Month by Month Baby Milestones—Birth to 12 Months
The period after the birth of your child is going to be a blur of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, a howling baby and your messed-up brain. However, things begin to settle after that. Babies start to develop physically, mentally and emotionally and attempt to take care of themselves after a few months. While you still have lots of work to do, you gradually become used to the routine and begin to adjust.
It is often difficult for mothers, especially new moms, to make sense of this new responsibility and they face a hard time understanding what to do and what not to do. Raising a child is quite a tricky task in itself: most moms don’t know how much their child needs to grow with every passing month and have little knowledge of baby milestones by months. While every child is different and grows in different ways and at a different pace, doctors around the globe have set up a standard checklist containing the expected actions/development levels. Don’t know what these levels are? We’ve got you covered. Read on for a month by month detailed description of first-year milestones your baby has to achieve.
1 Month Old Baby Milestones
Congratulations! You have survived the first month after the birth of your baby; you should be very proud of yourself! After all, you are not as weak as you thought yourself to be. Well, it’s not like things are going to get easy any time soon, but at least your baby has grown up a bit—even if it’s just a month—and that’s something worthwhile, don’t you think?!
A one month old baby shows a curious development, physically and mentally. However, you always need to remember that every child is different, so s/he may not show all the growth signs usually associated with the other babies of the same age. Here is a checklist of the standard developmental aspects of a one month old baby.
- His/her visual sense develops to an extent where s/he begins to notice faces.
- Due to a comparatively enhanced visual ability than before, the baby is able to see bold patterns on walls, clothes, etc., especially in two dominant colors, black and white.
- Audio skills of the baby also undergo development and s/he begins to recognize sounds of people’s voice.
- Hearing development is accompanied by a maturity of vocal cords which manifests itself when the baby starts to coo and produce sounds other than simply crying.
- The baby also seems to discover his/her hands and can bring them within the range of his eyes, and obviously, mouth.
- The baby’s neck muscles get a bit stronger, and s/he becomes able to move his/her head from side to side.
2 Months Old Baby Milestones
With the baby’s progress into his/her second month, s/he develops further reducing your burden and showing the signs of maturity (not the maturity of the grandparents, though). Normally, a two months old baby is capable of doing the following:
- Develops enough mental ability to understand the surrounding and calm herself/himself in case no one is around (particularly by putting his/her hand into the mouth)
- Has a developed sense of movement so s/he follows moving objects or people with his/her eyes and can recognize them
- Shows ability to recognize people and smile at them (it’s the cutest thing to see!)
- Develops enough neck muscles to support his/her head and hold it up, and begins to make upward movements while lying on his/her tummy
- His/her movements become smoother which s/he uses to show that the activity needs to be changed since s/he is getting bored (Awww!)
3 Months Old Baby Milestones
In the third month, the baby’s movements increase and s/he starts to show strong reactions according to situations. Her/his mental faculties also show a spur which are quite visible to those around him/her.
- S/he develops the ability to distinguish the mother’s face from the rest of the people. Stay close!
- S/he begins to understand his/her various needs (hunger, pain, diaper change etc.) and shows appropriate reactions.
- His/her movements get accurate, and s/he opens and closes his/her hands displaying the ability to hold objects. Furthermore, s/he moves them towards hanging objects in an effort to grab them.
- He/she can now associate sounds with movement and turns his/her head towards the source of the sound.
- Babies at this age start to enjoy playing with others. However, they may start to cry if the fun stops and turn their heads if bored.
4 Months Old Baby Milestones
Your baby has successfully moved into his/her fourth month and has grown further. With every passing moment, his/her senses are developing and s/he is getting stronger both physically and mentally. Now, s/he can perform tricks and antics that were absent from your house for the last three months. Wait no more; here it comes!
- The baby starts to giggle and copy facial expressions spreading laughs throughout the house.
- S/he develops enough ability to locate the toys with his/her eyes and reach for them with his/her hands.
- His/her neck muscles get strong enough for him/her to hold his/her head steady without any support
- While lying on the tummy, the baby becomes able to push up onto his/her elbows and lift his/her head.
5 Months Old Baby Milestones
Time is passing and your baby is now five months old. Now, s/he has become able to perform complicated tasks (for him/her, not for you). His/her movements become stronger and smoother, and his/her mental faculties show further development.
- The baby learns to roll over, from tummy to back for now.
- S/he learns to explore and make sense of different items by putting them in his/her mouth.
- His/her mental skills have developed enough for him/her to look at himself/herself in the mirror, and love it 😉
- The cooing now transforming into babbles as s/he tries to mimic sounds and words.
- Good news! Your child can now entertain himself/herself for short periods of time. Now you can go to do some urgent task instead of just playing with him/her. However, don’t leave your child alone IN ANY CASE.
6 Months Old Baby Milestones
Half a year has passed since your bundle of joy made his/her spectacular entry into the world; you and s/he have come a long way. Very soon, s/he will become independent and won’t need your help in any matter. It’s kind of sad to see your child turning into an adult, but that’s how it works. You can’t help it.
By the sixth month, the baby’s development process shows a surge. S/he starts to act more like a grown-up (not literally). The milestones attainable for a six months old baby normally include the following.
- His/her body is strong enough for him/her to start creeping to short distances and sitting without any support.
- His/her cognitive abilities build up, and s/he begins to understand simple words. Time to begin school (at home, obviously)!
- He/she recognizes his/her name and begins to respond to it.
- S/he is now able to explore different items by passing them from one hand to the other instead of putting them into his/her mouth.
7 Months Old Baby Milestones
A seven months old baby is able to work wonders (just kidding!). S/he is now able to make more sense of the world around him/her and tries to understand how things work.
- He/she grows enough to entertain himself/herself and have fun by dropping things on the floor and playing simple games like Peek-a-Boo.
- His/her brain has developed enough, and now he/she can search half hidden objects with his/her eyes and find them.
- S/he understands little commands and begins to respond to “No”, understanding that what s/he is trying to do is somehow not acceptable to the adults.
8 Months Old Baby Milestones
The eighth month of a baby is both a good and a bad thing for you as a mother. You can now leave him/her for a short time on his/her own and do household chores (or anything else you want to do), but now your baby has got more movement, so there is always a chance s/he can hurt himself/herself. By the eighth month
- The baby starts crawling. Congratulations! It’s time for you to leave whatever you’re doing after every minute and run after him/her to get him/her out of a cupboard or away from the door or stairs.
- Apart from crawling, the baby also begins to stand but s/he needs to hold onto something for it to work.
- S/he can now hold things in a pincer, that is, with the thumb and index finger. That means you can get him/her busy in small activities.
9 Months Old Baby Milestones
It’s time for your baby to entertain the entire household with his/her innocent antics; after all, s/he is now nine months old, grown enough to understand situations and respond accordingly. S/he can also take small decisions on his/her own.
- A 9 month old baby develops enough understanding to differentiate familiar people and strangers, and tends to get afraid if s/he sees an unfamiliar face.
- S/he displays choices now and seems to have favorite toys and colors.
- He/she begins to copy sounds and gestures of those around him/her and makes many sounds instead of just babbling. In fact, s/he begins to add different consonants to his/her previously vowelistic conversation.
- His/her mental faculties go to the next level and s/he can now point at things to make others understand him/her.
10 Months Old Baby Milestones
Your little bunny is not “little” anymore; s/he has grown a lot. S/he gets physically and mentally stronger every day and is getting more and more independent with every passing minute. By the tenth month, your child may be able to
- Pull himself/herself to a standing position and take small steps to shuffle along while holding onto a supportive object
- To show an equal ability to get into a sitting position without any kind of assistance
- Investigate different objects in diverse ways (commonly shaking, turning, hitting and throwing)
- Display an advanced level of hand-eye coordination by feeding himself/herself with finger food items
11 Months Old Baby Milestones
Your baby is just one month short of being one year old. With age, s/he has learned a lot many things and actions which s/he keeps displaying off and on. At the age of eleven months, the baby normally begins to show the following:
- S/he begins to show a superior level of movement by crawling up the stairs under supervision.
- His/her understanding of the surroundings gets better and s/he starts to relate objects with particular places.
- He/she develops an uncanny ability to feel anxious when s/he gets separated from his/her favorite people (especially the mother).
- His/her speaking abilities also get enhanced and s/he is now able to produce different sounds in various tones. Day by day, he starts to sound more like proper speech.
12 Months Old Baby Milestones
It’s your baby’s first birthday! Time for cake, candles, balloons, and gifts! By the twelfth month, the baby develops the basic human functions to some extent. What s/he does in later years is to perfect everything s/he has learned in his/her first year. A one year old child
- Understands what directions and requests are and responds to them
- Begins to use basic gestures including moving his/her head in response to “No” and waving goodbye to others
- Starts to pronounce basic words clearly and properly, especially “mama” and “dada” (something to swoon over!)
- Has developed enough cognitive abilities to associate objects with a name and look at them when named
- Now possesses stronger legs to stand alone and take a few steps without holding onto anything.
- Can hold things and use them correctly including drinking from a cup and trying to eat with a spoon or fork
A Point to Remember
While all the things mentioned above are standard milestones for babies according to their age, they are, by no means, the rule; exceptions do exist. As I’ve already mentioned, every child is different and approaches the matters differently. If your baby does not demonstrate what is required of him/her, don’t panic. It simply means that s/he is moving at his/her own pace and will come around eventually. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with him/her, you or your methods. Be patient and everything will turn out fine at the end.