Navigating Your Child’s Early Development

If there’s one thing that’s true among all children, it’s that they grow up fast!

This is particularly true in their early months and years, where it feels like milestone after milestone just whizzes by.

One minute you are admiring their first ever smile as you fill up their memory box, and the next you are teaching them how to do chores, applying for schools, answering annoying questions, dealing with a spoilt or ungrateful teenager or being peppered with uncomfortable adult questions!

While this can be incredibly exciting and a source of great pride for parents, it can make it hard for parents to keep up and know what to expect next when it comes to your baby’s physical, emotional and intellectual development.

Physical & Emotional

Introduction To Developmental Leaps

A baby development leap is when a child experiences a sudden leap in brain development.

Babies experience 10 unique leaps (or growth spurts) in the first 20 months of their lives, and each stage represents specific change and the learning of new skills (more on these later).

While each of the 10 are unique, they all have two phases: The Fussy Phase and The Skills Phase.

The Fussy stage results from your baby experiencing a lot of sensory changes at once, and as a result they will probably ask for mom or dad more often than usual.

Common signs and symptoms of the fussy stage include the 3 Cs: Crying, Crankiness and Clinginess.

The Skills stage is fairly self explanatory – once your child is over the initial shock of any changes, they will start to explore, and may begin doing new things and learning new skills like babbling, being more observant, exploring the new possibilities in their bodies and acquiring new skills like learning to count.

Tips & Advice During Development Leaps

Whether it’s leap 1 or leap 10, development leaps can be hard for parents and babies alike.

Some helpful tips and advice on what to do during development leaps, and how to survive leap 1 all the way to 10 include:

  • Reassure your child by giving them plenty of attention and cuddles to help them feel safe.
  • Remember that a development leap is not permanent, and it’s all part of your child’s incredible development, the learning of new skills and growing up.
  • Don’t neglect your needs or be afraid to enlist some help from close family members.
  • Consider letting your child sleep with a pacifier as the sucking action may soothe them, and playing white noise as it might be comforting.
  • Breastfeeding your baby to sleep might help them feel safer and more comfortable.
  • Consider staying at home more often during a leap, because your home environment is familiar and safe to your baby.
  • Be prepared for your child’s feeding and sleeping routines to change – for example fighting sleep more often or feeding at unusual times.

Stress & Negative Emotions

There’s no prizes for guessing who babies are most emotionally attuned to.

So when a parent or caregiver experiences and shows negative energy or bad energy, there’s a strong chance these emotions will be sensed and picked up by the child.

From around the age of 4 months, babies become more aware of their surroundings, and studies show that babies can indeed pick up on the energy that is being projected from others, and can therefore sense when someone is stressed, angry, depressed or in a bad mood.

You might be surprised to also learn that babies can experience stress, and it is often caused by a wide range of factors, including frustration, physical pain, negative home environment, separation anxiety and a change in other important areas such as starting daycare.

While babies cannot verbally tell you how they are feeling, they can communicate their stress in other ways, and some of the most common signs of a stressed child include:

Some common signs of stress in a baby include:

Signs of A Stressed Baby

  • Reduced eye contact and looking away.
  • Loud and excessive crying (more crying than usual).
  • A change in their sleep habit, especially sleeping less than before.
  • A change in their eating habit, which can be either overeating or a lack of appetite.
  • Inexpressive, blanks looks on their face.

Signs of A Stressed Toddler

  • Crying or having more tantrums than usual.
  • Having nightmares or other fears at bedtime.
  • Vomiting, constipation or an increase in bowl movement.
  • Trying to avoid certain people or situations.
  • Being more clingy.
  • Anger or sadness.
  • Needing more reassurance from mom or dad on seemingly trivial things.


Affection typically means different things depending on the age of your baby.

Looking happy to see you when you enter the room or they catch your eye is something that might happen when your little one is around 2 months old, while more obvious signs, such as kissing, cuddling and bigger smiles, often occur between the ages of 6-12 months.

As with many areas related to development, keep in mind that children develop at slightly different rates, so you definitely shouldn’t be concerned if your one year old still isn’t showing you much affection, as this can be perfectly normal.


If you’re planning on sending your child to daycare, you might be wondering what the best and worst ages to start are.

It is commonly believed that the best age to start daycare is when your child is between 12 to 18 months of age.

However, this is just a guide, and as every child is different and all family situations differ, there is no single best to put your baby in daycare, nursery, preschool or Kindergarten.

Signs that your baby is ready for daycare include:

  • Your child can stand and walk by themselves.
  • You feel they can play and interact with other children without constant supervision.
  • They can play independently (even for just short periods).
  • They are curious about the word around them and like learning and discovering new things.

Just as there is no best age, there is also no single worst age to start daycare either.

12 months is not necessarily better than 18, 24 or 36 months of age, because it’s much better to send your child to daycare when they are ready, which may be several months or even a year or more earlier or later compared to other babies.

The wrong age or worst age to send your child to daycare or nursery therefore varies from child to child, so parents should focus on the signs of readiness and finding a high-quality daycare, rather than worrying about your child’s exact age.


Motherhood can be equally as challenging at it is rewarding, and the job doesn’t stop just because your child is grown up.

You only need to look at our list of every mom needs a break quotes like this to prove the point: “Ever had a job where you had no experience, no training and lives are at stake? That’s called being a mom.”

Inspirational, encouraging and strong mom quotes like “it takes someone really brave to be a mother, someone strong to raise a child , and someone special to love someone more than herself” can be a great way to help you stay strong and get through some of the more challenging periods of being a mom.


An estimated 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble conceiving, and the numbers are the same for men, with 10% of all males who are attempting to conceive in the USA suffer from infertility.

Fertility treatment can sometimes help, but for some couples this procedure is unsuccessful, meaning some women simply can’t have a baby, which is heart-breaking.

One of the biggest pros of adoption is that it can be a god-send to those who cannot get pregnant, and enables them to raise a family despite their condition.

Many people wrongly assume that you must be married in order to adopt, but this is simply wrong – single men and women can can adopt a child, and between 2017 to 2019, singles made up 28% of all parents adopting from U.S. foster care.

However, whether your application is as a single person or as a couple, you should note that adoption in general has a fundamental “problem” of supply and demand, or to put it another way, there are more people looking to home a child than there are available children.

It is estimated that at any one time there are around 1 million families looking to adopt, which far exceeds the 110,000 children who are waiting to be adopted in the United States.

Lastly, keep in mind that parents do not get paid to adopt a child, and do not receive monthly payments to help offset the cost of raising their adopted son or daughter.

The confusion often comes down to foster children vs adopted children, because as a foster child is the ward of the state, they are technically under the care of the government, and it is therefore the government who is financially responsible for them until they become an adult.