The first year of a baby's life is full of many firsts, from walking to waving bye-bye and having their first taste of finger food. As your newborn develops into a toddler, many cherished memories will be made.
Parents can feel overwhelmed by these exciting moments, as they worry that their child is not reaching each baby milestone early enough.
How do you know when babies should achieve each milestone?
Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about all the important baby milestones you will experience with your baby. We'll take you week by week from the end of pregnancy through the first year of your baby's life, so you can look forward to enjoying each precious new memory.
What is a baby milestone?
During your baby's first year, they will be developing rapidly and changing daily. You will see them learn essential communication skills, discover hand-eye coordination, and even take their first steps. These developmental achievements are known as baby milestones.
Even though all children develop at their own pace, most babies will reach certain developmental milestones around a similar age. This provides health care professionals with useful information about how your infant is developing.
These baby milestones can be divided into four categories:
- Social - How well your baby interacts with other adults and children.
- Communication - How your baby expresses their needs
- Cognitive - Your baby's problem-solving skills
- Physical development - How your baby's mobility develops
This allows each part of your baby's development to be monitored, so any early signs of concern can be quickly detected.
Premature babies cannot be directly compared to full-term babies. Parents of premature babies need to remember to adjust their baby's developmental age to their due date and not their birth date.
Why are developmental milestones important in your baby's first year?
Most baby milestones are just a guide, and parents shouldn't worry if their baby is not reaching all of them at the specified time. This doesn't mean that there are any developmental issues with your baby.
A couple of major developmental milestones, such as talking, can provide an early indication of a developmental delay if a baby is unable to achieve them within a certain timeframe. If a baby is consistently delayed in reaching each milestone, then this can also indicate a development problem.
These children might need extra resources and support, so if families have any worries about their baby's development, they should discuss their questions with a health professional.
Baby milestones by week
After nine months of pregnancy, bringing your newborn home is an exciting but daunting time. This is completely normal, but you can feel reassured by knowing what to expect over the coming weeks. For further expert advice and useful free baby, items visit Your Baby Club USA and subscribe to their club.
Your baby will have many firsts during their first year of life. Use our baby milestone guide to see when your baby might reach all the important baby milestones.
During their first weeks of life, your newborn can recognize your voice but crying is their way of communicating with you. A baby monitor can be useful for keeping a constant watch on baby, so have a read of our top baby monitor guide for trusted advice.
Your newborn's vision is developing quickly. Though their eyesight is still blurry, they can now focus on objects 8 to 12 inches away. At times, your baby's eyes might look unfocused as they try to focus on faces, but this is normal.
As your newborn reaches one month old, you might find they are awake for longer, giving you more time to enjoy with them.
Your baby is now four weeks old and continuing to develop rapidly. Their hearing is already fully developed, and they might make their first cooing sound. At this stage, your baby loves watching your face and is fascinated by high contrast, black and white patterns.
They are still keeping their hands in fists but are starting to move their hands towards their face as they begin exploring the world around them.
Tummy-time is now really important for your baby, and they should be spending a few minutes a day in this position practicing moving their head from side to side.
At eight weeks, your baby is getting stronger every day. Their kicks are gaining force, and during tummy time, they might have started lifting their head and shoulders. This is great for strengthening their neck muscles in preparation for them to support their own head.
Your baby will have found their mouth now, so they may develop the habit of sucking their fists to soothe themselves.
This month you may also experience your baby's first smile, so keep your camera close. They will be responding to you with new sounds and smiles, making this a month filled with a lot of big milestones.
By 12 weeks, your baby is learning new ways to communicate with you. They will make eye contact and may have started mimicking some sounds and babbling by now.
Playtime starts here, as your baby can now open and close their hands, enabling them to hold and shake a toy. They can also follow objects with their eyes, so they will soon become interested in all the objects around them.
During tummy time, your baby will now be showing off their strength by using their arms to hold up their head and chest. They will also be trying to push their feet down when held upright, showing how they are developing their mobility.
This is the month where you may see your baby start rolling from their tummy to their back. They may also begin to reach out for toys and are starting to bring their hands to their mouth as they continue to enjoy exploring their environment.
Your baby's vision is also progressing, as they can now see objects in the distance. Now is a great time to take your baby out and about so they can enjoy more new sights. Have a look at our guide to the best strollers to ensure your baby is comfortable and safe when out.
If teething has not already started, you can expect to experience the beginning of teething this month. But while this might be a month of sore gums and drooling, you will also be seeing your baby learn to roll over completely.
Your baby is also continuing to develop their senses, as they can now see in color, having left the black and white stage behind. You will also see your baby turn their head towards each new sound, and they will respond when you call their name.
At 24 weeks, babies are enjoying finding new ways to reach their toys and make most of their mobility. You might find that your baby is starting to sit up without support and will use a raking motion to move objects closer.
Many babies have started passing objects from hand to hand as their depth perception continues to develop. Now is a good time to start introducing your infant to finger foods as they move on to enjoying solid food.
Your baby's communication skills are also expanding as they start to say familiar sounds. You may also enjoy experiencing your baby's first laugh as you share a game of peek-a-boo.
This month your baby will be working on enhancing their mobility skills and working towards crawling. They may be able to sit up unaided for short periods, without any support, and will be trying to weight bear when held in a standing position.
Babies will now be working on their pincer grip with their index finger and thumb. You might find your baby practicing this grip every time they pick up food.
This may be the month of big changes for your baby, as many finally learn to crawl. They may even start practicing standing while holding onto furniture for support. Now your baby is on the move, you will need to ensure that all baby safety gadgets have been installed to keep your baby safe.
You will also see your baby start leaning to grab toys with their hands as they develop their confidence while sitting.
At nine months, your baby will be babbling confidently, starting to recognize their name, and copying familiar sounds. You might even hear your baby's first word. Will it be mama or dada?
By now, your baby will have developed object permanence, so they understand that their favorite toy has not disappeared when out of sight and will now spend time pointing at objects of interest.
Forty weeks often marks one of the biggest baby milestones, as your baby might start cruising now and is truly finding their feet. Your baby is showing some important signs that they will soon be taking those first magical steps.
Your baby can now recognize different family members' voices. However, this can coincide with them becoming wary of some strangers, so you might find your baby has become unsettled with people they are unfamiliar with.
At 44 weeks, you will find that your baby is discovering new ways to interact with you now. They will intently watch objects move and will enjoy pointing to their favorite toys when asked. Their vision has continued to develop, and they can now see faces from 20 feet away. They may also now enjoy waving bye-bye.
Their mobility is also continuing to improve, as they continue gaining more confidence when cruising and may now stand without any support. It won't be long until they take that first step.
This is the baby milestone you have been waiting for, as some babies will start taking their first steps at 48 weeks.
As your baby heads towards their first birthday, they will be achieving many big baby milestones now. They will now be talking and saying a couple of words and understanding their name along with simple instructions, showing how much your baby has developed in the last 12 months.
Now your baby is one year old, you can expect their language to continue progressing with new words mixed in with their baby babbling. They will also be cruising and walking with more confidence and will now be on a mission to explore all their surroundings and enjoy new experiences.
When should I worry about baby milestones?
Parents shouldn't worry if their baby doesn't meet all milestones at the exact predicted time. However, parents of babies who are consistently missing milestones or seem to be behind other babies the same age should contact a health professional for advice. This enables additional resources to be provided if needed.
What are the normal milestones for baby development?
During the first year of a baby's life, there are numerous baby milestones that each child should be expected to reach, such as taking their first step, picking up finger foods, and waving bye-bye. These milestones all contribute to the development of your baby's communication abilities, mobility, cognitive abilities, and social skills.
How do you know if your child is advanced?
An advanced child will be consistently meeting all milestones early, before other babies of the same age. These babies often develop into toddlers that can learn things quickly, along with having great recall abilities.
Contact your health professional if you think your baby is advanced to access the appropriate resources.
What should a 2-month old baby be doing?
A 2-month-old should be developing their neck strength during tummy time activities as they practice raising their head. They will have found their mouth now, so will frequently suck their hands. You might also have heard their first cooing sound and seen your baby's first smile.
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