The First Years

Babies go through many changes during their first two years. To learn more about each of these exciting stages, click on the links below.

Newborn Characteristics Nine Month Check Up
Two Week Check Up 12 Month Check Up
Two Month Check Up 15 Month Check Up
Four Month Check Up 18 Month Check Up
Six Month Check Up Two Year Check Up

Newborn Characteristics

Some movements in newborns that concern parents are not signs of illness. Most of these harmless reflexes are due to an immature nervous system and will disappear in 2 or 3 months:

• Chin trembling
• Lower lip quivering
• Hiccups
• Passing gas (not a temporary behavior)
• Sleep noise from breathing and moving
• Sneezing
• Spitting up or belching
• Startle reflex or brief stiffening of the body (also called the Moro or startle reflex)    following noise or movement
• Straining with bowel movements
• Throat clearing (or gurgling sounds of secretions in the throat)
• Yawning

Irregular breathing — Any irregular breathing pattern is normal if your baby is content, the rate is less than 60 breaths per minute, a pause is less than 6 seconds, and your baby doesn’t turn blue. Occasionally, infants take rapid, progressively deeper, stepwise breaths to completely expand the lungs.

 

Trembling or jitteriness of arms and legs during crying is common, but convulsions are rare. During convulsions babies also jerk, blink their eyes, rhythmically suck their mouths, and don’t cry. If your baby is trembling and not crying, give him or her something to suck on. If the trembling doesn’t stop during sucking, call your doctor immediately because your infant may be having a convulsion.

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2 Week Check-Up

Baby

• Will look at your face briefly and can recognize your voice
• Will startle to loud noises
• May cry 2-4 hours a day – could be hungry, tired or bored
• May be lifting his/her head up a little

Feeding

• Your baby needs only breast milk or formula
• Most breast-fed babies want to nurse every 2-3 hours during the early weeks,    many will have “cluster feedings” where they want to eat every hour
• Formula fed babies should be drinking 2-4 ounces every 2-4 hours
• Your baby should have at least 6-8 wet diapers and 4-8 dirty diapers a day

Safety

• Make sure your home has a smoke alarm and that it works
• Car seats are a MUST – baby is to ride in the backseat, facing backwards –    never in the front with a passenger air bag
• Turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees or less
• Put baby to sleep on BACK to lower your baby’s risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant    Death Syndrome)
• Never leave your baby alone in a tub or sink of water
• Keep home and car smoke free
• Never leave your baby alone with your pets
• Never shake your baby

More

• Remember, Mom and Dad need rest too – nap when baby naps
• You can’t spoil your baby at this age – when you respond to crying, you are    showing that he/she can trust you
• Most of all -- ENJOY YOUR BABY!

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2 Month Checkup

Playtime

• Can hold a rattle briefly
• Will begin to look at and play with his/her hands and feet (in the next month)
• Will begin to make sounds such as gurgling, cooing, babbling
• Can smile at you
• Can lift head up when laying on his/her tummy
• Enjoys when you sing and talk to him/her
• Should have one sleep time that lasts 6-7 hours
• Will stay awake for longer periods of time without fussing
• Examples of safe, age appropriate toys for ages 1-3 months: mobiles, mirrors,    music boxes, stuffed animals without detachable parts, rattles

Feeding

• From 2-4 months of age, baby should be taking 5-7 ounces of formula every 3-5    hours
• Your baby need only formula or breast milk
• Some spitting up is normal – keep baby upright after feedings and burp    frequently

Safety

• Never leave your baby alone
• Use a car seat each time your baby is in the car
• Baby should face backwards
• Baby should sleep on back

Immunizations

• Immunizations (vaccinations / shots) are very important for your baby’s health
• There may be some side effects from the shots such as a fever, crying,    fussiness
• Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4-6 hours for the next 24 hours

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4 Month Checkup

Playtime - Your baby

• Squeals, laughs, smiles, and coos when you talk and play with him/her
• Can grasp and hold a rattle
• Can bear weight on his/her legs when held
• Can put hands in mouth, so make sure small objects are out of reach
• Will turn to sounds, like a bell or rattle

Feeding

• Baby should be drinking breast milk or formula – an average of 32 ounces per    day, 5-6 feedings a day of 4-6 ounces each feeding
• Solid foods can be started between 4-6 months of age, based on your baby’s    readiness – talk to our providers before beginning solids. Usual course: cereal,    vegetables, fruits, meats
• If beginning to offer cereal, it is important to use a spoon instead of putting    cereal in the bottle
• May begin to offer juice and water (2 to 4 ounces a day)

Safety

• Car seats should face backwards, in the backseat
• Check all toys for small parts that can choke
• Never leave baby alone on high surfaces (changing table, sofa)
• Baby should sleep on back

Immunizations

• Immunizations (vaccinations / shots) are very important for your baby’s health
• There may be some side effects from the shots such as a fever, crying,    fussiness
• Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4-6 hours for the next 24 hours

More

• Your baby is getting more interested in his/her environment and in you –    ENJOY!
• Playtime on the floor with “tummy-time” is important so baby can practice motor    skills
• Baby can sleep through the night without a feeding
• Talk, sing, and read to your baby

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6 Month Checkup

Playtime

• Can roll over easily
• Has good head control
• Can sit with support or leaning forward on hands
• Can reach, grab, and hold own bottle
• Can imitate sounds that you make
• Will explore objects with mouth
• Can sleep through the night without a feeding
• Good toys: “busy box”, soft books, rattles, small blocks baby can hold, mobiles,    squeak toys, play gym
• May begin to fear strangers

Feeding

• Should be progressing with solid food – cereal, vegetables, and fruit by spoon
• Formula feedings should be about 32 ounces a day
• Breastfeeding should be about 5-6 times a day
• Formula and breastfeeding amount will begin to decrease as baby takes more    food from the spoon
• Start meats about 7 months of age
• Baby should be fed 3 meals a day from the spoon

Safety

• Car seat facing backwards in the backseat
• Check all toys for small parts that can choke
• Use plastic plug covers in all electrical outlets
• Use gates at the top and bottom of stairs
• Lock up all medicine and keep purses out of reach
• Keep all cleaning products out of reach
• “Walkers” are not encouraged because they can be dangerous

Immunizations

• Immunizations (vaccinations / shots) are very important for your baby’s health
• There may be some side effects from the shots such as a fever, crying,    fussiness
• Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4-6 hours for the next 24 hours

More

• In the next few months, baby will start to scoot, crawl and even pull up on furniture    to stand. This means baby can pull things over on him/herself – so watch out!
• The more active baby becomes, the more danger there is for baby – stay one    step ahead!
• Keep talking to your baby and answer when baby tries to talk
• Let baby stretch out on a blanket on the floor and practice motor skills
• By 6 months of age, baby should have doubled his/her birth weight
• Baby may cut first tooth at 6 months of age or later

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9 Month Checkup

Playtime

• Sits by self, may be crawling, and soon will be standing and cruising around    furniture
• Can pinch and poke with thumb and forefinger
• Has many sounds and will talk “baby talk”
• Give baby plenty of floor time to practice motor skills
• Good toys: blocks, soft toys, “chubby” books, activity crib toys, dolls, soft trucks    and cars, pop-ups, squeeze toys, pictures of real people, soft keys
• Give baby a special cabinet or drawer in the kitchen that he/she can empty and    fill back up. (Use his/her toys or plastic bowls, wooden spoons, etc.)

Feeding

• Baby should be eating 3 meals with 2 snack times a day
• Snacks should be healthy – fruit or toast make good choices
• Breastfeeding only 3-4 times a day now
• If bottle-feeding, baby needs only 16-24 ounces of formula per day
• Offer a cup (goal is to get baby off bottle by one year of age)
• Seat baby in a highchair to be with the rest of the family
• Offer safe finger foods – small soft pieces
• No hard candy or peanuts or anything else that can choke baby
• Over the next 2-3 months, baby will graduate to table food

Safety

• Remember electric plug covers, gates for stairs, and cabinet locks
• Put baby’s “special” play cabinet away from the cooking area – Baby can be    burned by spilled grease or hot water
• Lock up all poisons, medicines, alcohol, and cleaning supplies
• Keep the Poison Control number by all your phones —
       POISON CONTROL CENTER 1-800-222-1222
• Empty wash buckets and keep the bathroom door shut. (Baby can drown in only    2 inches of water.)
• Use a car seat and face it backwards in the car

Testing

• A hemoglobin and lead test may be done today – these tests are for anemia    and lead poisoning

More

• Read, talk, and sing to your baby – this helps your baby learn
• Television and movies should never take the place of human interaction
• This is a good time to use the word “NO”. Be loving but firm, if you are    consistent, baby will learn better.
• Baby may become afraid of strangers – this is normal. Help your baby become    comfortable around new people by holding and reassuring him/her.
• Time to begin to wean baby off pacifier

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12 Month Checkup

Your baby is changing quickly. Baby has probably tripled his/her birth weight and may have
6-8 teeth.

Playtime

• Baby is pulling up on furniture, cruising, crawling, and may be walking
• Baby has a good “pinch” now with finger and thumb and can pick up small things
• “Peek-a-boo” and “patty-cake” are fun games, so are stacking blocks and    putting them in bowls or boxes
• Your baby should be making “ma-ma” or “da-da” sounds, and may be saying    1-3 words
• Keep talking and naming objects. This helps your baby develop his/her    language
• Good toys: push and pull toys, toy lawn mowers, telephones, blocks, toys that    can be taken apart, pounding toys, wooden puzzles, plastic bowls and wooden    spoons.

Discipline

• A firm “no” is good. Children at this age do not understand a spanking
• If baby continues the behavior after being told “no”, move baby to another room,    take away the toy, etc.
• Limit the number of rules
• Be consistent. Don’t let baby do something one day, then punish him/her the    next.

Feeding

• Baby should be drinking whole milk now, 16-24 ounces a day
• Cups, not bottles
• Give baby table food and let baby learn to feed him/herself. Keep teaching the    spoon, but let baby use fingers.
• Baby’s appetite may drop off now, as he/she is not growing as quickly
• Insist baby sit for all meals with the family

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15 Month Checkup

Playtime

  • Child can scribble with crayons – remember to watch him/her because he/she may still try to put crayons in mouth
  • Child should be saying 2-3 words (other than Mama and Dada)
  • Child can walk well – and can bend over to pick up an object off the floor
  • “Peek-a-boo” and “Patty-cake” are still fun games, so are stacking blocks
  • Keep naming objects and talking to baby – these are ways to increase child's vocabulary
  • Begin to point out body parts to child--ear, nose, eye, etc.
  • Good toys: push and pull toys, balls, plastic tools, plastic bowls and spoons, wooden puzzles, soft books, stacking blocks

Discipline

  • You are your child's best role model. Show your child the kind of behavior you would like him/her to learn
  • A firm “NO” is good. Be consistent. Children at this age do not understand a spanking.

Feeding

  • Whole milk, 16-24 ounces (2-3 cups) each day
  • Cup only, no bottle
  • Continue to teach child to use spoon, but let him/her use fingers
  • Child's appetite may drop off now – child is so busy he/she may not sit long for meals
  • Child should sit at table with family for all meals
  • Don't cook special for child. Offer what the rest of the family is eating. If child doesn't eat a meal, put it away for later when child is hungry again.
  • Healthy snack choices – fruits, vegetables, cereal – not potato chips or cookies

Immunizations

  • Immunizations (vaccinations / shots) are very important for your baby's health
  • There may be some side effects from the shots such as fever, crying, fussiness
  • Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4-6 hours for the next 24 hours
  • If your child is on track with his/her immunizations, this should be the last set of shots until age 4    years.

Safety

  • Accidents are now the biggest threat to your child's safety
  • Remember electric plug covers, gates for stairs, and cabinet locks
  • Lock up all poisons, medicines, alcohol, and cleaning products.
  • Keep the Poison Control number by all your phones  
       POISON CONTROL CENTER 1-800-222-1222
  • Empty wash buckets and keep the bathroom door shut. Baby can drown in only 2 inches of water.
  • Use a car seat and face it forward in the backseat of the car

More

  • Your child may misbehave a lot in the next few months – Remember, you are the parent and he/she is the child.
  • Limit how much TV your child watches
  • ENJOY YOUR LITTLE PERSON!

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18 Month Checkup

Playtime

• At this age your child walks fast, runs stiffly, walks upstairs, walks backwards,    throws a ball, kicks a ball, and much more!
• Child can stack 4 or more blocks
• Child can say 4-10 words or even more. May be saying 2-3 word sentences
• Child knows some body parts (eyes, ears, nose, etc.)
• Child repeats/copies what you do and say
• Child can feed him/herself with a spoon and can drink from an open cup.
• Child loves hugs and kisses
• Good toys: balls, sand toys, Duplo blocks, plastic tools, stuffed animals, chubby    books
• The more time you spend with your child, the more your child will learn
• Stories, games and outside play are fun
• Limit TV time

Discipline

• You are your child’s best role model. Show your child the kind of behavior you    would like him/her to learn
• A firm “NO” is good. Be consistent.

Nutrition

• Your child’s appetite may begin to pick up again
• Whole milk, 16-24 ounces (2-3 cups) each day
• Healthy snack choices – fruits, vegetables, cereal – not potato chips or cookies
• Do not give small, round, hard food (peanuts, popcorn, meats, raw carrots,    grapes, hot dogs).
• Always stay with your child when he/she is eating.
• Don’t become a short order cook, and don’t make mealtime a battle
• If your child does not eat what is offered at a meal, wait until the next meal (or    snack time) to feed him/her again. Don’t give extra juice, milk or “junk” food.
• If throwing food is a problem, give your child a warning. If throwing continues,    then tell your child that mealtime is over and take his/her food away. Hungry    children do not throw their food—they eat it.

Safety

• Accidents are now the biggest threat to your child’s safety
• Remember electric plug covers, gates for stairs, and cabinet locks
• Lock up all poisons, medicines, alcohol, and cleaning products.
• Keep the Poison Control number by all your phones
       POISON CONTROL CENTER 1-800-222-1222
• Small round items are dangerous playthings—pennies included
• Use a car seat and face it forward in the backseat of the car

More

• Children begin to show readiness for toilet training between 18 months and 30    months of age. Use praise and encouragement.
• Your child may misbehave a lot in the next few months — Remember, you are    the parent and he/she is the child.
• ENJOY YOUR LITTLE PERSON!


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2 Year Checkup

Playtime

  • Child can build a tower with 4-6 blocks
  • Child can take off his/her own clothes
  • Child will “pretend” play (i.e.: pretending to feed a baby-doll, pretending to cook, etc.)
  • Child has a vocabulary of 30-50 words and speaks in short 2-3 word phrases and sentences.  Speech may be half understandable at this age.
  • Child can point to and name around 6 body parts (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc.)
  • Child can kick a ball and can walk up stairs one at a time
  • Spent time with your child, playing with their toys, reading, singing, etc.
  • Your child should be sleeping 10-12 hours at night, and taking 1-2 naps a day
  • Bedtime rituals are important
  • Security objects (stuffed animals, blankets, etc.) are common at this age

Discipline

  • Negativism (saying no) is normal – your child is trying to do everything by him/herself
  • Praise good behavior
  • Discipline should be consistent and should not make your child feel ashamed
  • Time-out is effective. Place your child in a safe, “no-fun” place (no toys around). One minute of time-out for each year of age (i.e.: 2 years old – 2 minute time-out)

Nutrition

  • Low-fat milk, 16-24 ounces (2-3 cups) each day
  • Healthy snack choices – fruits, vegetables, cereal – not potato chips or cookies
  • Do not give small, round, hard food (peanuts, popcorn, meats, raw carrots, grapes, hot dogs)
  • Always stay with your child when he/she is eating.
  • Don't become a short order cook, and don't make mealtime a battle
  • If your child does not eat what is offered at a meal, wait until the next meal (or snack time) to feed him/her again. Don't give extra juice, milk or “junk” food.
  • If throwing food is a problem, give your child a warning. If throwing continues, then tell your child that mealtime is over and take the food away. Hungry children do not throw their food—they eat it.

Safety

  • Accidents are now the biggest threat to your child's safety. It is your job to prevent accidents
  • Lock power tools and guns away, keep matches and lighters away from your child, always watch child in the kitchen around hot objects, etc.
  • Remember electric plug covers, gates for stairs, and cabinet locks
  • Don't leave your child alone in the bathtub – even for a minute.
  • Empty wash buckets when finished using them.
  • Lock up all poisons, medicines, alcohol, and cleaning products.
  • Keep the Poison Control number by all your phones  
       POISON CONTROL CENTER 1-800-222-1222
  • Small round items are dangerous playthings—pennies included
  • Use a car seat and face it forward in the backseat of the car
  • Begin now using a helmet when child rides a tricycle, bicycle, or any other riding toy.

More

  • Height at 2 years of age is approximately half of adult height
  • Common fears at this age are being separated from parents, afraid of strangers, afraid of loud noises, afraid of large animals
  • Begin to let your child use a toothbrush. Remember to help him/her accomplish good brushing.
  • Children show readiness for toilet training between 18 and 30 months of age. Praise when he/she is successful, avoid punishment. Don't let potty training become a battle. Use praise and encouraging words.

 

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