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Welcoming a newborn into your life marks the beginning of an extraordinary journey filled with countless moments of joy, wonder, and growth. As babies progress through their first year, each milestone reached is a testament to the wonder of human development and a source of immense pride for parents. At Northwest Specialty Hospital (NWSH) we understand the excitement of watching your baby grow, and we’re here to partner with you at every step to ensure your baby’s health and happiness.

From the first adorable coos to the tentative steps, the first year of your baby’s life is an incredible period of discovery. In a previous post, we discussed well-baby visits in the first six months. This post will address well-baby care from six months to one year.


Checkups and Milestones

Six to Nine Months

During the 6-month well-baby checkup, your healthcare provider will discuss feeding and introducing solid foods. Because your baby is used to consuming liquids – mother’s milk or formula – your provider will tell you what to start with and how you can expect your baby to react and adjust. Your baby is also teething as new teeth come in, so you can discuss ways to soothe your baby’s sore gums. 

All babies develop with slight differences in timing. Some have their first tooth at four months, while others may have their first tooth at eight months. But along the way, your baby should be marking important milestones. From six to nine months, a baby’s motor skills develop rapidly as they learn to balance on their stomach, sit with minimal support, and even attempt to grasp tiny objects. Cognitive leaps accompany this newfound independence as they begin to anticipate movements, enjoy games like peek-a-boo, and show early signs of understanding language. 

As babies grow, their exploration of the world intensifies. They become more adept at reaching and grasping objects, displaying a growing curiosity about their surroundings. Their communication skills blossom as they babble and respond to their names, laying the foundation for language development. Meanwhile, their social interactions become more nuanced, with expressions of affection towards loved ones and signs of anxiety in unfamiliar situations.

By eight months, motor skills have become increasingly refined. They may crawl forward, pull themselves up using furniture, and sit independently for extended periods. Their cognitive abilities continue to expand as they engage in playful interactions, imitate sounds, and demonstrate problem-solving skills. This stage also marks the emergence of more complex social behaviors, such as sharing (or keeping) toys and expressing preferences.


Nine to Twelve Months

Oral health becomes a focus at the nine-month well-baby checkup, as babies often have teeth by now. Parents can discuss any concerns about development with the healthcare provider, who may recommend additional testing. However, all children develop at their own pace, so variations are normal. For example, some children may be crawling for only a few months before pulling themselves up, while others may be happy to crawl until they are fourteen months old but show more rapid development in other areas. 

By now, babies are likely achieving physical milestones in rapid succession. They may be cruising along furniture or even taking their first steps. Their cognitive development allows them to understand simple phrases and follow basic instructions, while their communication skills advance with the emergence of single-word utterances and mimicked sounds. Socially, they become more interactive, eagerly exploring their environment, forming attachments to favorite toys and people, and expressing preferences for certain activities. With each passing month, your baby’s unique personality shines through, enriching your bond.


Twelve Months and Beyond

By the twelve-month checkup, a baby is likely crawling or taking first steps and starting to babble. Your baby’s healthcare provider will continue to do routine height and weight measurements, letting you know where your baby falls compared to other babies; remember that these comparisons are not necessarily indicative of long-term growth. Your baby will undergo a routine physical examination and discuss with you any recommendations or concerns regarding feeding, naps, and fostering positive development. With your consent, additional vaccinations are typically administered at this checkup.


Well-Baby Care for Long-Term Health

Amidst the joy of watching your baby thrive, regular well-baby checkups play a crucial role in ensuring your baby’s continued health and development. These appointments allow healthcare professionals to monitor your baby’s growth, discuss concerns, and offer guidance on feeding, sleep, and safety practices. These checkups serve as a valuable resource for parents, offering reassurance and support along the way.

At NWSH, we recognize the importance of nurturing your baby’s physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being from the beginning. Our team of pediatric experts is dedicated to providing comprehensive care tailored to your baby’s individual needs, empowering you to navigate the exciting journey of parenthood with confidence and peace of mind. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric care specialists, contact NWSH today.

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