WHAT IS A MILESTONE ?
Milestones are a series of numbered markers placed along the side of a road at intervals, often one “mile” apart. During the Roman Empire the milestones were constructed out of stone or granite, possibly explaining the “stone” part of “milestone.” They provide the traveler with reference points along a journey indicating distance traveled or distance remaining and reassurance that the proper path is being followed.
WHAT ARE BABY MILESTONES?
The first year development of a baby begins with an infant unable to move beyond the spot on the bed where you put her, and ends with a confident baby walking across the room without holding on. This in an incredible journey in physical skill, called motor skill. Baby milestones, including both gross motor skills and fine motor skills, are recognizable physical actions baby acquires along this journey from birth to independent walking. These motor skills usually occur sequentially as most babies crawl before they pull to stand, and they pull to stand before they walk. These milestones include rolling, crawling, cruising, and walking, and serve as the “road markers” along baby’s journey toward walking on her own!
The milestones are closely monitored by pediatricians with a developmental milestone chart which indicate the window of time in which baby often acquires each skill. For example, most babies walk independently by the age of 11 to 15 months. Baby milestones include not only motor skills acquisition, but also social and emotional, speech and language, and cognitive development.
3 reasons BABY MOTOR MILESTONES ARE IMPORTANT
- Each milestone prepares baby’s muscles and bones for the next motor skill. For example, the skills of lifting the head and rolling strengthen muscles and mobilize joints in a way that prepares baby to crawl. Crawling strengthens the legs and coordinates the limbs in a way that prepares the body for walking. This is why it is important to spend time in each milestone and not rush through them, what we call “mastering the milestones.”
- Stellar Caterpillar teaches that milestones are important measures of the micro-skills that baby is learning along the way. For example, rolling indicates that she can use her legs and pelvis to shift her weight, she is comfortable on her side, she has figured out how to initiate movement on her own. We can learn to identify and coach each of these micro-skills along the road to the major milestone of rolling. Then, baby rolls with confidence and joy rather than by accident or chance. She knows she is rolling and finds pleasure in it!
- In the medical community, the timely acquisition of each physical skill indicates the normal and healthy development cognitively as well as physically. A delay in acquiring a motor skill may indicate a neurological impairment. By identifying the physical delay, the physician can refer the baby to a therapist to receive guidance.
Baby motor milestones are important markers along the road to independent walking. But even more important are the micro-skills along the way. These mini motor skills develop strength and flexibility as well as improve baby’s self-image as she confidently masters moves on her own. Read Stellar Caterpillar website to understand the “Top 10 Movement Skills” and learn how to coach your baby’s journey to free and independent walking!