Growth and Development

Your baby will grow and develop very quickly in the first 6 months. Remember, every child is unique and will not grow and develop exactly the same as other babies.

Health Tips for Your Baby

One opportunity to talk to a Public Health nurse is the immunization clinic visit.

When you bring your child to your local health unit for an immunization appointment, you'll be asked to answer a few questions about your child’s growth and development.

There will be handouts for you to take with you that has information to help your child to grow and develop in the healthiest way for him or her. These are the questionnaires and health tips that will be available to you:

How to be a great parent

What can you do to help your baby grow and develop? As you provide a caring, nurturing and safe environment, your baby will feel secure and connected to you. This is the best place for your baby’s healthy growth and development. Learn more about emotional attachment for your baby's development.

View this video on your role as a parent with your baby.

Physical development

Babies will gain weight quickly over the first 6 months, often doubling their birth weight.

You may wonder if your baby is gaining enough weight. To ensure your child is on track with their growth, have your child’s growth checked regularly at 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months with your family doctor.

To learn more about what is recommended for your child’s growth check out: Is My Child Growing Well?

When will my baby roll over, lift their head up, crawl, or sit up? It seems that every day your baby can do more. Learn what to expect for your baby's physical development from birth to 6 months.

Tummy Time

Babies need to have supervised time on their stomachs several times throughout the day.

  • Tummy time helps baby’s necks, arms and backs to be stronger
  • Prevents a flat head
  • Encourages babies to learn to roll over and crawl

Getting started

  • Build it into your daily routine, when your baby is alert and happy
  • Start with seconds and gradually work up to minutes
  • Some babies may not like it much at first and will need your help to learn and get used to it

Learn more tummy time tips.

Safety tip: It’s important to only place babies on their stomachs on a firm surface when they are awake and when they can be under constant supervision.

Watch a video on your baby’s need for physical activity and tummy time.

Social and emotional development

Each month will bring new things: the first smile, crying, coos and gurgles (their early speech), focusing on your face, and turning their heads to follow your voice. Enjoy this special time as your baby discovers the world around them. Learn what to expect from month to month as your baby develops socially and emotionally.

Spend time skin to skin with your baby. Read, talk, sing, and respond right away to their cries.

This is not a time to worry about 'spoiling your baby', but rather a time to create a safe, warm and loving environment to foster the best growth for your child. Learn more about listening to your baby to understand what they are trying to tell you.

Watch this video on building attachment with your baby.

Hearing development

Knowing that your baby has good hearing is important. Babies start to learn to talk from the moment they are born. If your baby can’t hear well, he or she may have problems learning to talk.

After your baby is born, they will have a simple early hearing screening test done in the hospital. Newborn hearing tests are important because a lot can be done if hearing loss is caught when your baby is young. Visit our Hearing page to learn more.

Language development

Babies communicate their needs to you in their own way. Crying is the first way your baby 'talks'. Over time your baby will start to make noises, smile and focus your attention. Like any relationship, talk to your baby. Allow them time to respond back to you.

Babies love it when you talk, sing and even read to them. Learn songs to sing with your baby from around the world.

Learn more about how language skills develop from birth, visit babies' language development.

Watch this video on Ages and Stages to understand your role in helping your baby learn to talk.

Have concerns with your baby's speech development? Fraser Health has community speech langugage pathologist to support communication development for children ages 0-5 years.  Learn more about this service.

Play time

Singing, talking, playing and engaging with your baby is important for growing their brains. Learn more about how Playing Builds Brains

Having fun with your baby is key to becoming a great parent. It doesn't matter how you sound or how silly you feel, but rather the time you take to devote your attention to your baby. Need ideas? Visit Your Child and Play for activities to play with your baby.

Screen time

Parents hear conflicting messages about how much screen time - time with TV, computer, or digital technology is ok for a child.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends:

  • Children less then 2 years of age do not have any screen time.
  • Children age 2-4 have less then 2 hours per day.

Practice good role modeling as a parent. Turn off the iPad, TV or computer and play with your baby.

Baby groups

Baby groups are a great place to meet parents with children the same age as yours. Each community across Fraser Health has groups for new parents. Contact your local public health unit to find a program in your area.