Sleepy baby rubbing eye.

Activities to support your baby's physical growth and development

Your baby grows more in the first year than any other time. While every baby is different in how much growth occurs, you can help by providing the right support and nutrition.

What is the difference between your baby's physical growth and development?

Your baby's physical growth indicates the increase in his length and weight, while development refers to his ability to engage in more coordinated actions and thought processes. The first year is crucial for cognitive, social, emotional, and language skills, as well as for physical development.

Your baby's physical growth in year 1

Infants range in size and grow at different rates. While there are general guidelines, if your baby is above or below these averages, there's no reason for concern.

  • From birth to 6 months, you can expect your infant to grow 1/2 to 1 inch a month and gain 5 to 7 ounces a week.* By 5 to 6 months of age, he might double his original birth weight.
  • From 6 to 12 months, your infant might grow 3/8 inch each month and gain 3 to 5 ounces a week.* By 12 months, he might have tripled his original birth weight.
  • It is important to note that your baby's specific height and weight are not as important as making sure that there is a steady rate of growth.

*Source: Mayo Clinic

Your baby's cognitive abilities grow physically as well:

  • Approximately 75% of your baby's brain growth takes place during the first year.
  • A newborn's vision is often blurry, but by 6 months your baby sees the world pretty much as you do.

How to support your baby's physical growth

Be sure your infant is active. Interactive play, which in the first few months could be nothing more than your baby lying on his stomach, can encourage movement and bonding with your baby, as well as development in critical areas.

Help your baby get enough rest. Infants need more sleep than older children, so be sure to alternate learning activities with sleep. Learn to recognize your baby's cues that indicate a nap or bedtime is needed.

Maintain balanced nutrition now and in the months and years to come. If you have any questions about what you or your baby should be eating, from pregnancy through your baby's first year, Feeding Expert offers live nutritional support.

Discuss any questions you have, no matter how minor, with your health care professional. It's only a bad question if you don't know the answer.

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