is very heaty and were unsure of its effects.

b) Wound little firmly, a soft cotton cloth around the head in circular shape. Tried this for a while, but our son seemed irritated by it so did not try after a week.

Exposure to light:

Initial 2 weeks, he was aversed to bright light like the light of a tube so we generally used 0-bulb in his room and used dark curtains in his room to reduce the intensity of sun-light. Gradually, my mom used to take him into the balcony in early morning to help get adjusted to brighter light. It helped him.


He would always sneeze whenever under direct fan or breeze from the window. The first 2 months he used to sneeze pretty frequently. But Our worries were kept at bay by the doctor who said that sneezing is normal in infants as their nostrils are getting stimulated by air and any small particle can cause irritation and lead to sneezing. So not to worry, unless of course, if it is coupled with cough and running nose.


All infants like to be swaddled tightly in soft blankets as that is how they are used to inside the mother's womb. We used to swaddle him pretty nicely but our son always wanted his hands out to spread near his head and sleep, guess most infants do that too.

Sleep patterns

All he used to do was sleep. Guess, if I remember, he used to sleep some 16-18 hours a day. Get up only when passed urine or stools or hungry. Get cleaned up, take feed and sleep again. Luckily, he followed a pattern pretty soon and used to sleep through the night and get up for feeds every 3-4 hours. That way, we got good sleep.

On days when there was a change in temperature, our son, like all infants, found it difficult getting adjusted to the weather change. Those were some miserable nights. All we used to do was take him in our arms, rock him, swaddle him and take him for outdoor walks, at times for car rides and finally he would go to sleep. Car rides had become a regular feature! :)

We have heard that the first one year or till the infant goes through all the seasons once, it is a hard time for the parents or more for the baby who has to learn to adjust to these changing seasons and increase their body immunity to various illnesses.

Checking his sight and  hearing

Well, all these vitals are already tested in the hospital right after birth, yet for our own satisfaction, every once in a while, we would check whether he can hear or see properly. We would clap our hands really hard or make loud sounds from mobile, or speakers etc and observe him move his head in the direction of the sound.

We used to take red handkerchief or some big colored object and keep it in front of his eyes. He would fixate his sight on the object. Gradually move the object from one side to another and observe his reactions. Initial weeks he hardly moved his head sideways, but by third week he started following the objects movements gradually.

Cord stub

Somewhere around the 3rd week, his umbilical cord stub fell off. We did not eve know when it happened. Initially, it looks macaroni like  while as days pass it turns to brown as it dries and falls off on its own. We would dry that area well after his bath and sprinkle little powder which we used to clean it again in the evening so that no infection occurs. That area needed to be dry always.
We were briefed about the cord blood banking, but we decided not to go for it as we were not sure about its preservation techniques. So we are just relying on God that our son is protected! :)


We started his bathing sessions after 11-12 days as by that time he will get little acclimatised to the environment. Till then we used to give him oil massage and sponge bath so that he does not much exposed to the outside air.

Before bathing, we would give him oil massage followed by warm water bath. He used to love it. Somehow he loved water from day one. Good for us.

Since parents and grandparents are too possessive about their child/grandchild and consider their baby to be the cutest, so they indulge in practises like applying kajal as an evil-eye warder. Thus, we also used to put a small tikka or a dot on his forehead. Then my husband and myself read about the harmful effects about lead, which is a major ingredient in kajal. So we decided to gradually get out of the practice.

Guess, after a month or so, we stopped putting that kajal anywhere on our son's body and believe me, he is fine. To my mind, these evil-eye warders just give mental piece that now no one will can harm the child. Elders in our house explain that the reason we put this is because when someone sees the baby, they will first see the black dot and then gradually focus on the baby, so negative energies are warded off. Kind of distraction technique! Well, it is funny though how can anyone harm someone just by seeing. No offence to those who are staunch believers of this but my belief is that good people will never wish ill for someone and bad people are anyway bad so they have no powers to harm us. Guess, world is divided into two sections good and bad people so there we are, totally safe. So, we do not need these distractors.

I will admit though that the fact that we used to put that kajal explains my fears as a mother. But as days passed and I regained my strength and started my meditation. I got control over my possessiveness and get over my fears and that is when decided not to put kajal again on our son. So, you see, although I have preached a lot against this practice, yet I followed as I fell prey to my inner fears for whatever little time it was. 

Anyway, soon he turned one-month old.

One-month old

By the time he had completed his first month, he had started giving us small smiles. He found the ceiling fan the most attractive object and used to keep his sight glued to it for most time of the day. Well, obviously, when he cannot sit and turn all he can do is watch the ceiling!! :)

His forehead was getting visible and head  was getting its circular or to say, normal shape. It was no longer the egg shape.

He had become more magnanimous in giving us smiles when we would make funny sounds! :) Real fun when you see your baby smile at you.

He was sleeping less during the day. Night time sleep was still the same.

The 6-week check-up approached and the doctor checked his breathing, stomach, head circumference and shape, ears, nose, etc and gave a well-baby chit. Then we were briefed about the vaccinations, mandatory as well as the optional ones. The DPT, H1B, IPV were given the same day after the consultation. The optional ones were the Rota virus and pneumococcal vaccine. Rota virus for stomach infection while pneumococcal was for pneumonia which had like 90% chances of immunising the body. Anyway, we decided not to go for the optional ones. Later during my delhi visit, went to see our family homoeo doctor for my piles treatment. He advised us strongly to allow the body immunity to develop naturally and not to over-vaccinate the child. They may have side-effects. So we are strictly sticking to the mandatory ones.

And the scene of vaccination is horrible. The babies literally cry their hearts, lungs and everything out at the time of injection! It is really painful to see them in that pain. But they calm down as quickly as they had started crying. I guess the vaccines induce sleep, as our son slept for like 3-4 hours uninterrupted and took feed and went back to sleep again.

By the time, he was completing 2nd month, he had started turning to his left side. That was his first movement of the body, besides of course, cycling of legs and hand movements. He was still not aware of the presence of his hands and feet thus, would move in random directions. 

Now, he had started taking out some sounds like ooohs and aahs! My dad would keep him on the dining table in the morning and play with him while he is making all these sounds. It was fun.

When we used to keep on his stomach for a little while he would attempt to lift his head. By the time he was completing two months, he was able to lift his head 45 degrees.

His neck was still very delicate so we used to lift him by giving support to his head and and back. It was scary at times, his head would jerk back if the hand is removed even for a while.

Two months old

Wow! already two months over. Believe me, at times, I used to feel when will he start walking and my mom would just pat me and say do not worry that time will come and then you would wonder why has he started walking so soon!!! :D 

His arm and leg movements were still very random. It seems babies get familiar with their arms and legs somewhere mid-2nd or 3rd month onwards. 

If we would keep our finger between his palm and fingers, he used to hold it with a tight grip. Guess, that also he was not aware. It was more an instinctive action to close the fist as soon as something is in the palm.

I had observed one very interesting action of his. He used to keep both his arms on his left side as if holding on to something and pull both arms to his body. I feel probably he was still in state of inertia, guess, inside the womb he would be pulling the umbilical cord towards his body in the same fashion. This action was observed till he completed 3 months. Most times, his arms were closer to his body.

Still his major attraction was the fan. Although, we had hung some jingles from the bed so he could see them while lying down. Initially we did not see him following the circular movement but then after a day or two, we observed him following the objects in circular motion. It was fun watching him giggle at the music.

He used to take out girgling sounds and at times, wait for us to repeat his sounds. He would giggle when we would take out funny sounds, specifically whistling. We observed that he used to focus at our lips while we were conversing as if he will speak right after we will stop. Guess, that is how they learn language skills.

He used to drool a lot. We thought that he is teething, got never any tooth in his 2nd month. Anyway, we do not know the exact reason but we took extra care while wiping as every few seconds we were wiping his chin and lips. Hard or repeated wiping may cause rashes at times. Thankfully he never developed any.

He had started recognising me as the milk-provider and the arms to fall asleep if being cranky. When cranky he would not get quietened by anyone except the mother, i.e. me. Although it feels great to be so important in someone's life yet scary at the same time.

First air travel

He experienced his first flight travel when he was 2 months 5 days old. My husband and myself read all that we could about baby air travel dos and donts, made a mental note of what all to carry and what to do during the travel. We had packed based on the stuff that we would require in the cabin and rest stuffed in the check-in luggage. I had kept the feeding pillow(looks like a doughnut), nursing cloak, change of clothes for the baby, diapers, wipes, covers to keep dirty diapers, changing plastic blanket, talcum, napkins, in the diaper bag.

We chose kingfisher first because of its excellent service for mothers with infants. I was travelling with my mom-in-law. We inquired for on-board facility of any stroller but were informed that in domestic travel no such facility is available. We had our own stroller which came handy in the airport. Before boarding the flight, the crew gave us a card with our seat number and details written and kept the stroller with them. The air-hostess briefed us about precautions during take-off and landing. I purposefully chose the aisle seat for more space. During the flight I realised, window seat would have been better.
Reason: While the air-hostess serves the food and beverages, she is moving with a trolley which at times hits our hands and elbows. At that time, I was careful that it should not hit my son. Window seat is safer that way and offers more privacy too while feeding, although, I used the nursing cloak which was a great saver.
I had plugged his ears with little cotton.

At take-off time, I fed him and he slept off while feeding and got up only after landing at delhi. The feeding pillow was awesome help as he rested well on it like a bed and I did not have to literally carry him in my arms the whole time so I got some rest.

As soon as the plane landed he got up and started crying. Guess, the body was in state of inertia, for him still moving! He just did not like it. Anyway, I tried feeding him, he did not take the feed as he just wanted to get out of the seat. Well, thanks to his wailing we got easy pathway to the door! :)

But over all, the trip was great with no hiccups. The kingfisher folks were helpful throughout till we sat in our car. So that was our son's first air travel!

Even before we knew, he completed three months.

Three months old

  • His forehead was getting more prominent.
  • Head getting its shape
  • He could lift his head and shoulders for a short while when he is lying on his stomach.
  • He was able to keep his head straight for some 30 and odd seconds when held him vertically.
  • He had started laughing loudly and shouting at the pitch of his voice. He kept experimenting with his pitch by shouting whenever he could and got better and better in the volume.
  • We found that if he would quieten immediately when taken to the bathroom. He loved it for that was the place to play with water.
  • He could bring his hands up together, but still seemed that he was not aware that they are part of his body. Occassional random movements were still there.
  • He would lift his legs and cycle in the air. At times, he would stretch his legs and straight and arms above his head and take out grunting noises. We thought he is pooing but it was just grunting!
  • He was able to lie on his side for some 10 or odd seconds and then again come on his back.
  • Whenever sleepy or tired, he would rub his eyes and nose.
  • He used to keep all his fingers inside his mouth. As he was completing his 4th month, he learnt to keep his thumb in his mouth.
  • He would occassionally show signs of recognition to me and the family members.
  • If he is not hungry and slept well, then he would just love being with other people. He seemed to be social with everyone. He was pretty magnanimous in giving broad smiles and laughs to our friends who would visit our house to see him. It was their treat! :)
  • He developed a different style of crying by the time he was completing his 4th month. The voice changed a little.
  • He would still pee like 10-15 times a day and poo like 2 times a day. Many-a-times, he skipped his stools for 3-4 days. I read that it is normal for breastfed babies to skip stools for days. So I was relaxed.
  • Although, advised by elders to start giving him water, yet we decided to wait till he is 6 months. Breastfed infants do not need water until they are dehydrated due to diarrhoea or they are introduced to solids. Excess water at times may cause more harm than benefit the infant. It interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Therefore, always check with your doc and observe your baby's signals.
  • His next vaccination was done during this month. Again a horrendous experience seeing him cry so much. But again, he calmed down instantly.
  • He was able to stand for sometime if you held him on your laps. His legs were able to bear his weight. But after a while he would bend his knees and lose balance.
Use of diapers
We used to put him on cotton nappies most of the time. Diapers generally at night so that he can sleep peacefully. Since knew his pattern so used to change his diapers at night every 2-3 hours.

Also, when we used to go out, we put on his diapers. That way, we minimised his diaper-rash occurrences. Infact, it never happened.

On 28th may, he completed four months and the same day we were returning to hyd. This time it was my husband, myself and our son, again by KFF. At take-off I fed him and expected him to sleep like last time. But this time he was active and did not sleep the whole travel time. We had a poo session and then diaper changing session in the small restroom of the plane. Anyway, this time the travel had more activities than the last time. In two months, things change so much!! :)

Four months old
  • He was able to keep his head straight for longer time. He could neatly fit in our baby sling without any problem to his back or neck.
  • He was able to stand on his legs when we held him.
  • He rolled over on 4th of june at night while playing in playgym. It was a fun experience. The initial rolling was with lot of effort and he could roll only on one side. He would roll and we would bring him back to back. This will go on for some 4-5 times and then the next time he rolls he would start crying. By the time he was completing 5 months, he would roll in our arms or in air while we are putting him on the bed or floor.
  • Rolling was a new-found skill. When a baby learns a new skill, he or she keeps practising the skills learnt every time, even while they are asleep. Our son would involuntarily roll over while in his sleep and then wake up crying as he was not able to come back to the original position! We had sleepless nights thanks to his rolling! :)
  • By the time he was completing 5 months, he was able to roll over seamlessly.
  • He had started girgling loudly and laugh aloud.
  • He loved being in the company of others. He used to play with them and shout and laugh and girgle and gain the attention of others in a group.
  • Flipping of fingers was another fun game he loved watching during this time.
  • He was able to sit if we kept him upright and cushioned his sides. He had actually started loving this posture rather than lying all the time! :)
  • During his evening walks, he loved observing the trees, the kids playing and at times doze off in the sling.
  • Till his 3rd month, he was gaining weight 1.2 kg per month. But the gain dipped to only 250 gms during the fourth month. But later in the fifth month, he gained 500 gms. It seems baby weight gain decreases after 3rd month and stabilises at 400-500 gms per month.
And he completed five months.

Five months old

  • He was able to rollback by now. So, it was fun, he would rollover from back to tummy and then tummy to back. Thus, he was more peaceful at night and we started getting good night sleep.
  • He started exploring our faces with his hands.
  • He tried lifting his body on his fours but immediately fell on his tummy. By the end of five months, he was able to balance himself for some 30 seconds before falling on his tummy.
  • He learnt to crawl backwards. If there is a target in his front, poor guy, would crawl backwards! :)
  • He would pick up anything and put it in his mouth.
  • He learnt that if items are thrown on the floor they make sound. So, instead of putting his toys in his mouth, he started throwing them on the floor and watch them make sound. He would swim on his tummy in excitement! Do not ask how much bashing my mobile had to bear!
  • We used to occassionally give him little water to drink. But he would play with the bottle more than drink anything. Anyway, we were not worried of less intake of water presently as he was breastfed. 
  • He would raise his both hands in air to indicate that he wants to be lifted in our arms. He would tightly wrap our neck with his arms. 
  • He would occassionally clap his hands in the air.
  • He had started recognising faces of our neighbors who visit us regularly. Also, our cook aunty and the lady for domestic help. As soon as he would see them, he will start clapping his hands and laugh aloud. 
  • He started attacking our plates while we used to have our food. 
  • He started responding to his name. We used to constantly call his name and look at him. During the day, I used to play games like call his name repeatedly and whenever he would look at me I used to clap my hands and say "Very good!" He kind of liked my excited reaction so he used to look away from me and when I repeated his name several times, once he would turn and again I would shower him with hugs and kisses. A week long exercise of this name calling, helped him learn the keyword, i.e. his name. So, now if we are talking to someone else and his name comes up, he would look at us! :)
  • By the time he was completing six months, he started making chewing motion. Initially we thought he had something in his mouth, but when examined his mouth was empty. Guess, these were signals that he was getting ready for solids.
And he completed six months. We had celebrated his half birthday. We took a video where he is attacking his cake, although did not give him anything to eat. Considering it is too sweet for an infant who has not started any solids. We thought he can wait for sometime. 

Six months old

  • His face changed a lot since his birth. 
  • He learnt to crawl forward and by mid-six month, he learnt to crawl on his fours and creep as well. 
  • He was attempting to stand on his legs using the furniture or our bodies as support. By the end of six months, he was able to stand but would fall after 10 sec or so. Guess, his legs still need to gain more strength.
  • He would try to jump over us or any other barrier in his way. It was scary if he was on the bed.
  • Our bed is 1.5 feet from the ground. One day, in his 3rd week, he fell from the bed while attempting to hold something that caught his attention. I was in the other room and suddenly I heard "THUD!!" and my heart sank. I ran and took him in my arms. He was wailing so badly, I wanted to cry myself. But composed myself, immediately rushed to the washbasin and dabbed some cool water on his head which soothed him a little. He cried for almost 2 minutes, the longest 2 minutes of my life! Anyway, I performed the following checks:
    • Eyes - They were white. When kept his favorite objects(which generally we tell him not to touch) like phone, he was following them. Later on I read on the net that if the eyes get pink or red, immediately rush to the doc.
    • Ears - I played his favorite music, title song of "F.R.I.E.N.D.S." and he quietened for sometime and smiled as he does always. Then did all the noisy actions that he generally does and found that he was following the sounds. It is said that if the baby behaves the same way as earlier, no need to worry.
    • Nose - checked if any bleeding there. Thankfully, no bleeding.
    • Mouth - checked his gums, tongue, everything normal.
    • Arms - checked if they were normal, as in no disfiguring. 
    • Legs - rotated his toes and feet, normal. 
    • Actions - I left him on the floor and he crawled to his toys as he always does. So his legs and hands were normal. He was standing the same way, using my body as support, as he always does. 
    • Feeding - He took his feed normally.
    • Bumps - He had no bumps that day, but at night I observed a small pinkish bump which went by the end of next day. On touching the bump he did not cry which means it was not paining him.
    • It took him 30 minutes to finally normalise and play as always. I guess it took me 2 days to come out of the shock. Worst is that being the mother I could not cry as he should feel comforted and secure with me rather than cry more seeing me cry. I was unable to enter the room till my husband came home as I always visualised him flat on the floor. It was  a nightmare. 
    • From now on, we keep on the bed only if we are with him otherwise, he spends the whole time on the floor in the computer room or in the walker or in our arms.
  • He runs the risk of falling even while trying to stand using support of furniture, thus, we are always vigilant. We do not stand behind him but are in hands reach. In case, he is about to fall, we can help him out. We do not want him to develop the fear of standing, if he observes that we are always protecting him. It is like babies will learn if left free but under silent supervision.
  • We started his solids. He has tried idly, mashed/boiled fruits and veggies, cooked raagi with little ghee and salt, softened dal with ghee and salt, dal+rice khichdi, tomato puree, home made chicken soup(which he relished a lot). He developed loose motions the day after eating banana, so we have discontinued it for sometime. Probably we will start after a week or two. At tea time, he will eat whatever cookies we are eating. 
  • He babbles words like ma ma or da da. More when he is crying. While crying he will take out all kinds of sounds, guess, desparation to tell something brings out the speech from their mouths! :) 
  • Earlier he used to be very patient while changing his clothes or diapers, but in the 4th week, he had become very impatient. As soon his clothes are touched, he would rollover and push our hands away, but not allow us to change. It is not like that he is sleepy or feeling cold or anything, just does not want to be tied down in one position! It is a war-like situation after bath when he is to be worn clothes! And as soon as he has worn his clothes, he will behave as if nothing happened, all smiling and playing again!! Gosh!!
  • During this month, he started showing signs that he understands our instructions. e.g. if we tell him not to touch a book, he will touch it once and see us again if we still persist not touching then he would move away from it. He also acknowledges our applauds when he does something good, like crawled and held some toy, or stood on his legs successfully or followed our instructions. 
  • I have observed him look at me while he will go near the edge of the bed for he knows he will get a NO from me, and then he will look one more time and then crawl back!! It is so much fun seeing him respond that way. So now he understands many words. 
  • At times, he gets scolds too and then he would try pacifying us giving his sweet toothless grin. I have to really try hard not to smile back or else he will not take the instruction seriously. I have to face away and smile! 
  • We were surprised when one day he started caressing our cheeks and smile. He did that for a long time at night. Now he repeats it quite often. He was expressing his affection, I guess. It made us feel so good.
  • He has started rubbing his ears recently and gets a little cranky. Checked for ear infection, nothing was there. Guess, teething has started. It seems during teething their cheek and ear nerves feel itching. So now we understand the origin of the term "teething problems" better.
In a day's time he will complete 7 months. I will post the remaining developments after a lapse of two or three months. But having written all these developments, my life just got rewound to the time when he was born and then played till date! :) 

Wish you all a happy parenting time! Enjoy the moments! :)


  1. Hey...nice looong post!..It was kind of a recap of Nishita's first 6 months...I think infants are so similar and at the same time so different from each other!

  2. @Sushmita - Yes, infants are so similar and dissimilar at the same time! It is great though to see them grow so fast!


Post your comment