Physical development of your baby

Your child will make a decent physical development: If your child is born, he still has a number of reflexes available. These reflexes stem from his natural instinct that is aimed at surviving outside the womb.

Your child makes these movements automatically; without realizing that he is making these movements. In the course of time the reflexes will automatically disappear again. This happens when the brain of your child has learned how to tell the body to make these movements.

Physical development - Reflexes

Walking reflex

The walking reflex: If you support your child under his armpits and you hold him above a flat surface, your child will make the movements as if he wants to walk. He keeps this reflex until he is about two months old.

Cheek, search or suction reflex

Cheek, search or sucking reflex: If you gently rub your child's cheek, he will turn his head and open his mouth. He does this because he is looking for his mother's nipple. As soon as he feels something in his mouth, he will begin to suck.
Your child will continue to do this until he is about four months old.

Swallow reflex and gag reflex

Swallow reflex and gag reflex: Your child can swallow right after birth. Fortunately, because that way he gets his food inside. If he receives too much nutrition, the gag reflex prevents your child from suffocating.

Grab reflex

The grasp reflex: In a relaxed position, your child will grab everything that touches his hand. His grip is so strong that when he grabs himself with both hands, he can carry his whole body.

Shock or Mororeflex

The fright or moreflex: If your child is frightened by something, he will make a movement with his arms and legs and stretch his fingers. This reflex often ends with a violent cry. He will continue to do so until he is about six months old.


The babysare reflex is: If you tickle gently over his foot pad, he will raise his big toe and spread his toes.

Tonic neck reflex

The tonic neck reflex: When your child is put on his back he will adopt a screen posture. His head turns to one side and his arms and legs are stretched out on that side. The limbs on the other side of his body remain bent.
If you put your child on his stomach, he turns his head to one side and pulls up his legs until his knees lie against his lower abdomen. He presses his arms firmly against his body and he clenches his hands into fists.

Physical development - From lying to walking

If your child is about two to three months old, he begins to learn how to use and control his body. His neck muscles become stronger so that he can keep his head more stable. Shortly after his birth, he can not keep his head upright, but around this period he can manage it for a few minutes if you let him sit on your lap. He keeps his little back bent.
When he lies on his belly he can lift his head and hold it up and also with his chest from the ground. He presses himself on his hands, wrists and arms.
Never leave him alone on the changing mat because he loves to kick with his legs and waving his arms.
His muscles develop quickly because with about four to five months he learns to control his head.

Head upright

He then easily moves it back and forth without wobbling. He can now also keep his head upright when he is sitting upright, but his head then swings a little back and forth. When he is lying on his stomach on the floor, he can lift his chest and look forward while resting on his arms.
But muscle development naturally continues. With about six to seven months, he suddenly makes a big leap. If he is lying on his belly and he wants to push himself up, he does not have to use both his arms, but he has enough on one arm. When he is lying on his back, he can lift his head and look around. With a bit of luck he can also consciously roll over from his back to his belly.


With about eight to nine months he does not just want to sit anymore, he will try to stand. He still needs the necessary furniture to get up to it. If he succeeds, he will soon fall over again because he does not have the balance or coordination to sit down again in a controlled manner. He can now sit up straight without getting tired and he will keep this up for about ten minutes. He can lean forward without falling. If he has a toy in sight, he wants to take it and try to get it in some way. If you put him on his stomach, he will try to make crawling movements. His brain does not yet know which muscles to use to get ahead, so maybe he'll crawl back in the first place.

Crawling / abdominal sliding

With nine to ten months your child can finally move independently. He crawls or slides around his belly and pulls himself with his hands and he does this very consciously and will love it. He can easily stand up to standing and can almost execute the movement from sitting to sitting without falling. The most important aspect of this development is that he is now beginning to feel a sense of balance. If he is lying on his belly, he can get himself in a sitting position. And once he is seated, he is perfectly balanced.

First steps

The next period (ten to eleven months) is reserved for the first steps. He has learned how to stand and is now also trying to lift a foot when he stands. He naturally sticks to everything that is in his neighborhood. Maybe you can let him hold a few steps with two hands.
Crawling is going faster and faster and you will not be able to see anything.

Physical development - From fluttering to building

Newborn babies still have a reflex to grab everything that goes against their hand and then no longer let go. The reflex will disappear in the course of time and it takes a while before he understands that he has control over his hands and that he can consciously take something. For the first three weeks, the hands are still fisted.

Open hands

With about one to two months, he completely loses his grip reflex. His hands are no longer clenched in a fist, but will usually be open. He gets sensitive fingertips and likes it when you hold it or massage it. If you keep a toy close to him, he will try to grab him. Unfortunately for him, his eye-hand coordination is not yet sufficiently developed and he will often misunderstand.

Discovery of the hands

But a little later, when your child is about four to five months old, he gets the realization that his hands are a great tool. But not only his hands, his toes can expect a thorough inspection in his mouth. Everything is being studied extensively in his mouth. Not surprising, because his mouth is the most sensitive part of the body.
He will rummage to everything and try to grab everything. He can enjoy himself with the crumpling of paper or a piece of cloth.

Control over his hands

As he gets older, his grip also becomes more and more precise. With about six to seven months he has more and more control over his hands. His mouth is still a large research laboratory, so be careful what your child gets in his hands. He can now grab something with one hand and does not need both hands anymore. He is going to use his fingers more and more to get something, instead of his palm.

Better grip

With about eight to nine months, his grip is getting better. He can always pick smaller items and even try to turn a page of a book, although this will often be multiple pages at the same time. He is now going to use his hands at the same time, for example, by taking a block in each hand and striking it against each other. Meanwhile, he also knows how the 'tweezer grip' works, holding an object between thumb and index finger.
Control over his index finger is an important milestone. This also allows him to point out things.

Eye-hand coordination

His motor skills are getting better and with nine to ten months he can keep getting an object between thumb and index finger. His eye-hand coordination has been improved a lot so he can easily pick up something small. He is now beginning to find it beautiful to drop something and then pick it up again. He also likes to mess around in bags and boxes. Stuff out, stuff in it.


In about eleven to twelve months he can move his wrists better and better. This allows him to use his hands better and better. His hands are therefore becoming increasingly important and will use his mouth less and less to investigate everything. He also gets the hang of getting better. Thanks to the improved eye-hand coordination, he is now also able to build a tower of two blocks.

Physical development - The first teeth

The first teeth appear when your baby is about 5 to 6 months old. Some children are not bothered by this at all and you notice it only when you can see the tooth that has come through. Other children can become a bit weepy and have a little more whining.
Your baby may sleep worse because he is suffering from the pain, he may also suffer from diarrhea and fever (although experts contradict each other about this). Once the tooth is through, all the ailments will disappear again just as quickly as they came.
There are some remedies to ease the pain a bit. Once the tooth is through, all the ailments will disappear again just as quickly as they came.

Video: Physical development in adolescence. Behavior. MCAT. Khan Academy

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