Baby Rachelles Development Chronicled since Birth

 Most parents read books to determine what their babies should be doing at different stages during their first year, but this article chronicles baby Rachelle from birth to seven months. Her mother chronicled her development from birth to the present.  Baby Rachelle had several medical issues in utero and afterward, but it’s astounding to see the resiliency of this little one.

Baby Rachelle was born two months  prematurely, only 31 weeks gestational in her development; however, her sole problem was her weight at 2 lbs, 7.9 oz.  Besides being barely a handful; she was perfect. She never needed oxygen, or other machines to aid her, except for the feeding tube that was placed in her nose and went down to her belly since the doctors said she wasn’t ready to nurse or take a bottle.  Even at that age, she pulled on the pacifier pretty good, but she was not allowed to nurse. Two weeks after birth, her mother was finally allowed to start, attempted, to bottle feed her.  She was more than ready at 33 weeks gestational as she proved when the bottle was introduced.  After the NICU, nurse demonstrated how to ensure her tongue was under the nipple properly, she started finishing the 28 ml of breast milk in less than 5 minutes on some days.  They soon had to increase her intake.

Her mother notes how she began to “fill-out” and her small frame soon became filled with fat to cover and protect her inner bone structure.  The doctors checked on her daily to ensure everything was satisfactory.  By week four, the temperature inside the incubator was cooler than the air outside of it.  Her parents  no longer had to “kangaroo” hold her (place her inside their clothes or against their flesh to keep her warm). She could  regulate her own body temperature.  The nurse on duty decided it was time to move her out of the incubator and into a regular bassinet. She also decided the parents would feed her from a bottle at each feeding. Her mother started to nurse her as well. 

By week five, everything fell in place. Baby Rachelle was 3 lbs 15 oz and steadily gained weight.  Her stellar progress prompted her doctors to allow her to go home.

Color recognition

When baby Rachelle was in the NICU,  a nurse told her mother colors were not obvious to her. They gave the Mom a white card with a black kitten face on it to hold in front of  the baby’s face in order to determine whether she was cognizant of it. Baby Rachelle was very observant of the card and would follow it with her eyes as Mom and nurse moved it slowly across her view.

Over the next seven months, baby Rachelle’s ability to recognize bright colors has developed or at least become obvious.   She notices lettering on her Mom’s shirts and often tries to pull them off.  Whenever she is near an item with any type of print, she grasps at the print as though to remove it from the object.  This actually allows her to work on using her fine motor skills as she tries to use her little fingers to pry at the graphics. Her parents purchased her, a teething book and some soft square toys that are full of color.  Two of the squares have a small bell inside, and when she picks them up the bells cling softly together. The other two make a crinkling noise when she grabs them, and gives the sound of waddling paper up. The teething book also gives off the waddling sound when she touches it.

At seven months, her mother bought her an activity-center-style- stationary Walker.  It is full of colors and sounds with which to entertain her. She discovered if she hits certain areas she can make music.  Her seat spins around, and she goes from one toy to the next entertaining herself when in the center. 

Sound recognition

At almost eight months, her Mom bought a Baby Mozart CD that she plays every night as she prepares Rachelle for her bath, and throughout the entire process of bathing and getting her ready for bed.  When the music starts, she always turns to look in the direction of the radio, as though she knows exactly where it is coming from.  Then she turns to her mother and smiles. 

Baby Rachelle recognizes voices as well.  When her grandmother holds her and her Mom says something from a different room, baby Rachelle turns to look for her, and by the time she makes it in the room with her, she bounces up and down to get to her.  She also knows her maternal grandmother’s voice. Each morning when she arrives to baby sit, if baby Rachelle is awake, and she hears Nana’s voice her beautiful eyes light up as tough to say “Granny’s here!” 

Baby Rachelle has discovered she, too, has a voice and can make very loud sounds. She likes to scream and wait to see whether her Mom will also scream. Then she laughs and does it all over again. She loves to watch “Cat in the Hat” and “Super Why.”  The songs and use of color in these shows hold her attention much longer than her mother or doctor thought they would.  She will focus on the screen, as though she knows what is going on in the show.  Her Mom likes them because they are educational shows.

Attentiveness and Alertness

When  her Mom reads,  she looks inquisitively at the pages in the books, as though she is following along. Sometimes she reaches out and wants to turn the page.  Her mom sings to her, and she loves it; especially if she dances around with her. She giggles and laughs out loud.  If Mom claps her hands, she watches the motion. She becomes fascinated by the sound and tries to figure it all out.  Even in church when hands are lifted high she  watches in awe at all the action.  As our Pastor preaches, if she is awake, she stands in her Mom’s lap (or her godmothers lap) and turn towards him to listen. Sometimes she tries talking back to him!

Her Mom sees her personality beginning to take hold, and she’s becoming a bit mercurial and unpredictable. Some morning when her Mom comes towards her with the wet wash cloth to wash her face, she squints and gets in a snit if the towel makes contact with her face, even before her Mom gets to her.  Other mornings she lifts her head in her Mom’s direction as if she is ready for her face to be washed. 

Rolling Walker and Play Mats

At nearly eight months, baby Rachelle has a movable walker.  She loves to stand and even will attempt to take steps, with assistance of course.  The Walker is helping her continue to develop her gross motor skills, and strengthening her legs.  She is actually able to make it go backwards, but her Mom’s not sure whether she is aware of what she is doing.

When not in her Walker, her Mom likes to put her on the floor, so she can scoot/crawl around or roll all over the place.  She started with a queen-size  comforter on the floor for her to play on, but eventually purchased a playmate that doesn’t take up as much walking space, and it is also soft so if she is sitting up and should fall over, it cushions her short fall.  She hasn’t mastered sitting herself up, yet, but she is better at keeping herself from falling over.  She can  use her arms to lift or push herself back in position.

She has mastered rolling from the front to back and back to front.  At nearly eight months, she has not quite mastered crawling, but she can  scoot where she wants to go.  She has become quite adept at this motion and moves about quickly.  Her Mom keeps her on the mat or comforter so that she doesn’t get carpet burns on her shoulders from her scooting technique.

It seems, despite starting life at a slight disadvantage, baby Rachelle is meeting, and in several instances, exceeding many of her milestones.