Your baby will quickly develop many new skills during the first year, which makes it difficult to know if they are on track. In this article, we give you a guide to know and understand the important baby milestones in the first year of your child’s life so you will know what to expect.
Baby’s First Year
The milestones in your baby’s first year will occur so frequently and so rapidly that you will want to keep your phone and their baby book available to record big moments. During the first year, your baby will develop cognitively, communicate with you, and grow at a rapid rate. If you are a first-time parent, your baby’s first year can be a time of uncertainty. One moment your baby is a newborn and the next they are learning to roll over. It helps to know about a baby's first-year milestones so you are aware of what will occur during their first year of life, which will ease your mind.
Keep in mind that babies do not develop identically. Your baby will develop at a different pace than another baby and that is normal. It is also normal for a healthy baby to lag in some areas while racing ahead in other areas. Intermountain Healthcare recommends that you trust your instincts and “if you feel like the development of your baby isn’t on track, speak up during your child’s well-baby check-ups.”
From the first month to the first birthday, your baby’s physical development will occur at a fast pace. Here is what to look for:
- At one-month-old, your baby will bring their hands within range of their mouth and eyes. They will move their head from side to side when they are lying on their tummy. They will start to suck when their lips or mouth are touched, which is called the rooting reflex. They will also grasp what is placed in the palm of their hands.
- By three months old, most babies prop up on their arms when on their tummy, and many babies will hold their heads up unsupported for brief moments. They will stretch out their legs and kick when they are lying on their tummy or back. They will be able to open and shut their hands and bring their hand to their mouth. They will also swipe at dangling objects with their hands, and hold and shake toys you place in their hands.
- By five months old, your baby will reach for and grab objects. They will move things from one hand to another. Your baby may be able to roll from tummy to back and will put weight on their legs when their feet are flat on the floor. Two months later, at seven months old, they will roll from back to tummy and tummy to back. They will be able to sit without support. They will also roll from front to back and back to front.
- By nine months old, they will start scooting and crawling. They may stand with support.
- At one year old, they may start pulling themself up and standing alone, or walking while holding furniture. They may even start walking unassisted. Your little one may be able to start turning the pages of a book you read to them and will have at least a few teeth by now.
Your baby will grow at a remarkable rate during the first year. Their weight will double by five to six months old, and triple by a year old. They will grow about 10 inches by their first birthday.
Even as a newborn, your baby communicates with you. Every time they cry, they are letting you know they have needs, but as they grow they increase communication.
Communication milestones to look for include:
- A one-month-old, your baby will recognize some sounds and may turn their head towards voices and sounds they recognize, including your voice.
- By three months old, they will smile at the sound of your voice. They will start to babble and imitate some sounds.
- When they are five months old, they will respond to conversation by making sounds and will recognize and respond to their own name.
- At seven months old, they will speak with vowel sound combinations such as oh, ah, and eh, and begin using consonant sounds. They will also respond to their own name.
- When your baby turns one year old, they will try to repeat words. They will respond to simple requests and will respond to the word “no.” They will use simple gestures like shaking their head to communicate “no.” They will say “mama” and “dada” and use exclamations such as “uh-oh!”
Your baby is constantly learning. Look for these cognitive milestones:
- A newborn baby starts to repeat movements which help with memory and brain growth.
- By three months old, your baby will start noticing, paying attention to, and recognizing faces. They will start to use their hands and eyes together. For example, your baby will see a toy and reach for it.
- At five months old, your baby will explore things by putting them in their mouth. By seven months old, they will be able to find partially hidden objects. They will explore the world with their hands and mouth.
- By their first birthday, your baby will be able to find hidden objects such as a teddy bear you cover with a blanket. When you name an object in a picture, they will be able to look at or point to it. They will explore by banging, throwing, and shaking objects and will also begin to use objects correctly. For example, they will drink from a cup. They may turn knobs, and open drawers and cupboards. Your baby will start to remember things that happened. They may exhibit this skill by stacking blocks the day after you showed them how, or get excited when you talk about a car ride. They will also like to play peekaboo.
Social and Emotional Milestones
Your baby will develop socially and emotionally in the following ways:
- Your newborn baby will start to become attached to you and you will notice this because they cry if you leave the room, even briefly.
- By three months old, they will smile and will develop different cries for different needs, such as being hungry, tired, and wet. They may also imitate facial expressions and become more expressive with their face. They will enjoy playing with you, which you will know because they may cry when you stop.
- By five months old, they will begin to recognize and react to strangers. They may try to get you to play with them by patting toys and sticking out their tongue.
- At seven months old, they will be interested in looking in a mirror and will use sounds to express emotions. They will respond more often to people’s expressions of emotion.
- When they are nine months old, they may start having stranger anxiety and will have favorite toys and objects.
- When your baby turns one year old, they may be fearful of something new be fearful in certain situations. They may cry when you leave them and prefer you over anyone else. They will enjoy imitating people and be able to finger-feed themself.
Your Baby’s First Year Bursts with Milestones
The first year of your baby’s life will be filled with one milestone after another. Your baby will quickly develop physically, cognitively, communicatively, socially, and emotionally.