Being a mother is like riding a roller coaster blindfolded.
There are the huge thrills, where you’re zooming through life, overjoyed with every healthy baby smile and hiccup. Every second is cherished and tucked away in your heart.
Then there are the moments when your heart leaps into your throat and breathing suddenly seems like an effort. Perhaps it’s that congested little nose, or the fact that the neighbor baby is already crawling, and your baby isn’t the least bit interested in moving.
A tiny worm of doubt starts niggling it’s way into your mind…what if there’s something wrong?
Don’t worry, friend. Today we’re going to walk through the three universal signs of a healthy baby you should be watching for.
Your pediatrician should be a strong partner when it comes to keeping a healthy baby. Click here for help in deciding if you’ve partnered up with Dr. Right.
Healthy Baby Sign #1:
Eating (& Pooping) Regularly
It’s not rocket science to know that eating is an important part of healthy growth. It’s impossible to have any kind of growth without consuming something.
So the first clue in assessing a healthy baby is to track her consumption. (The doctor is going to ask anyway…you might as well come to the Well Child visits prepared and avoid feeling awkward when you don’t know the answer!)
I’m a pen-and-paper gal (yes, I totally get the irony…) so I always found using a baby tracker like this one beneficial. Another bonus of using a pen-and-paper tracker? You can stick it straight into their baby box when they are older as a cute little keepsake!
Just in case it hasn’t hit you yet…Poop is going to be a major part of your life from now on.
- For breastfeeders, counting dirty diapers is the best way to make sure your baby is eating enough.
- The color of your baby’s “extra nutrients” can give you strong clues about his overall health (and even if there’s something serious that warrants a doctor’s call). Not sure what colors mean what? Check out my gag-free poo color wheel.
- Constipation can plague babies on formula, or after they’ve started solid foods. Make sure you know how to handle the “Backed-Up Bowel” now before it pays a visit.
Ask your doctor how many wet and dirty diapers he’d like your baby to have, and then use your tracker to make sure you’re getting around that number. (Getting less can be a sign of dehydration or feeding issues.)
Healthy Baby Sign #2:
Normal Growth Patterns
Besides measuring what’s going in and out, the next sign you’re searching for in your healthy baby is normal growth patterns.
I hear you…How do I know what’s “normal”?
Easy. You use a baby growth chart.
These are scientific charts your doctor uses to see which percentile your baby lands in, compared to all the millions of other babies out there.
- Is he significantly bigger than other babies his age? *highfive*
- Or is he significantly smaller than most babies his age? *gulp*
The Milestone Marker eBook Series contains these baby growth charts (yes, the same ones your doctor is using), divided to measure your baby’s weight, height, and head-size.
I will also teach you exactly how to calculate and fill in the chart using I-Spy and Battleship techniques. (Because, let’s be honest, if it’s not going to be fun….it’s probably not going to happen!)
Estimated Weight Growth Goals
- By 3 months old, your baby should be 4.5 to 6 lbs (2-2.7 kg) heavier than his birth weight.
- By 6 months old, your baby should have doubled his birth weight.
- By 12 months old, your baby should have tripled his birth weight.
Estimated Height Growth Goals
- By 3 months old, your baby should have grown 3-4 inches (7.6 – 10cm).
- By 6 months old, your baby should have grown another 3 – 4.5 inches (7.6 – 11.4 cm).
- By 12 months old, your baby should have grown at least 10 inches (25 cm) from his original birth height.
If your baby isn’t matching these growth goals, don’t panic. Just pick up the phone and call your doctor for his thoughts and advice. Don’t borrow extra worries until an expert has indicated it’s justified. You’re exhausted enough as it is!
Healthy Baby Sign #3:
The third sign to identify a healthy baby is to track your child’s developmental milestones. These are the special skills your child has to learn, at certain ages, in order to grow into a fully capable adult.
There are zillions of websites that can tell you when your baby may start crawling…or give a giggle or two. But what about the little milestones that are so fun to watch and uncover?
- When will your baby start blowing spit bubbles?
- When will your baby first recognize you and Dad?
- When will your baby be able to throw a ball and do a silly dance?
- When will your baby be physically able to sleep through the night?
I’ve dug up (from dusty B.O.R.I.N.G. books) over 125 different milestone challenges your baby will conquer from birth to 2 years old. Not only can you track what he’s currently working on, you can use the activities inside to help him practice the skills coming up!
I’ve split all those milestone challenges up according to age, and then according to categories. Each age group will contain milestones focused on…
- Motor Skill Development ~ moving hands, arms, legs, etc.
- Relational Skill Development ~ bonding with others in the family
- Communication Skill Development ~ expressing desires and needs to others
- Learning Skill Development ~ understanding how to interact with the world
- Sleeping Skill Development ~ learning how to fall asleep on their own (and stay that way)
Tracking More Than Just Milestones (i.e. Memories)
It’s helpful, I guess, to mark down that David’s first real tummy-chuckle happened on the 15th of May…but the real gem is to mark down that it happened on the 15th of May because Daddy had a sneezing fit.
There’s something about having extra space to write down the memories that prompted these accomplishments that turns The Milestone Marker into more than just a helpful workbook. It quickly becomes a memory book as well.
I know it may seem hard to believe, but some day you’re not going to remember what your baby’s first word was…or what motivated that first army crawl across the living room.
The Milestone Marker serves as an impromptu baby book…something you can print off, stick in a 3-ring binder, and have on the coffee table – at your finger tips to catch the memories before they flutter out of your exhausted brain and are lost forever.
Replace Your Fear with Confidence
It’s hard to be afraid, when you’re confident in the outcome. If I had wings, I’d never be afraid to fly. If I was a black-belt Jiu Jitsu Master, I’d never be afraid to wander around alone in Chicago. (I said I wouldn’t be afraid…not that I wouldn’t be smart.)
As a parent, the best thing you can do is educate yourself on the difference between “normal” and “not normal”. This way, you can minimize the highs and lows of the mothering roller-coaster.
The Milestone Marker includes a section called “How to Spot a Delay” that very specifically lays out what are the warning signs that your child could be autistic or have some other form of mental handicap.
Remember, catching those things early (whether it’s autism or some other form of mental handicap) is often the best offense towards recovery.
Now isn’t the time to put your head in the sand! It’s time to put a strong cap on the worries, and proceed to the doctor’s office, knowing that he will be able to give you the best advice on how to help your baby grow up as healthy as possible.
- Will you end the day in awesomeness? or anxiousness?
- Will you fill your Facebook feed raving? or worrying?
Your baby has already been given a great blessing: You!
Arm yourself with the knowledge you need, and then move forward throughout the days and weeks ahead, celebrating those milestone achievements and capturing the memories that go with them!
Have You Read These Yet?
- How to Speed Up Your Baby’s Brain Development With Smart Toys
- Everything a New Mama Warrior Needs to Know about Baby Care
- How to Spot the Early Signs of Autism in Babies and Toddlers
- The Legally Blonde Guide to Being the Best Medical Advocate for Your Baby
- Paging Dr. Right: 7 Steps to Find Your Perfect Pediatrician
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Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.