The first year of a baby’s life is the most crucial year for a child’s development. Babies develop their skills gradually. It’s so overwhelming to see your newborn doing new activities every day, but these abilities don’t develop overnight. Babies put a lot of effort and handwork to achieve these motor skills. There are a lot of new parents frequently asking questions around baby development including when babies typically hold their head, sit up, roll over crawl and finally walk.
Motor skills refer to the body’s ability to manage the process of movement. Gross Motor skills involve baby’s milestone like holding head, sitting, crawling and walking.
Every parent wants to know if their child’s development is on track or not. Below are the age when normally babies start showing that they are ready to sit and the age when they finally sit without support.
When do babies start sitting
Normally a baby starts to sit with support at around 5 months to 6 months and without support at around 7 to 9 months. Holding head control and having enough upper body strength is a must for a baby before he/ she is able to sit up on their own. At 9 months babies can sit without any support and easily get in and out of sitting position. When your baby starts sitting up, you should provide support to his back. There are chances that he may lose his balance and hit his head on the floor.
When to consult a doctor
Usually a child who is late doing certain activities catches up to other children. But sometimes, developing late is the sign of a health condition. In case your baby is unable to sit upright without support by the end of nine months, you should consult your doctor. There are many causes of such delay in a child’s development, few are listed below.
- Premature birth
- Cerebral Palsy (brain damage before birth)
- Myopathy (a disease of muscles)
- Brain injury
- Ataxia (defective muscle coordination)
- Problems with vision
- Spina Bifida (birth defect in the baby that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not develop completely)
How to help your baby in sitting
Right from the beginning you can help your child to achieve their milestones on time. Here are some tips on how you can help your baby to sit on time.
Holding the baby:
Holding the baby in an upright position on your shoulder. The baby tries to control the head position by using his/ her neck muscles. You can start this from the 2nd month, support the baby from the upper body then gradually move towards the hip. This will help them in strengthening their neck muscles.
Give your baby plenty of tummy time. Lay your baby on his tummy and place the toys he/ she likes in front of them. It helps strengthen your baby’s arms, legs, torso, as well as his neck muscles.
When you place them on their tummy they will begin to push up on their arm. Tummy to side rolling is most common in babies at the age of 4 months. By 6 months most babies have gained enough abdominal strength to flip in both directions and roll over from their back to front. Rolling over helps strengthen the upper body and neck muscles that your baby needs to sit up. So always encourage your baby to roll over by placing toys or books near to them, so that they roll over to reach those things.
Sitting with support:
Once the baby gains control over their head, you can encourage them to sit by placing a pillow around them for support. Be careful and stay close to help them if they fall.Try sitting them on the floor while holding their back up straight. This helps improve their muscle control and coordination.
Foods to improve motor skill:
As soon as your baby is 6 months, taking care of their diet is very important, as food or nutrients that they get from food is key for a child’s development on time. Nutrients like protein helps in muscle strengthening, calcium and vitamin d promotes bone health and the foods that promote brain health like omega 3 fatty acids, as this milestone involve the brain and body’s muscles to work together. Below are the foods that help in a child’s development for sitting.
It is really important to get strong bones and we get a chance to build them only once – throughout childhood and adolescence. Children who get enough calcium in childhood start their adult lives with the strongest bones possible. Mostly calcium is stored in bones and teeth where it supports their structure and hardness, but the body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. Calcium is predominantly found in milk and milk based products like cheese. And is also found in smaller quantities in some nuts and seeds. (Should kids take whey protein?) Moreover, few herbs such as shallaki also contain calcium.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and works with it to build strong bones. It moves calcium from the intestine to the bloodstream and into the bones. If you are thinking that your child is getting enough vitamin D only by drinking milk, then you may be partially correct. Recent study shows that most of the children are not getting essential vitamins and minerals, and especially vitamin D. Some children with low vitamin D complain of pain in the legs and body. Very low vitamin D can lead to soft bones, causing rickets, a bone softening disease and also increase the risk of bone fracture in children. From age 9 – 18 children need more calcium to meet the daily recommended intake.
Research has established a link between omega 3 fatty acids and brain development in early childhood. These healthy fats have amazing brain boosting power and play a vital role in enhancing memory and attention span. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered as critical brain foods that may counteract oxidative stress and inflammations, two drivers of cognitive decline which may also result in motor skill delay.
All the nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and help in boosting memory. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are a valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. This fatty acid also encourages cognitive functions. ( best nuts for protein)
Apart from nuts, seeds like flex, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and much higher in zinc than other seeds, which help in increasing concentration, memory and thus helps in better coordination.
Ayurveda has the potential to not only correct imbalances in our children, but also to set them on an enduring path toward optimal health and well-being. Thus, ayurvedic herbs must be included in the list of health foods for kids. Ayurvedic herbs such as ashwagandha, mulethi, brahmi, shallaki and turmeric are great for kids’ development. Overall, these herbs support immunity, bone strength, brain development and overall growth.
Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body or naturally found in some foods that scavenge or neutralize the effects of cell damage by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. Fortunately eating a diet rich in antioxidants or antioxidant rich foods help to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Turmeric, Vitamin E, cocoa, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Selenium, Beta carotene, Lycopene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Manganese, Polyphenols show great antioxidant properties.
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