From birth through puberty, every stage of your child’s life brings new milestones – and new questions. Rainbow pediatricians provide guidance for the concerns they hear most often:
When do babies start to talk, crawl and walk?
One of the most exciting things about being a parent is watching your child learn and grow. While every child is different, there are some predictable ages at which, on average, most children should show you a new skill (developmental milestone). You and your pediatrician will be paying attention to your child’s development and will decide if things are happening on-time or if they are delayed. Be sure to let your pediatrician know if you have any concerns about when or how your child meets her milestones.
Talking: Babies start communicating with us from the moment they are born. They start by watching our faces for non-verbal cues and by listening to the sounds and tone of our voices and the words we use. Most babies will start cooing and laughing by two to three months. Next, you might hear your baby “jargoning” or “babbling,” where he will express the tones and inflections of speech without words that we adults recognize. Most babies will start experimenting with consonant sounds (like ba-ba-ba or da-da-da) between seven and ten months of age, and most children with have a few words (commonly, “mama”, “dada”, plus one additional word) by their first birthday.
Walking: To walk, your baby has to develop the strength and coordination to pull to stand, balance on two feet, and then keep that balance while moving. On average, babies will start “cruising” (pulling to stand and walking along furniture for support) by about nine months, and will start walking on their own around their first birthday.
Crawling: Believe it or not, crawling is not actually a developmental milestone! While many babies will learn to crawl before they learn to pull to stand or cruise, some never do. They may get around by rolling, or scooting on their back or bottom, or they may skip crawling altogether in favor of two-footed locomotion.
How much sleep do babies (children) need?
Babies and children need LOTS of sleep! Most babies do not have a regular sleep schedule until they are around six months old. Newborns will sleep in one to two hour increments for up to 18 hours of the day and may be equally alert or sleepy during the day or night. Usually by one month of age, infants will consolidate some of their sleep for longer stretches, and by two to three months, many infants will settle into a three nap per day plus overnight schedule. By six months, infants will sleep approximately 14 hours per day, while one year-olds sleep just under 14 hours per day. Toddlers will often resist going to sleep – they don’t want to miss anything! Having a set nighttime routine with consistent bedtime can help your toddler get the rest they need.
What are normal bowel movements?
Everyone is different when it comes to bowel movements. Most children have bowel movements daily to every other day, but for some, more than once a day or only once a week can be normal. Bowel movements should be soft and passed without difficulty. Bowel movements that are hard in consistency and difficult to pass can be a sign of constipation. Very loose or watery stools are abnormal, as well as white, black, or bloody stool.
What is normal urination?
Most infants urinate 8-10 times per day, and this slows down as they age. Once bladder control is reached, most children urinate 4-5 times per day.
How do I know if my child has asthma?
Signs of asthma include shortness of breath, as well as coughing or wheezing during activity or exposure to cold air, smoke, or other lung irritants. Over time, if coughing at night or wheezing becomes a prominent symptom during routine viral infections, it can also be a sign of asthma.
How do I know if my child is diabetic?
Signs of diabetes include excessive thirst and urinating more than usual. A child who has been toilet trained for a while may also start to have accidents with urination if they have diabetes. Other signs include weight loss and vomiting.
When can my child sit in the car without a booster seat?
Children should ride in a booster seat until they are eight years old, 80 pounds, AND four foot nine inches tall. They must meet all of these before safely riding in car with the seat belt only.
Do we need to use sunscreen on children?
Sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 should be used consistently starting at six months of age when you are out in the sun. Try to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating. Before six months of age, try to keep your child out of the sun as much as possible (sun hats strollers with a canopy are helpful).
What are the signs of puberty and how long does it last?
Puberty begins in girls with breast development and in boys with enlargement of the testicles. Other signs of puberty include pubic and underarm hair, acne, body odor, physical growth, and periods (in girls). Girls begin puberty between eight and 13 years of age, and boys begin puberty between nine and 14. Puberty lasts until it is over! It can take from two to five years to progress through the physical stages of puberty.
How do I know if my child has mono?
Mono – or mononucleosis – is a viral illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Younger children often have mild symptoms like sore throat and fever that go away in a few days. Older children and adolescents can develop a more severe sore throat, fever, and fatigue. They may also have swollen glands (lymph nodes) on their neck. If your child or adolescent has any of these symptoms, or if you are concerned they may have mono, you should make an appointment with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician can do blood tests to help diagnose mono.