Your Baby's Month by Month Milestones

How your baby grows in their first year

How your baby grows in their first year

A baby’s growth month by month is a miraculous thing. Their first year is filled with so many remarkable changes that you will want to really pay attention. Here’s a month by month guide to the milestones the average baby will achieve during that first year.

Remember, parents, it’s just a guide; babies reach each milestone at their own speed, so don’t panic if baby hasn’t reached a milestone according to this schedule.

Month One

  • Focus on your face, crib toys and mobiles 
  • Startle or cry in response to sudden or loud noises
  • Turn toward your voice
  • Responds to mother’s voice
  • Recognizes and prefers the sound and touch of primary caregivers

During this time: show them the world is a warm, safe place. Cuddle, soothe and respond quickly to their needs. Your face and gentle voice are their most fascinating playthings now. Their best focusing distance is eight to ten inches from the bridge of their nose.

Month Two

  • Smiles in response to your smile
  • Begins to track objects with their eyes
  • Discovers their hands and finds pleasure in sucking their fingers
  • Makes cooing and vowel sounds to express feelings
  • When placed on abdomen, is able to lift their head up for a few seconds

During this time: Acknowledge their socialable moods with enthusiasm. Smile and talk to them frequently. Show them musical toys, help them track objects and play with rattles. Expose them to large crib pictures in bright colors and bold simple pictures with simple patterns like a checkerboard.

Month Three

  • Able to lift head better when on their stomach
  • Able to roll from stomach to back
  • Able to bat objects with increasing accuracy
  • Starts to develop eye-hand coordination
  • Able to grasps toys and shake small hand toys
  • Explores objects through mouthing

During this time: Offer them a few playthings at a time so they won’t be overwhelmed. Choose a variety of shapes and colors for manipulating. They especially like toys that make sounds as they wave them about.

Month Four

  • Roll from stomach to back and back to stomach
  • Hold their head steady when held in sitting position
  • Grasp and shake a rattle independently
  • Increases their sound repertoire by blowing raspberries, shrieking and chuckling
  • Fascinated by and enjoys exploring their own hands

During this time: Introduce simple games like “this little piggy,” “pat-a-cake” and “counting toes.” Imitate their sounds to encourage language development. They will enjoy it and reciprocate with sound play.

Month Five

  • Your baby recognizes unfamiliar faces and demonstrates the first signs of stranger anxiety
  • With increasing frequency baby is able to reach for, grasp and bring objects to their mouth for oral exploration
  • Does modified push ups and make swimming motions with their arms
  • Vocalizations increase with new inflections
  • Is able to sit, lean forward less and keep a straighter back

During this time: Help them stay balanced while sitting, place a favorite toy or book in front of them to explore. Read lots of books with large, bright illustrations especially simple poems and nursery rhymes as this will foster language skills.

READ MORE: Milestones that matter

Month Six

  • Turns towards sounds
  • Imitates sounds
  • Rolls over in both directions
  • Can pass objects from hand to hand

During this time: If baby can sit well, and can hold his head in a steady and upright position, he may be giving clues that he's ready to try solid foods.

Month Seven

  • Able to stand with support
  • Go from sitting to crawling position
  • Pulls themselves up to standing position using furniture for support
  • Able to communicate some of their basic needs
  • Shows preference to feed themselves with their hands

During this time: Give them a lot of room to roam and explore. Offer them soft rubbery toys to chew on to ease teething discomfort.

Month Eight

  • Turns accurately to sound of voice
  • Demonstrates a wide range of facial expressions
  • Able to bring thumb and forefinger together in what is known as the “pincer” grasp
  • Begins to respond to their name and understands some simple requests

During this time: Continue to provide them with plenty of room to explore and for safety keep tables clear and cabinets locked. 

Month Nine

  • Able to crawl up stairs
  • Able to feed themselves finger food
  • Responds to their name
  • Understands “no”
  • Starts to search for hidden objects

During this time: Let them hold on to your fingers while they take baby steps. Introduce more complex toys like stacking cups and shape sorter.

Month Ten

  • Able to stand with little support
  • Sit down from a standing position
  • Actively searches for an object if they see it hidden
  • Imitates sounds and gestures
  • Able to wave “bye-bye”

During this time: Practice finding objects that are hidden to increase memory. Make a variety of silly sounds and gestures to imitate.

Month Eleven

  • Drops objects for someone to pick up
  • Drinks independently from a cup
  • Takes first steps without holding onto anything for support
  • Says first words like “mama” and “dada”
  • Gives affection to favorite people and objects

During this time: Take falls in stride and encourage your baby's movement by responding with great enthusiasm and joy for each step they take.

Month Twelve

  • Able to point to objects they want
  • Uses some combination of standing, cruising and walking to get around
  • Starts to initiate play

During this time: Applaud their efforts to walk independently toward your arms. Mastering this is your baby's top priority now.

Dawn Marie Barhyte is a freelance writer and former educator who lives in Warwick.