They begin seeing the world from your arms...but not for long! Soon they start wriggling and sitting up and crawling around; and before you know it, they let go of your little finger to sprint ahead! Ah, yes, they grow up too soon. But before your little bundle of joy does that, here's a handy note on what to expect from her as she learns to become more mobile over the next few months.
This is the first stage of a baby's development of motor skills and also the most important one. That's because it is the foundation for all the next stages. The neck muscles of infants are weak at birth (that's why elders in the family keep reminding us to cradle the neck while holding the baby). By the end of the first month, babies are able to lift their head a little while lying on their tummy. At around 7 to 8 weeks, they can raise their head while lying on their back too, and by the end of 3 (or 4) months, they can lift their head at 45 degrees, and keep it steady. Spend time with your baby playing games that will not only entertain her but also strengthen her neck muscles. For example, while she is lying on the back, slowly pull her up by her hands to a sitting position, and then slowly let her her back down. Repeat this in sets of 3 or 4 and see her hold her head firmly in line with the rest of her body as you pull her up.
Once your baby masters head control, the next step is rolling over. This means they can flip on their tummy after lying on their back and vice versa. This can be expected at the end of 3 months. This is the time you will also see her kicking and flapping her arms around. Some are reflexive jerks, but she would be experimenting a lot with what her arms and legs can do. These natural exercises help build stronger muscles and polish her roll-over skills. Make sure you never leave her lying alone on the bed once she has mastered the art of rolling over!
Only after the child holds her head steady while being upright, is she able to sit well with support. In the beginning she will need your help to get into the sitting position, but once you feel she is able to hold herself steady for a few seconds, you can let go while staying close. Chances are she will slump over to the side because she hasn't quite mastered the balancing act yet. Gradually, babies figure learn to maintain balance by leaning forward on one or both arms. Between 6 and 8 months, they are able to sit unaided with their back straight. You can surround her with toys and play gyms, and watch her amuse herself happily, without your help!
By 6 months, when babies have mastered mini push-ups and gained stronger arms, they may start shuffling around on their tummies-this is called commando crawling. Their very next instinct is to push off with the knees, setting the body in a crawling position. Between 6 and 8 months, they would also learn to go from a crawling position into a sitting position, and vice versa. It usually takes about 1 month for babies to master the crawling stage, when they also learn to cross-crawl (moving one arm and the opposite leg together) to go forward. Encourage your child to spend time lying on her tummy as it is known that babies who play on their tummies for long are likely to crawl earlier.