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Wolverhampton Information Network

Baby's First Year

Congratulations on the arrival of your child

Being a parent is not only very exciting; it can be a little scary. This tiny person is reliant on you for all their needs and for getting them ready to face to wide world.

As your child’s first and main educator, being actively involved in your child’s development and play from an early age allows:

  • An insight to their personality and their reactions to situations
  • An insight to their preferred characteristic of effective learning (learning styles)
  • Strong bonds / attachments to be formed between you and your child
  • You to offer your child challenging stimulating activities
  • Speech and language development
  • Social skills to develop, which will help your child to interact with others
  • For positive attitudes and dispositions to learning, which will help your child to become an active learner

This page will help you to understand and support your child’s development in their first year.

In the early days

Your new baby has a strong need to be held close to you, this helps them to feel safe, secure and loved. When a baby feels secure a hormone called oxytocin is released. This hormone helps their brain to grow and helps them to be a happy, confident baby. Oxytocin is also released when you smile and speak to your baby; this helps them to feel calm.

Keeping your baby close to you will help you to start to recognise signals your baby makes to let you know they are hungry or wants a cuddle. Responding to these signals promptly will help your baby to feel safe. Cuddling your baby next to your skin allows him/her to hear your heartbeat and to recognise your bodily odour.

Breast feeding offers further opportunities for skin to skin contact. Breast fed babies cannot be overfed so use breast feeding to soothe your baby and as a way of spending quality time together.

If your baby is bottle fed, hold them close to your body during feeds and look into their eyes. If you and your partner give most of the feeds, this will help build a close, loving relationship with your baby.

Finding your Rhythm

As time goes on you will start to understand what your baby is trying to tell you and what he/she needs. This will help you settle into a rhythm that suits you both. Recognising and responding to your child’s needs helps him/her to feel secure so he/she will cry less, which helps to make your life easier.

Holding your baby when he/she is crying helps them to feel loved and secure, even if he/she doesn’t stop crying straight away. Babies who are responded to in this way are more likely to grow into confident toddlers who are able to deal with being away from their parents temporarily, rather than being clingy. When babies are left alone they think they have been abandoned, and so become more insecure and clingy when their parents return.

What matters to your baby and their future development is having parents who love and care for them.

Your Child's Development

in their First Year

 

Communication and Language Development

Development

 

How parents can support

• I turn toward a familiar sound then locate a range of sounds with accuracy.

• I listen to, distinguish and respond to pitch and the sounds of voices.

• I interact with others by smiling, looking and moving.

• I calm down or become more alert to the sound of speech.

• I look intently at a person talking, but stop responding if speaker turns away.

• I listen to familiar sounds, words, or finger plays.

• I have Fleeting Attention – this is not under my control; new sounds or movements take my whole attention.

• I stop and look when I hear my own name.

• I am starting to understand clues, e.g. familiar gestures, words and sounds.

• I communicate my needs and feelings in a variety of ways including crying, gurgling, babbling and squealing.

• I make sounds in response when I am spoken to by familiar adults.

• I practise and gradually develop speech sounds (babbling) to communicate with adults; says sounds like ‘baba, nono, gogo’.

• I need to form strong relationships in order for language development, so spend plenty of time with me.

• Make and continue eye contact when feeding me, speaking to me and when you are meeting my care needs.

• Always respond promptly to the verbal sounds I make, copy my babbling.

• Point or show me objects when talking about them, this will help me to make connections between objects and the words spoken.

• Use gestures and lots of facial expressions.

• Give me time to respond to your talking, this is the start of us having conversations.

• Share simple picture books with me.

• Create simple routines and use the same words and expressions to help me associate these words to the routine.

• Use actions and words, such as, waving and saying ‘bye-bye’.

• Sing action rhymes like ‘Incy, Wincy Spider’, and games such as, ‘Peek-a-boo’.

                                                                  

 

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Development

 

How parents can support

• I enjoy the company of others and seeks contact with others.

• I gaze at faces and copy facial movements, e.g. sticking out their tongue, opening mouth and widening eyes.

• I respond when spoken to, e.g. moves arms and legs, changes facial expressions.

• I recognise and respond to my mine carer’s voice.

• I respond to what my carer is paying attention to, e.g. following their gaze.

• I enjoy cuddles and being held: calms, snuggles in, smiles, gazes at carer’s face or strokes carer’s skin.

• I laugh and gurgle, e.g. show pleasure at being tickled and other physical interactions.

• I use my voice, gestures, eye contact and facial expressions to make contact with people.

• I’m comforted by touch, people’s faces and voices.

• I seek physical and emotional comfort by snuggling in to trusted adults.

• I calm from being upset when held, rocked, spoken or sung to with a soothing voice.

• I show a range of emotions such as pleasure, fear and excitement.

• I react emotionally to other people’s emotions, e.g. smiles when smiled at and I become distressed if I hear another child crying.

• Spend lots of time with me to help build strong bonds.

• Recognise and respond to the signs that I am feeling overwhelmed.

• Be ready to reassure me when I encounter new people, places and experiences.

• Give me time to look at my reflection in mirrors.

• Provide treasure baskets, containing ‘real life’ items.

• Allow me to make choices, e.g. different finger foods to try.

• Give me opportunities to show my developing independence, e.g. choosing items from a treasure basket.

• Give me plenty of physical contact and reassurance.

• Speak and sing to me, this helps to calm me as well as helping me to develop language.

 

                                         

 

Physical Development

Development

 

How parents can support

• I turn my head in response to sounds and sights.

• I am gradually developing the ability to hold up my head.

• I make movements with arms and legs which gradually become more controlled.

• I roll over from front to back, then from back to front.

• When lying on my tummy I start to lift, first my head and then my chest, supporting myself with my forearms and then straight arms.

• I watch and explore my hands and feet, e.g. when lying on my back. I lift my legs into vertical position and grasp my feet.

• I reach out for, touch and start to hold objects.

• I explore objects with mouth, often picking up an object and holding it to my mouth.

• I respond to and thrive on warm, sensitive physical contact and care.

• I express discomfort, hunger or thirst.

• I anticipate meal times with interest and eagerness.

• I lift my arms in anticipation of being picked up.

• Give me plenty of opportunities to move freely.

• Place objects where I am encouraged to stretch, reach, pull and lift.

• Offer me items that are safe to go into my mouth.

• Offer me toys with a cause and effect property, such as pressing a button to hear a tune or lifting a flap to see a picture pop up.

• Talk through your actions as you meet my care needs, e.g. when bathing me.

• Help me become aware of my body through games, such as, ‘round and round the garden’ or ‘this little piggy went to market’.

• Recognise and respect my wishes when I show I am no longer hungry or thirsty.

 

 

                                                          

 

Activities to Promote your Baby’s Development

Baby Activities

Why Play Matters

Daily pressures on your time can sometimes mean that time is taken up with household chores, shopping, cooking and working. As a result, time spent playing with your child can take a back seat.

But even just finding a few minutes a day with your child strengthens your relationship with them and gives your child opportunity to learn about the world and the foundation blocks for their future life.

Playing with your child helps you to recognise and understand your child’s feelings, their strengths, and areas for extra support.

Play doesn’t need to be planned with expensive resources - things you do every day, such as talking, listening, singing and reading, or taking part in daily task, such as mealtime, shopping, bathing or when out on journeys. This is especially important for babies and toddlers – even though they are unable to speak, they watch and listen to everything. The way they begin to talk is shaped by how they are spoken to.

Getting Started – All the time you spend with your child is an opportunity to play. Just joining in with what your child is doing is a good start and will show your child that you are interested in what they are doing. Watch out for the things that your child really loves to do and spend a little time each day joining in.

Some children enjoy rough and tumble, which gives them the confidence to move around and not feel restricted, while other children prefer gentler activities. By watching your child, you will become more aware of what they enjoy.

Different types of play your baby may enjoy

This section doesn’t cover every type of play, but it offers you a starting point.

You don’t need expensive toys or equipment; many items can be found around the home. You could also pop in at your local Play and Stay for more activity ideas and the use of their equipment.

The most important thing is FUN, for you and your child.

REMEMBER, you’re the best playmate your child will ever.

Messy Playthink about anything your child can get their hands into and experiment with, such as, child paints, water, sand, mud, PVA glue, gloop etc.

It’s a good idea to put down a large plastic sheet, or take the activity outside if it is a nice day. If you are not confident with this or feel unsure on how to offer this type of activity, visit your local Strengthening Families’ Hub (Children’s Centre) or Play and Stay group.

Bath time is a fantastic opportunity for messy play, add bubbles, floating items, cups for filling and emptying or even some aromatherapy oils, which will stimulate their sense of smell (please check if these are suitable for children).

REMEMBER, never leave your child unattended, not even for a minute.

Physical Playin your child’s first year their physical skills and strength development at a rapid rate.

Try to include the follow moves into daily your play:

  • High Play - raising your baby high, either to your face level or a little higher.
  • Rocking from side to side.
  • Swinging them in your arms, and when they are a little older, in an age appropriate swing.
  • Walk around them around on your hip - let your child see as much of their world as possible.
  • Action Rhymes, such as ‘round, and round the garden’.
  • Finger play, such as ‘This little piggy’.
  • Knock down - build up a simple block tower and let them knock it down.
  • Peek a boo.
  • Roll a ball – try to use a range of balls; fabric, bean filled, textured etc. as well as a range of sizes.
  • Sensory Activity – such as adding a little lavender oil to their water play, or offering a range of textured items, this helps to stimulate your child’s senses.
  • Mirror play – this will allow your child to become familiar with facial features and expressions.

Music Playparents naturally sing lullabies and soothing songs to their babies, these may not be traditional rhymes or songs but that doesn’t matter, sing whatever type of song you are comfortable with, your child will enjoy hearing your voice and listening to the rhythm.

You could also use CDs, MP3 players etc. Try to listen to a wide range of songs and music from around the world.

Singing and dancing allows your child to express themselves in a fun way and will also help them develop language.

When your child can to sit unaided, allow them to make their own music with wooden spoons and upturned saucepans, or make your own shakers.

Treasure Basket Playtreasure baskets are a collection of everyday natural objects. The activity aims to offer stimulus all through the five senses: - Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch and Taste. Your baby will be able to explore and begin to appreciate texture, shape and weight when using the items in the treasure basket.

Make sure all items are washable, with no loose or small pieces, and is safe to be put into your child’s mouth. Young children’s mouths are very sensitive so are ideal for exploring new objects.

Before using the treasure basket make the area safe and comfortable, use a blanket or rug and support your child with cushions.

Storytimechildren should be introduced to books as early as possible, these could be fabric books, bath books and card books. Try to find books that are interactive, such as, lift the flap, press buttons for sounds, involve puppets etc.

Sharing books will give your child an excellent start on the path to becoming confident reader.

Start by sharing picture books, pointing to and naming objects, then introduce short, simple stories. You may find that your child has a favourite book and wants it read over and over again.

Although very young babies will not understand the words you are saying, your child will find the sound of your voice soothing, and will help them to recognise the rhythm of language.

Malleable Playthis type of play involves any materials that can be squeezed, squashed, moulded, such as, play dough, wet sand and even jelly. Malleable play can help strengthen the muscles in your child’s hands, arms and shoulders, as well as supporting their eye to hand co-ordination.

Inoculation Calendar

AGE

VACCINE

DESCRIPTION

8 weeks

1st: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) 

This is the 5-in-1 vaccine, and is given to children when they are 8, 12 and 16 months old. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae.

1st: pneumococcal infection

This is the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), and is given to children when they are 8 and 16 weeks old, and between 12 and 13 months old. It protects against pneumococcal infection, which can cause diseases such as pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.

1st: rotavirus

This is an oral vaccine given to children who are 8 and 12 weeks old. It protects against rotavirus infection, a common cause of diarrhoea and sickness.

1st: Men B

This is the Men B vaccine, and is given to children when they are 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 12 months old. It protects against infection from meningococcal (Men) group B bacteria, which are responsible for more than 90% of meningococcal infections in young children.

12 weeks

2nd: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib

This is the 5-in-1 vaccine, and is given to children when they are 8, 12 and 16 weeks old. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae.

1st: Men C

This is the Men C vaccine, and is given to children when they are 12 weeks old, with a dose of the combined Hib/Men C vaccine given at 12 months old. The vaccine protects against meningococcal (Men) group C, a type of bacteria that can cause meningitis and septicaemia.

2nd: rotavirus

This is an oral vaccine given to children who are 8 and 12 weeks old. It protects against rotavirus infection, a common cause of diarrhoea and sickness.

16 weeks

3rd: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib

This is the 5-in-1 vaccine, and is given to children when they are 8, 12 and 16 weeks old. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae.

2nd: pneumococcal infection

This is the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), and is given to children who are 8 and 16 weeks old, and between 12 and 13 months old. It protects against pneumococcal infection, which can cause diseases such as pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.

2nd: Men B

This is the Men B vaccine, and is given to children when they are 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 12 months old. It protects against infection from meningococcal (Men) group B bacteria, which are responsible for more than 90% of meningococcal infections in young children.

1 year

Booster: Hib and Men C

This is the Hib/MenC booster vaccine, and is given to children when they are between 12 and 13 months old. The booster vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and meningococcal group C bacteria, which can cause meningitis and septicaemia.

 

1st: measles, mumps and rubella

This is the MMR vaccine, and is given to children when they are between 12 and 13 months and old, and at 40 months old. It protects against measles, mumps and rubella. 

 

Booster: pneumococcal infection

This is the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), and is given to children who are 8 and 16 weeks old, and between 12 and 13 months old. It protects against pneumococcal infection, which can cause diseases such as pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.

 

Booster: Men B

This is the Men B vaccine, and is given to children when they are 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 12 months. It protects against infection from meningococcal (Men) group B bacteria, which are responsible for more than 90% of meningococcal infections in young children.

Introducing Solid Foods

Introducing your child to solid foods is usually referred to as weaning. This is a really important step in your child’s development, as well as establishing a healthy lifestyle. Weaning can also be a time of great fun when you and your child can explore with new flavours and textures.

Weaning tends to start at around six months, up until this age babies can get all the nutrients they need from breast milk or infant formula. Delaying weaning until your child is six months, allows your child’s digestive system time to develop fully so it can cope with solid foods.

Three signs that show your child is ready for weaning

Each child is an individual, but there are three clear signs that, together, show your baby is ready for solid foods alongside breast milk or formula. It's unusual for these signs to appear together before your baby is six months old.

1)    They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.

2)    They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.

3)    They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.

Some signs can be mistaken for a child being ready for weaning

  • Chewing fists
  • Waking in the night when they previously slept through
  • Wanting extra milk feeds

These are normal behaviours and not necessarily a sign of hunger or being ready to start solid foods. Starting solid foods won’t make them any more likely to sleep through the night.

Getting Started

How much your child takes in is less important than getting them used to the idea of eating. To start with, your child won’t need three meals a day, so decide on a mealtime that suits you both. Over time you’ll be able to increase the amount of food and offer more variety.

  • Start by offering just a few teaspoons or pieces, once a day. Make sure you allow enough time, meal times should not be rushed
  • To protect choking, never leave your child alone when they are eating
  • Let you child explore the food, this will help to stimulate their senses and their interest in eating
  • As soon as your child shows an interest, allow them to feed themselves, firstly with their fingers then by offering them a teaspoon
  • Ensure the food is at a suitable temperature, allow hot food the cool before offering it to your child
  • If you are using a spoon, wait for your child to open their mouth before offering the food. Allow your child to hold the spoon if they wish to

What Foods to Offer Your Child and When

AGE

FOODS

0-6 months

  • Your child only needs breast milk or first infant formula

*Check with your G.P or health visitor if you wish to introduce solid foods before six months

6+ months

  • Mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables like parsnips, yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, apples or pears, all cooled before eating
  • Soft fruits like peach and melon, or baby rice/cereal mixed with your baby’s usual milk
  • Finger Foods – these are foods cut into pieces big enough for you child to hold in their fist, a suitable size is that of your finger. Try banana or avocado

When your child is comfortable with eating, introduce the following:

  • Soft cooked meats, such as chicken
  • Mashed fish (check for any bones)
  • Noodles, pasta, rice
  • Mashed hard boiled eggs
  • Full fat yoghurt, fromage frais (choose products with no added sugar or low sugar)

 *Do not offer your child cow’s milk, this is not suitable for children under one year of age, ‘Follow-on’ milk can be introduced if advised

8+ months

  • Your child should be eating a mixture of soft finger foods, and mashed or chopped foods
  • Their diet should consist of fruit, vegetables, bread, rice, pasta, meat, fish, egg, beans and other non-diary sources of protein, milk and dairy products

12+ months

By this age your child should be having:

  • 3 meals a day, plus breast milk or whole cow’s milk
  • Healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetable sticks, toast and rice cakes
  • 3 or 4 servings a day of starchy food, such as potatoes, rice and bread
  • 3 or 4 servings a day of fruit and vegetables
  • 2 servings a day of meat, fish, egg, dhal or other pulses (beans and lentils)

For breastfeeding support and information (antenatal and postnatal) please visit here

Record Last Updated on: 28/02/2018

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