Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Seven Month Old Developmental Check-In (Stage III, Midbrain and Subcortical Areas)

Damien, the day he turned seven months old

Early last June, sitting in a hospital bed holding my tiny newborn, all wrinkled, blotchy-skinned, and helpless, it was hard to fathom that in just a little over 200 days he would be creeping [crawling], standing, "talking", understanding, and charming at the level he is now.

Seven months passes by in the blink of an eye.

Seven months is also another benchmark age on the Developmental Profile for the average age for babies to achieve stage III brain function (using the midbrain and subcortical areas).

In speaking of the profile, the IAHP says

"The time schedule is highly variable and depends, not upon genetic factors, but rather upon the frequency, intensity and duration of the stimuli provided to the brain by the child's environment, which is notably and most often his family."

The idea is that the brain grows by use, not by some biological alarm clock. Opportunity, frequency, encouragement, and to a lesser decree, personality will determine development. Our goal is, of course, to give our baby as much of these things as possible and do all we can to help him, not hinder him.

Damien, 5 months, pauses his creeping adventures for a smile

1. Stage III Mobility: Creeping on hands and knees, culminating in cross pattern creeping

Age achieved: 5 months, 2 weeks old

Description: "Creeping" is what most of us know as "crawling" - that cute little hands and knees movement that typifies the picture of babyhood. "Cross pattern creeping" refers to the cross pattern exhibited when a baby uses his opposite extremities simultaneously to move while on his hands and knees - right arm and left leg go forward, then left arm and right leg go forward.

Damien achieved the official "cross pattern creeping" at five months old. He has been "crawling" in other formations - more or less scooting, hopping, lunging, twisting, and rolling - since four months. He has had movement on his stomach (pushing his legs off the ground and propelling himself forward) since birth.

His most current interest is pulling himself to standing, which he does essentially all day, every day, creeping around the house finding different pieces of furniture that can act as a support frame for his vertical position.

Damien, at four months, babbling on

2. Stage III Language: Creation of meaningful sounds

Age achieved: 1-2 months

Description: "Creation of meaningful sounds" is when the baby essentially begins to make noises, beyond a basic cry, that have meaning attached to them. He begins to be able to communicate not only his needs, but his wants, moods, feelings, and preferences. These are not necessarily first English words, but words for him nonetheless.

Damien began creating meaningful sound at about 1-2 months old. He began to coo when he was happy, "yell" when he wanted attention, and whine when he was tired.

At four months, Damien said his first English word - "dada". He still attaches meaning to that word and says it when he sees pictures of his dad. His second English word, "more" (which comes out more like "muh" or "mah") began the day he turned seven months old. Ever since then, he creeps up to me and says "muh" when he wants food, or while we are eating and he wants another bite. (So he has achieved stage IV language development, "Two words of speech used spontaneously and meaningfully", an average 12 month milestone).

Damien, at six months, practicing using the prehensile grasp with small objects

3. Stage III Manual: Prehensile grasp

Age achieved: 3 months

Description: The "prehensile grasp" is when a baby is able to voluntarily pick up objects using his whole hand. The four fingers and palm are mainly used, while the thumb is usually not.

Damien achieved the prehensile grasp at around at the end of his third month. The first object that he was able to easily grab and pick up were some of Hunter's nerf gun bullets. He is now working on the pincer grasp (picking up objects with thumb and forefinger) and has nearly mastered it (an average 12 month milestone).

Damien, at two months, had grown tired of his detail board and was looking around the room for new things

4. Stage III Visual Competence: Appreciation of detail within a configuration

Age achieved: 1.5 months old

Description: At birth, babies can see only light and dark. Soon after, babies begin to see outlines. The next step is being able to see "detail within a configuration", for example the details of mother's face within the outline of her head.

Damien achieved this stage of development at approximately 4-5 weeks of age. He began to smile in response to facial expressions (without sound). He began to study detail on his daddy's camouflage uniform, or the patterns on his bouncy seat. By two months, he was studying details from across the room.

By 5-6 months, he had achieved the next stage (level IV) of development: depth perception. At seven months now his depth perception is quite good - he creeps quickly and easily without running into things much anymore, and reaches well with good accuracy.

Damien, seven months, quite happy with himself that he is no longer afraid of the vacuum

5. Stage III Auditory Competence: Appreciation of meaningful sounds

Age achieved: 2 months

Description: Baby listens to many sounds in his environment from birth, and will soon begin to understand their meaning. For example, the bathtub water running, the door opening, and mother's voice. In family members' voices, he begins to understand the tone of voice and their meanings.

Damien began to be comforted by a soothing voice at around two months old. He started laughing at silliness, and being scared by upset voices. He was deathly afraid of the vacuum for a while, now he seems to have proudly conquered his fear.

Between one and four months, he also achieve the next stage (level IV) of development: "Understanding of two words of speech". At four weeks he began to understand the meaning of the word "nurse". Other words soon followed, including "potty" (and other words associated with it) and "up". 

Damien at two months, laughing with a tickle

6. Stage III Tactile Competence: Appreciation of gnostic sensation

Age achieved: 2 months

Description: "Gnostic" comes from the Greek root word for knowledge, "gnosis". Gnostic sensation means, literally, "knowing sensation". At birth babies cannot feel very well - they may not respond consistently to pain, hot, or cold. Soon they begin to respond to these more intense sensations quickly and instantly. The next stage is to be able to respond to more variances in sensation and be able to appreciate them - for example, the subtleties of cool and warm, the peaceful calm of a soothing massage, or the humor of a boisterous tickle.

Damien achieved this stage at about 2 months old. He began to respond to tickles, enjoy his infant massages, and notice the differences in textures and what made him comfortable or uncomfortable. At four months, he achieved stage IV, "Tactile understanding of the third dimension in objects which appear to be flat". This is when he started to notice small things (like specks on the floor), or things that clearly looked flat (like a piece of paper) and started feeling for them and trying to grab them.


So in summary, this is what my notes on Damien's little Developmental Profile look like (in the back of my How Smart is Your Baby book) for him at seven months, one day old:



He is still perfecting his stage IV (green) areas, but overall is doing very well. Environment really does make such a huge difference!

Thank you for your comments!

Damien is 7 months, 0 week old


  1. Thank-you so much for your updates!!
    They are so helpful, I'm in the process of putting my newborn kit together. I'm glad I started early and still have 19 weeks left. If my little man doesn't make an early appearance.

  2. Awesome, so excited for you. Good luck!

  3. Be sure to watch your child as they are picking up the small objects, they should not be puting them anywhere around their mouths.

  4. Every dad's favorite Scripture,

    "This is my beloved Son,in whom I am well pleased" Matthew 3:17
    American King James Version

    Also true in this case.

  5. I am so happy i was perusing and decided to read this one again. I have been having issues with my now 3 month old losing interest in a lot of the Doman activities. She doesn't care for the visual stimulation board and hasn't for about a month now, despises the crawling track at any angle but tries beautifully when on flat ground. She def makes meaningful sounds and spends a lot of time in my arms or her sling. She won't bother with cards unless the photo is complex and only briefly but will watch a computer screen for a good moment. I keep going back and forth as to whether she is surpassing me or I'm not trying hard enough... eh. Anyway, I feel better now. Thanks!

  6. Hi Elizabeth,

    You have made me a Doman convert. Seriously. I watched the photos of Damien standing at 7 months and I was completely shocked. Because my son is 7+ months and not even crawling the way Damien did at 5 months. I had been following the ‘average’ timelines I found in some books of what babies are supposed to do when. And they said babies crawl, walk, etc., when they are ready. And I was foolish enough to believe them.

    Now with your photos, I am convinced beyond all doubt that Doman’s methods work. Thank you so, so much for sharing those photos. It’s challenged everything the experts say/what I believed.

    My questions:
    1) Which of Doman’s books did you use to get him mobile early? Is it ‘How smart is your baby’? I’ve just ordered the book. (I already have Doman’s books on multiplying intelligence and baby reading).
    2) Which other resources did you use? I'm very interested.
    3) What advice would you give to a mum who wanted to replicate your success?

    Once again, thank you so, so much for sharing the photos. I’m now an avid follower of your blog and thanks to you, I've become another Doman Mom. Thank you once again.


Thank you for your comments!