Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...


Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. The word “mastitis” is derived from the Greek word “mastos” meaning “breasts”, while the suffix “-itis” denotes “inflammation”. Ma...

Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...


Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...


The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Growth & Development

Baby will now gain an average of 600 grams per month, he will grow approximately 6 cm in length and his head circumference will increase by 2.5 to 3 cm over the next 3 to 4 months. It is generally accepted that a baby will double its birth weight by 4 months. One of the fastest growing organs during the next few months is your baby’s brain. By continuing with regular clinic check-ups, his rate of growth will be monitored. Unusual growth rates can be picked up and monitored by the clinic nurse or paediatrician.


Up till now baby has been developing muscle control for eye and head movement, allowing him to follow your movements. Now he wants to get moving too but he has to learn to sit first. Muscle development will now focus on his torso muscles. First he will learn to raise his head by supporting his weight with his forearms and then gradually with his arms straight. This strengthens his back and stomach muscles so that he can keep his balance when sitting.  Most babies can sit using their arms for support and balance by 6 months, and completely unsupported by 8 months. Another skill important for sitting is being able to roll, first from his stomach to his back and then back to stomach. Whilst all the back and stomach muscles are developing in strength and coordination, baby has discovered a far more exciting skill – trying to support his weight on his feet and straightening his knees. You may think you are pulling him up to sit when he suddenly surprises you by locking his legs and up he comes to standing with a great big grin on his face and then he ‘jumps’ with even greater joy.

From around 4 months baby also discovers the use of his hands and anything he can get his fingers around gets pulled to his mouth so that he can explore it. (Not because he is hungry!) He will rake at objects to grasp them in a claw-like grip and then learn to transfer objects from one hand to another. He will also discover parts of his body that he was unaware of. Lying on his back, he will find his feet and suck his toes.

Vision (eye/hand coordination)

Baby’s vision continues to develop and mature over the next few months. He is beginning to enjoy more complex colours and patterns and he can see further than at birth. His eye muscles are more coordinated and he is able to track a moving object with greater ease and less noticeable squints. As his hands are developing so too is his eye/hand coordination and he is able to purposely grab those objects that catch his attention.

Listening and talking/hearing, making sounds

From birth baby has been listening to sounds and has always responded to the sound of his parents’ voices in particular. Now he is becoming more adept at distinguishing the actual words being said and even begins to respond to his own name. His response to this is his ability to babble, in quite a conversational way. He also likes to laugh and squeal with pleasure and excitement, as well as perfect his ability to gurgle, coo, and blow raspberries. By the time baby reaches 6 or 7 months he is actively imitating various sounds of speech. While it may only be at a year or more of age before the babbling becomes true speech, your baby is able to understand a great deal of what is being said to and around him.

Emotional and social development

This is the time that you really notice your baby’s personality developing. Up till now he has been observing everything happening in his world in a fairly passive way. He has also been preoccupied in having his basic needs like sleep, food and affection met. As he becomes more vocal, he doesn’t need to use his cry as his only means of communicating. He is becoming more attentive to the world and more eager to interact with that world. He is wanting to reach for and touch everything around him and if he is unable to do it on his own he will ‘ask’ for help. This could be done simply with a smile and a gurgle or with a great yell and a loud thump of the object closest to hand. One of your baby’s main objectives is to get your attention and how he goes about this is part of his inherent temperament. Is he gentle or boisterous, is he easy-going or easily upset, is he strong willed or quiet and shy? As your baby’s personality becomes more apparent together with his rapidly developing physical abilities you will find yourself adapting to his natural personality in a way that is best for both all of you as a family.

Playing and interacting

From birth, you may have been unsure what was actually going on in your baby’s head. It seemed that all he needed was having his basic needs of food, love and sleep met. You will start to see evidence that he’s not only absorbing information but also applying it to his day to day activities. Play is vital to a baby’s physical, mental, social, and emotional development, and best of all, babies at this age enjoy and actively respond to play. Remember that while toys can be fun and engaging, nothing beats the sound of your voice, the warmth of your touch, and simple human interactions.

One of the most important concepts that he will grasp in the next few months is the concept of cause and effect. This may happen quite by accident. He may grab a spoon and bang it on the table causing you to look up, startled, or he kicks in his pram and it wobbles around. Once he realises that he has initiated these interesting responses, he will look for more ways to make things happen to get a chain of responses. The favourite game is to drop a toy and watch you pick it up and pass it back to him only to have him repeat the exercise. He needs to do this to learn about his own personal ability to influence his environment.

A second concept that he will grasp is the principle of object permanence. Out of sight is no longer out of mind. During his first few months if something or someone wasn’t visible, they no longer existed. Now he understands that something hidden under a blanket still exists or that you may have left the room but you will return.

By playing games of pick-up-the-toy, or peek-a-boo, by giving him objects that he can interact with and by talking and explaining the world around him, you can help your baby get a better understanding of the world around him and prepare him for the next big milestones – walking and talking.