Narrator: Babies are very social. They learn through the interactions and experiences they share with the people in their lives. The things you do with your baby everyday – like comforting, talking, feeding and playing – are great opportunities to interact and help your baby develop well.
When you touch and cuddle your baby gently, they learn that they’re loved, safe and secure.
Conversation is great too. Your baby will want to communicate with you, usually through babbling and body language. When you respond by smiling, nodding, talking or making sounds, your baby will feel important and valued. These back-and-forth interactions support your baby’s brain development and help them learn to think, talk and communicate.
Starting solid food from around 6 months is important for your baby’s nutrition. Mealtimes also offer lots of opportunities for learning and bonding. Try talking about foods – their colours, textures, names and tastes – to help your baby understand new concepts and develop language skills.
Encourage your baby to use their fingers to pick up food and put it in their mouth. This will build their fine motor skills. Offer your baby a spoon to practise eating with. This will help your baby develop coordination as well as support their independence.
Play is a great way to connect with your baby. Activities like singing, reading, moving together, and playing peekaboo are lots of fun. They also give your baby the chance to develop skills, like thinking, communicating, socialising and moving.
It’s a good idea to make sure your baby has their routine health checks. This is a great way to pick up early signs of developmental concerns and get professional help.
Some of the behaviour signs to talk to a health professional about include if your baby does not smile at you or if your baby does not seem to show emotions.
Some of the seeing and hearing signs to get checked out include if your baby does not make eye contact, if your baby’s eyes point in different directions, if your baby does not babble, or if your baby does not turn their head towards sounds.
Some key physical signs to look out for include if your baby isn’t rolling over by around 5 to 6 months old or if your baby isn’t sitting up on their own by around 9 months old.
It’s important to remember that you know your baby best. If you’re worried at all about your baby’s development or you notice that your baby has lost skills they had before, make an appointment to talk to your child and family health nurse or GP.