You bring home a helpless newborn, and in a very short time, your baby is a happy, gurgling bundle of joy, who responds to their environment. As new parents, you will enjoy the various baby milestones.
Because there are hundreds of books available on baby development, we’ve prepared a simple guide for you that will help keep track of your baby’s development stages and milestones in their first year – from a sleepless newborn to a hyperactive toddler. Bear in mind though that these baby development stages are only references; every baby develops at a different pace!
1-3 Months Baby Development
1 Month Baby
By this stage, your baby will have fully developed their hearing. However, they cannot see farther than 8 to 12 inches. While they can turn their head to the side when on the stomach, but when they’re upright, their head and neck will still need support.
2 Months Baby
Your baby can now vocalise sounds. They are able to hold their head for a few seconds and smile at you. You can notice that their movements are smoother and more controlled, and they can hold their head at a 45-degree angle.
They are also finally starting to distinguish between colours, and want to grasp things – but don’t really know how. It’s a good idea to start them on hand-exercises now by placing some toys in front of them.
3 Months Baby
Your baby is concentrating on everything. This is because their brain is developing at an astounding rate, transferring 1.8 million connections per second.
You’ll notice that they’re more joyful now, as they attempt to roll over and gurgle. They can recognise your face better and can also hold their head steady. They will also start reacting to sounds and will bring their hands together to clap softly – how polite!
Place a bright toy in your baby’s hand and see if they can hold it; they might, for maybe five seconds. They’ll also like it if you use a string and move it in front of them. We call this baby yoga!
Read More: Baby Development at 3 Months Old
4-6 Months Baby Development
4 Months Baby
This baby development stage is wonderous. Your baby milestones chart is getting full while your baby’s senses are improving at a rapid rate. It’s even likely that they’re starting to develop teeth. Introduce them to music and textured toys.
This is when a baby tries to eat everything they see – well, not literally. But be rest assured that anything fascinating will be put in the mouth. And for babies, everything is fascinating.
They might be able to start eating solids, depending on the individual baby’s pace. They can respond with sounds too when you talk to them and even grasp objects! Notice how they hold their head up steadily, and even bear their weight on legs for a brief period.
More wonderous changes happen at this baby development stage, which includes the following:
- They can see. Although they’d still prefer seeing things up close, looking across the room doesn’t seem too blurry anymore
- Shades exist! They’re better at distinguishing colour – the light pink from the hot pink, and the red from the maroon. They’ll love anything colourful you give them - just watch them smile
- They’ll try to travel short distances – by rolling over. Though not a rule, some babies start to roll over in this month – and that’s exciting. Try putting their favourite toy a little farther away and see for yourself
- First teeth. You saw the signs last month. Now you see them complaining, by obsessively rubbing their gums in preparation for the batch of teeth to come
- Bigger stomach. Your feeding sessions are decreasing. This is because they can drink much more than before
5 Months Baby
Your baby finally discovers their own hands and feet and finds them amusing. Their responses are clearer, and they may even recognise their own name.
Since the teeth will be coming in, they’ll continue soothing their gums by biting everything they can possibly get hold of – and we can’t blame them after all, the mouth has so many nerve endings!
Most babies at this stage will still be trying to figure out what balancing means – only a few can master the art of sitting up straight. They will also be laughing a lot, and if you act funny and play games with your baby, you’ll help them enjoy more.
6 Months Baby
Your baby is able to sit for a few seconds now and turn towards sights and sounds. In fact, they may lunge fearlessly towards anything that they find interesting – possibly a little hastily, too.
They can imitate sounds and maybe mouthing words, albeit a little incoherently. Some babies at this age get a little anxious around new people, and might even end up crying if you leave them with a guest to go to the washroom.
Read More: Baby Development at 6 Months Old
7-9 Months Baby Development
7 Months Baby
Some will crawl. Some will have a black-belt in baby rolling.
They don’t get bored. They can watch the same episode of a cartoon over, and over, and OVER again. You’ll memorise the transcript, they’ll continue to remain fascinated.
It’s a good idea to introduce toys with various shapes now – triangles, circles, squares. Fill your heart with pride as you watch your baby distinguish between them.
8 Months Baby
Their eyesight is outgrowing them – it’s almost as crisp as an adult’s eyesight at this development stage. Now they’ll find that missing toy from under the couch on their own.
They call you! Or not. But they’ll be mumbling – and if you’re lucky, it’ll be mama or baba!
Your baby will be copying you, and trying to stand by balancing themselves on a piece of furniture around. Help them by staying behind them in case they lose balance, again.
9 Months Baby
Capitalism is luring them in and now they want everything. If you take away something your baby wants, they’ll make sure the neighbours hear about it as they cry their anger away. Distract them by pointing to something far and take it away before they notice.
You’ll hear them babbling. Although this might sound like nothing important, linguists have suggested that babies at this stage are developing their language. They are trying to imitate our speech. Help them by talking to them and explaining things to them. Point at a flower and tell them what it is.
Sing to them. They’ll love your singing even if no one else does (we’ve got you covered with our list of baby songs for sleep).
Introduce your baby to friends their age! This is a great way to develop their social skills at such a young age. They can babble away.
Read More: Baby Development at 9 Months Old
10-12 Months Baby Development
10 Months Baby
They’re testing a few words now and attempting to walk. You can help them develop their language by speaking to them more often. Describe what you are doing slowly, and you repeat it for emphasis too.
11 Months Baby
Check-up time! You need to visit the doctor for a check-up, just to make sure that everything’s okay – and don’t worry, it’s normal for many babies to be doing or displaying different traits as they are growing. Remember that every baby is different, and this guide is not a rule.
They’re their own person now. At this baby developmental stage, they’ll be like a rebellious teenager – but that’s a good thing. It means they’re developing a sense of independent thinking. Try to turn it around by giving them some ‘choice’ between two or three options. Make them feel like they’re taking a decision.
12 Months Baby
Your baby’s grown into a toddler, and if you haven’t already, you’ll need to baby-proof your house ASAP.
They’re copying you again. Only this time, they’re actually helping you tidy up the mess they’ve made – and well, they’re enjoying it!
You can start integrating some mannerisms, like saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ as you both help each other.
Remember that wherever your baby stands at the development chart, different babies grow at different rates, and that is entirely normal.
If you’re curious about your baby’s development after the first year, you can find some handy tips on toddlers, about what to teach your baby, how to travel with your baby, etc. right here!