Infant Mental Health for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Timeline for Social-Emotional Development During the First Year of Life
Infant social-emotional development has a consistent trajectory in healthy babies. PNP monitoring of social-emotional development can help spot early issues in both physical and mental health.

Has short quiet alert periods
Recognizes mother’s unique odor
Prefers parents voices
Enjoys gentle touch

Two months
Improves ability to self-comfort
Smiles responsively
Has different cries for different needs

Four Months
Smiles spontaneously
Initiates social interaction
May use hands to self-comfort

Six months
Recognizes familiar faces
Notices strangers
Has longer social interactions
Pays attention to objects with parents

Nine months
Stranger anxiety
Actively seeks out parents for comfort and security

Twelve months
Secure attachment to parents and other significant caregivers
Distressed when separated from parents
Plays interactive games
Waves good-bye
Hands book or toy to caregiver when wants to hear story or play with particular object 

References and Resources:

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