Milestones to Expect During Your Baby’s First Year

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Some say that a baby’s first year of life is the most critical, while others argue that the baby does not remember that much and therefore it may not be as important as the toddler stages. This is one debate not to bother with. As far as any parent is concerned, from the time your baby first makes its spectacular entrance in the world, through the time he or she leaves for college, all of the years are essential!
The best thing to do for your baby is probably what you have been doing; your best. As parents we can be very tough on ourselves, wondering if we are doing enough, or doing too little, or if we should be doting more, or less, and so forth. Just having a happy baby is the key to your baby’s overall wellness and yours, as well.

What milestones can I expect during my baby’s first year?

Any first-time mother might have questions about how well her baby is doing, both mentally and physically. Are they meeting their milestones? Is the baby normal? Is there anything to watch out for? The answer is, yes and no. Some babies develop quickly and some take their time. Babies are individuals, just like us. Your job as a parent is just to help them along by taking proper care of them, so that they can develop normally.

Here are some milestones you may notice your baby reaching, and when:

  • Week 1 to a month old:
    The baby’s neck muscles are unable to hold its head up on its own, but over time, these muscles will strengthen. For some babies, this may take up to two months.
  • 2 months old:
    You may have seen a little smile prior to two months, but by this age your baby may smile in response to yours. It’s a great feeling!
  • 3 – 4 months old:
    Perhaps even more joyous than the smile is the day you hear your baby’s giggle of laughter for the first time, usually around three or four months of age.
  • 5 – 6 months:
    Your baby may start sitting up instead of lying down all the time. This can be a fun time to introduce clapping and hand activities. You can also try putting the baby in a bouncer to help entertain and build up mobility.
  • Around 6 months:
    Your baby may have started sleeping in longer increments, but by six months, most infants can sleep through the night. Whether they do or not is totally up to the baby and the schedule you keep during the day.
  • Approx. 6 months:
    Babies may be able to make goo-goo and gaga sounds by 3 or 4 months old, but by 6 to 8 months of age, you may hear an actual “Momma” or “Dada”. This is music to your ears! If your baby takes longer, don’t worry. It can take up to a year for some babies.
  • 6 – 7 months:
    Although some do this sooner, you can introduce your baby to “baby food” such as homemade applesauce or Gerber foods, when the baby is ready to eat more than just breast milk or formula.
  • 8 – 9 months:
    Your baby might learn how to wave, clap and do other hand gestures.
  • 9 – 10 months:
    By now, your baby might like to try other little snacks, such as finger foods that melt, or some very, finely chopped fruit (be careful that it is soft, well cut so baby does not choke). This can be fun as baby will get used to a high chair and enjoy another activity.
  • 10 months – 1 year:
    Once your baby starts standing, it is usually only a couple of weeks thereafter that the baby will start walking. This is exciting, but you should remember to childproof your house!
  • 1 year old:
    Your baby’s weight will have doubled and height increased by 9 – 12 inches!

Keep in mind these are loose milestones. One baby might be able to start walking at only nine months old, while another baby might not start taking those first steps until after the year mark. It does not mean that your baby is “slow” or abnormal.


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