Your Baby’s First Year of Milestonesby Elizabeth MacDonald
Every day of parenthood is filled with something new. There are easy days, hard days, good days, and not-so-good days intertwined together. As a first-time parent, it can be overwhelming and may feel like you aren’t getting it right. However, you are doing it right. Loving your baby, snuggling her, and celebrating the ins and outs of everyday life is creating the foundation of memories you’ll treasure forever.
From the day your baby is born, she is learning, changing, and developing on her own timeline. Both physical and social markers will take place and her personality will gradually shine. There are certain milestones she will hit, though, roughly around the same time as other infants her age. Don’t be alarmed if she doesn’t hit these stages right one schedule, but a significant delay is worth speaking to your pediatrician about.
Milestones for Months 1-12
Newborns do a lot of sleeping, nursing, and pooping, but there are still milestones to look for:
- Eye Contact – She should focus on you or another object within 8-12 inches in front of her.
- Fists to Mouth – Typically a sign that she is ready to eat, bringing fists to mouth can be a cue or a self-soothing method.
- Recognizing Sounds – Your voice should draw her attention.
- Reflex Development – Flinching to loud noises, startling awake, squeezing eyes shut to bright lights are all developmentally appropriate.
- Turns Head – While laying on tummy, head can lift side to side.
- Eye Tracking – Beginning to follow something, even if unsteadily.
- Cooing – Baby noises should be happening often.
- Smiles – There should be smiles all the time by the third month.
- Head Control – Lifting the upper body while lying on the stomach begins now. The head is less jerky and more controlled.
- Stretch and Kick Legs – While on stomach or back, legs can stretch long and kick.
- Babble – Imitating sounds, mouth movements, and giggles.
- Grab and Hold – Holding your finger intentionally, grabbing a toy, etc.
- Recognizing Faces – The site of your face should make her smile.
- Better Coordination – Perfecting grasp, head control, and babbling.
- Rolling – Some babies master rolling this month while others begin toying with the idea or rocking back and forth.
- Leg Strength – She can push with her legs while you hold her in a standing position.
- Grabbing Toes – Maybe even eating her toes!
- Birth weight doubles by month 5-6.
- Following Food – The interest in real food may begin about this age, but there’s no rush to introducing it!
- Switching Hands – She can move an object from one hand to another.
- Sitting Up Solo – Core strength is developing, and unassisted sitting will begin.
- Sounds – More sounds will be heard, “MMMMMMMM…”
- Name Time – She may respond to her own name.
- Personality – You will know when she is mad!
- Sippy Cup and Food – She can start playing with a sippy cup and feeding herself real food.
- Comprehension – She will understand more of what you are saying.
- Emotions – She will understand your emotions better and react accordingly.
- Moving – rolling to get somewhere – don’t blink, she’ll be gone!
- Rocking – Pushing to hands and knees and making moves toward crawling.
- Exploring – Everything is fair game if she can roll to it.
- Crawling – Here comes trouble!
- Pulling to Stand – Lower the crib mattress and start baby proofing. (Some babies are brave enough to try and take steps this month, too.)
- Attachment – Most babies go through an extreme attachment stage around this age.
- Interacting – Everything is fun at this age!
- Pincer Grip – She can use her thumb and index finger to grab things now.
- Communicating – She can point to what she wants, wave hello and goodbye, and blow a kiss.
- Mama – You may get a ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’ at this stage.
- Walking with Help – Pulling up and cruising along furniture is the preferred method for most babies.
- Noise – She will want to clang and bang and make noise with everything.
Months Eleven and Twelve
The countdown to the first birthday is on! Be on the lookout for:
- Steps – Walking (or running) may happen overnight!
- Identifying Objects – Using things correctly (utensils, crayon, hair brush, etc).
- Talking – Simple words will become more frequent.