Baby Developmental Milestones

Here is a guide to baby’s growth and development in the first year.


Month 1

Your baby will be born with several reflexes: she’ll grip your finger if you put it inside her palm and throw out her arms and legs if she’s startled.

If you stroke her cheek, she’ll turn her head towards you and open her mouth. This is a useful thing to know if you’re trying to get her to latch on to your breast.

Although your baby’s sense of smell is very good, her hearing and sight won’t be fully developed yet. She’ll be best able to see things that are very close to her – like your face, which she’ll love looking at.


Month 2

Your baby will be doing lots of kicking and wriggling, and at 5 weeks or so, he may start trying to lift his head when he’s lying on his stomach.

But it’s at about 6 weeks that your baby will provide you with what will be one of your most precious moments so far – his first smile.

You’ll notice your baby following objects with his eyes at around 7 weeks. He may also bat at things, although he won’t be able to grab anything yet. His hearing will become more precise he’ll enjoy hearing your voice.


Month 3

Your baby’s personality starts shining through at 3 months. They’ll be much more attentive when awake and able to communicate with you by smiling and gurgling. You may be able to tell when they like something or are excited by their waving arms.

Baby’s muscles are also getting significantly stronger and they may be able to support their own head.

Your baby’s hand-eye coordination will be starting to improve and they may reach out to try and grab or swipe things.

This month, your baby’s hearing and sight will become much more developed. Over the coming weeks they may start to turn their head when they hear your voice and recognise familiar sights, like your face.


Month 4

Your baby's arms and legs are likely to be a lot more active and stronger. She'll be able to hold a toy and shake it. You may notice her grabbing for your hair, your earrings or any nearby toys or objects. And it's likely that she'll try to put whatever she grasps in her mouth.

If she’s on her tummy she may be able to push up to her elbows and some babies even roll over at this stage. But remember all babies develop at different speeds – so you may have to wait a couple more months.

She'll be able to hold her head steady while sitting supported or being held. Your baby's vision has improved so she can see clearly across a room and can begin to distinguish some shades. She'll begin to babble and try to copy noises she hears – an early stage in speech development.

A few babies also begin teething, read our guide to see what to expect.


Month 5

Starting to be able to sit up by himself for a few moments is an important development milestone that your baby may reach this month.

To help him, sit him on the floor with his legs open in a V-shape, put a toy he can reach on the floor, surround him with cushions and be on hand to support him.

He's also getting more adept with his hands, he might be able to pass things from one hand to the other and pull things towards him. He may hold out his arms too when he wants to be picked up. He's more responsive generally and more social.

Starting teething is more likely now, but will depend on your baby. Signs include dribbling, a fist in the mouth, red patches on the gums, crying and irritability and rubbing his cheek or pulling his ear.


Month 6

Your baby may be starting to sit up on her own now. If she’s doing this, surround her with cushions and keep a careful watch for when she topples over. Not all babies sit up at this stage, some aren’t interested in doing it until after they crawl.

She'll also be happy to try standing if you hold her by the hands or under her armpits and help support her weight. It will help strengthen her legs too.

Rolling over is another new motor skill your baby is learning. She might surprise herself when she does it the first time. Some babies will roll over and over to get to where they want.

You may start to see the first signs of wanting to crawl with your baby going from her tummy to her knees and hands.


Month 7

At 7 months your baby will know what he wants but won’t have the motor skills – the mobility and dexterity – to get it. This can be frustrating for him and he’ll let you know it.

He’s not likely to be crawling yet but will be able to get himself into a variety of positions on the floor – although he won’t always know how to get out of them again.

Babies whose arms are stronger than their legs find it easier to go backwards rather forwards, while others adopt the commando crawl position trying to move on their tummies rather than their knees.

Other babies may just prefer to watch the world go by and baby talk with you.

He’s likely to be sitting well without too much support, but he’ll still need you to keep an eye out as his balance isn’t perfect.

At 7 months, he’ll be beginning to understand the idea of ‘object permanence’ – that things still exist even if he can’t see them – for example, the toy you hide behind your back.

He also may have learned how to wave goodbye.


Month 8

Babies develop their moving and talking skills at different rates – but they are all curious about the world.

At this stage, many babies will be beginning to move around. For some it will be crawling, for others shuffling on their bottoms or their tummies. Some will keep rolling over to get where they want to be. Your baby will be more able to change positions too, like getting from lying to sitting.

She may also try to stand by holding on to you, or to the furniture.

Rather than grabbing or pulling things, she will start using her thumb and 1 or 2 fingers in a pincer-like way to pick small objects.

She'll be more conversational although she'll make sounds rather than words – but you might hear “mama” and “dada”.

Because her skills can't yet match what she’d like to do, frustration is very common emotion at this age.


Month 9

Your baby is likely to be getting more mobile, using whatever method works for him – crawling, bottom shuffling or commando crawling. He may also pull himself up to standing and move about holding on to the furniture.

He'll be sitting more securely and generally improving his balance.

He's getting very good at reading your emotions, so be positive about his efforts and avoid being over-anxious when he’s learning new skills.

Preferences are starting to develop. He'll have some favourite toys and favourite people so may be a bit clingy or afraid of strangers.

He'll notice cause and effect. So he’ll watch the path of something falling over, or will begin to understand that pushing a button on a toy will produce a noise. He can also follow simple instructions – for example to give something to you.

Weight gain is beginning to slow to around 1lb a month.

If your baby hasn't started teething yet, he might do so around now.


Month 10

If your baby is very mobile, she’ll be pulling herself up and cruising round the room using the furniture to grab hold of. She may even walk towards you when you hold her hands.

You need to be on hand to help and have nerves of steel when she begins to let go for the first time.

Her co-ordination has improved and she'll be able to hold something in one hand and do something else with the other hand.

Your baby's personality is continuing to emerge. She may smile at everyone she sees or be shy, hiding when she encounters strangers. She may be adventurous or contented by what’s around her.

She’s beginning to understand more and more words, so if you say “daddy” or “dog” she may point at the right thing. She can follow simple instructions like "wave bye bye" or "clap hands".

She’ll be looking carefully at your reactions to situations and events. She's likely to copy you.


Month 11

Your baby can now understand (but not necessarily follow) instructions like “no”. She’s started to form words too – listen out for short words like “dada” and “ball” emerging from her babbling. Keep chatting to her to help develop her speech and language skills.

She’ll be even more mobile and independent, and will be intent on exploring the world around her.

Expect to see standing, squatting and maybe some faltering steps too. Many babies will ‘cruise’ around the room, holding onto pieces of furniture as they go. Some will even climb up the furniture.

Your baby is really her own person now and she’ll start expressing her likes, dislikes and emotions. Expect a few temper tantrums – and lots of “no!” Hold your ground kindly but firmly, and make sure you reinforce positive behavior with lots of praise.


Month 12

These days you baby loves moving around. If he’s not already walking, he’ll definitely be more mobile and very interested in vigorous activities.

His interaction skills are improving all the time – you’ll see lots more back-and-forth and response to your questions and comments. He might not be talking yet, but he’ll be able to express himself and show that he understands what you mean.

He’s confident picking up and playing with small objects now, and may turn his attention to more energetic activities which help strengthen his muscles. Lots of crashing, banging and knocking over is likely during this month.

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