Child
4th Aug 2020

In your baby’s first two years, miraculous things happen. Blink and you might miss them, within the first 24 months of their life your baby will learn to lift their head, crawl, walk, run, and climb.

In fact, in this relatively short period of time, your child will also learn to understand what is being said to them, and confidently express themselves. Additionally, their personality will begin to emerge as they explore their thoughts and feelings, and test their boundaries (1).

These developmental milestones all rely on a solid foundation of good health (2). But, with a new baby, it can be hard to know which experiences are normal, and which aren’t. If you have any concerns, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of your healthcare professional.

Explore some of the common experiences of a baby’s first two years of life.

Medically Diagnosed Infant Colic

Colic occurs in 1 in 5 infants, so it is very common. It may begin within your baby’s first few weeks of life but usually stops by 4 to 6 months of age.

Symptoms of colic include irritability, prolonged and recurrent periods of crying with no obvious cause, fussy feeding, a flushed face drawing the knees up to the chest, and arching the back.

It is thought to occur in infants because their gastrointestinal system is not fully developed yet, and  their ability to move food through their digestive system is not very strong. A baby with colic will cry excessively, and it’s often worse in the evening (3, 4). The symptoms of colic are very broad. If your baby is showing signs of colic, it is important to seek the advice of your healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.

Teething

Teething is the process of developing ‘baby’ teeth and usually begins at around six months of age. Children will normally have a full set of baby teeth by the time they turn three years old, but every child is different.

Proper nutrition, care, and maintenance each play a role in teething to help support your child’s healthy set of first teeth.

The teething experience is unique to each child, and they may experience none or all the teething symptoms. Some common symptoms include irritability, excess dribbling, flushed cheeks and trying to bite or chew anything they can get their hands on (5, 6).

Eczema

Eczema is a common skin concern in children, occurring in approximately 20% of children under the age of two, and usually beginning in the first few months of life.

The affected skin may be dry, red, and itchy, which can be uncomfortable for babies. Often there may not be an obvious cause for an eczema flare up.

The good news is that for most children, the condition will improve as they age (7, 8).

A Common Cold

In the first few years of life, young children may get as many as 12 viral illnesses per year. This is normal while a child’s immune system is still developing and they have had little to no previous contact with the bugs that cause these illnesses.

It is handy to keep in mind that children can get sick much more quickly than adults (9), but remember it is always important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. They can provide you will unique advice, tailored to your baby. Together you can help maintain your child’s optimal health and wellbeing.

References:

  1. McKay, S. (2018). Why the first two years is the most important time for your baby. Accessed 25 July 2019 < https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/child/child-development/why-the-first-two-years-is-the-most-important-time-for-your-baby/news-story/4437f918962ee6164d60d99cd9908330 >
  2. The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. (2019). Strong Foundations: Getting it Right in the First 1000 Days. Accessed 4 July 2019 < https://www.rch.org.au/ccch/first-thousand-days/ >
  3. Raising Children Network. (2017). Colic: What is it? Accessed 25 July 2019 < http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/colic_what_is_it.html >
  4. Australian Government Department of Health – Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. (2016). Colic in babies. Accessed 25 July 2019 < https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/colic-in-babies >
  5. Better Health Victoria. (2017). Teeth Development in Children. Accessed 25 July 2019 < https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/teeth-development-in-children >
  6. Government of Western Australia, Department of Health. Healthy WA – Teething and your baby. Accessed 25 July 2019 < http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/S_T/Teething-and-your-baby >
  7. Australasian Society of Chemical Immunology and Allergy. (2019). Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis). Accessed 25 July 2019 < https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/eczema >
  8. Raising Children Network. (2018). Eczema. Accessed 25 July 2019 < https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/a-z-health-reference/eczema >
  9. Australian Government Department of Health – Health Direct. (2017). Pregnancy, Birth & Baby – Colds and flu in babies and children, Accessed 25 July 2019. < https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/colds-and-flu-in-babies-and-children >
  10. The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. (2019). Vital Illnesses. Accessed 25 July 2019 < https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Viral_illnesses/ >

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