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Babies 0-12 Months | Stimulation and Development

Baby’s First Year Milestones

You have just had a baby and your whole life has changed considerably overnight. Apart from suffering from lack of sleep and having no time to yourself anymore, you are also constantly worrying about your baby’s development and whether he or she is on track and growing healthily. To help you feel a bit more at ease, let’s take a look at the average baby’s first year milestones. Just remember that every baby is different, and this is just a general guideline. So don’t get your knickers in a twist if your little one is not following the exact developmental milestones listed below. Watching your baby grow and develop is an amazing parenthood experience! Before you know it your bundle of joy will be walking and talking, so try to relax and enjoy every special moment while you can.


1 month
In the first month babies spend most of their time sleeping and feeding, but while they are awake they will attempt lifting their head for short periods of time, moving their head from side to side, making plenty of arm movements and keeping hands in fists. Babies will also turn to familiar voices, prefer human faces to other shapes, have strong grasp reflexes and respond to loud noises and bright light.

2 months
Waking periods will now last longer and babies will start making happy cooing noises instead of just crying. At two months old babies will also start following movements and smiling at familiar faces – such as mom, dad and siblings. And rest assured that the smile you are now getting is in response to you, not just a sign of gas!

3 months
Recognising people, imitating sounds, stiffening legs as if trying to stand when feet touches a surface and reaching for shiny dangling objects are all big developmental milestones in month three. Babies will by now also start bringing both hands together, show an interest in circular patterns and kick energetically – attempting to move. Your baby is rapidly developing a personality, and hand-eye coordination as well!

4 months
When your baby is four months old you will more than likely have the joy of hearing him laugh for the first time. Some babies also start sleeping through the night, although it’s normal if they don’t. By now you should also know your baby better, so that when he starts fussing you’ll be able to deal with it easily. In month four, babies can hold their heads up properly and will also try rolling over from tummy to back – and the other way around. Reacting to familiar food sources and trying to taste everything they can get their hands on, are other milestones to look out for.

5 months
Month five is essential when it comes to baby’s development. Most babies will by now attempt to sit with some support, see things across the room and start showing interest in small toys – using their hands in order to get to them. Your baby will also start teething and experimenting with the concept of cause and effect, which can be both interesting and testing for you!

6 months
Your baby is already half a year old! At six months babies can start eating solid food and will open their mouth when the spoon arrives. Babies will also make vowel sounds, hold on to their bottle and drink from a cup with help. Movement is now greater as well – babies will roll around trying to travel short distances on the floor. Many babies might also start understanding and showing response to language, as well as copying facial expressions.

7 months
Finger foods can be introduced at seven months, which means babies are able to start feeding themselves – although more might end up on the floor than in their mouth. Playtime also becomes more interesting for both baby and parents. Peek-a-boo is a popular game, along with blowing bubbles and imitating sounds. Your baby might also by now distinguish emotions by tone of voice.

8 months
You now have a keen little explorer on your hands, so if you haven’t already; it’s time to baby-proof your house. Tasting, chewing, sitting without support, talking in baby-language, testing gravity and trying to crawl are all developmental milestones in month eight. Your baby might also start reacting to his name and bonding with familiar people, but will still get anxious when taken away from parents. By now most babies will also be sleeping through the night, so you’ll be able to get more sleep and in turn have more energy to play with your baby when you’re both awake.

9 months
Although crawling is not an essential nine-month-milestone, many babies will start crawling by now. Some babies might even attempt walking, while others might not. Remember that every baby is different! But your baby is more than likely able to go from lying down on his or her tummy to sitting up on its own. Babies at nine months also love waving bye-bye and start developing a sense of identifying themselves in a mirror.

10 months
Your baby will by now understand simple words and react to them. Babies will also start pulling themselves up to a standing position, holding on to furniture or your hands. If your baby is not rolling, crawling or sitting at this point, it’s advisable to talk to your pediatrician about it – just to be on the safe side.

11 months
By now your baby enjoys a routine. Greeting people and waving bye-bye, saying mama and dada or other simple family names, recognising familiar people in pictures and by names, clapping hands in excitement and understanding “no”, are common developmental milestones in month eleven. Your baby will start self-feeding more easily, using a spoon or hands. Tasting just about everything, including small toys, is also a popular activity for babies close to a year old, so make sure you watch closely what’ s within reach of their eager little hands.

12 months
Your baby is nearly a year old! At twelve months most babies can stand and walk a few steps, or crawl around energetically. Some babies might also say a few words by now. Developmental milestones in the last month before becoming a toddler also include dancing to music, showing interest in books, sharing toys for a short period of time, feeding itself, exploring surroundings, forming attachment to objects, extending arms or legs when getting dressed, pulling off socks and hats and pushing away what he or she doesn’t want.

You’ve now got a general guideline to baby’s first milestones. Hopefully it will put you at ease and you can enjoy the first year of your precious little child’s life!

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