What are the key baby milestones to celebrate?
In the first year of a baby’s life, he/she will develop faster than at any other time in their life, so it’s important to keep track of their growth. Many parents are unaware of the major changes going on in their baby’s bodies and minds throughout their first year, especially first-time parents who have no reference to draw from.
It may seem that newborn babies are helpless and completely defenceless but parents will be surprised to find out the ways in which their behaviour is already developing to help them survive as individuals.
Continue reading to get a better understanding of the crucial baby milestones to watch out for in the first years of a baby’s life.
Baby development from birth to 3 months
Soon after birth, babies start to show their reactions and display ways in which their bodies are developing. In the beginning, certain actions may seem random or nonsensical but many gestures babies make are done for a reason that helps their cognitive and physical evolution.
This early stage is when many parents are just getting to know the world of caring for an infant and of course, have endless questions as to whether whatever their child does or how they react to certain stimulants is “normal”. The usual answer is that yes, it is perfectly normal and the body is simply learning and maturing.
The first milestones to look out for as your baby grows to 3 months old include smiling for the first time, opening and closing their hands as well as sometimes even gripping objects. Additionally, babies at this stage begin to track movement with their eyes, bearing in mind that when they are born their eyesight is still very blurry and they cannot see further than about 30cm.
Baby development from 4 to 6 months
Babies begin to move much more in this period and start to reach out for objects. They are discovering not only themselves but also the world around them, including other humans. This means they will start to make grabs for things closest to them, often including long hair, earrings, fingers, toys, and pretty much anything they can get their hands on. This is about time to start locking things away in cupboards to avoid any accidents.
As well as the two most useful tools they have to manipulate objects, babies between 4 to 6 months old will start to discover their own voice by babbling, making sounds that begin to be recognised as language and laughing.
Baby development from 7 to 9 months
Just past half a year old and your little one will start to get moving, whether that be on their tummy in the form of an army crawl, by moving along on their bottom, by sitting up and even crawling on their hands and knees. However, don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t crawl very much as some go straight from scooting along to standing and walking.
They will be able to bring themselves to a sitting position without support and even pull themselves up to a standing position holding on to furniture.
In this period, a baby’s cognitive development also starts to show more obviously by being able to respond, by showing their recognition, to their name and possibly some other basic vocabulary such as when you say ‘No’. Additionally, they can start to play simple games with you like the classic, peekaboo.
Baby development from 10 months to 1 year
The last stage in the first year of your baby’s life shows quite a jump in development. The infant period is practically over already and he or she will show signs of toddler activities. The most important milestones to witness at the end of the first year include being able to move around a room on their feet by clinging to furniture or people as well as saying their first few words, usually ‘Mama’ or ‘Dada’. This may not happen before they turn one however, so don’t worry if they are still making general noises as opposed to pronouncing words.
At this point, babies can point at objects in order to communicate and can start to feed themselves by picking up small pieces of food between their thumb and forefinger. This is where things start to get messy!
Critical events in your baby’s life
No parent wants to miss any major moment in their baby’s life, which is why it is essential to be aware of when these instances could take place given the natural order of a baby’s development.
It is essential to remember, however, that all babies develop at their own pace and should not be compared to one another or a standard development chart. Because each baby is an individual and their body is growing and taking in an immense amount of information daily, do not be alarmed if your baby is able to do something others of his or her age are not or vice-versa. All in their own good time.