Baby Milestones: This Is What to Expect in the First Year of Life

baby teething
Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

Milestones are exciting for all parents! Below are some milestones to look forward to during the first year of life. A general reminder: all babies are unique. Thus, these are guidelines on what to look for at the approximate ages. There may be variation in the stages of development for each child.

The Baby’s First Few Months

Talk, sing, read, and smile to your baby. He will start learning your voice and face.

The first thing you may notice is a smile. This may occur around 2 months of age. How exciting that your baby is actually now showing a response to you when he sees your face -and it’s no longer just gas!

Your baby will also start to lift his chest and head. In the first few months however you need to support your baby’s head. Be sure to encourage tummy time. This will strengthen his muscles. He should also start tracking with his eyes.

The Baby at Four Months

Your baby will start trying to roll over. He may reach and grab (although he’ll miss for whatever he is trying to grab at) and will also start laughing with the smiles. You may hear ‘raspberries’ (bubble making sounds).

By now, your baby should be able to support his head and sit up with support. You no longer have to support his head. Continue tummy time and continue talking, smiling and reading to your baby.

Six Month Old Babies

Your baby can roll over both ways, sit without support, transfer an object from one hand to the other, make single syllable sounds, and can interact well with you.

He learns his name and will respond to his name. He can start to sense tone of voice now, too, and may become more sensitive and attuned to the tone of your voice.

An exciting game now to play will be peekaboo! Babies start to learn to watch something go away and come back again (‘object permanence’). Another fun activity is looking in the mirror.

Continue to read and talk to your baby. I would suggest really talking about anything you are doing when you are with him too. Name things, teach things, and talk to him throughout your day.

Nine Month Baby Milestones

Be sure you have your home child-proofed! By now your baby may become the ‘little explorer’. He will start crawling, pulling to stand, ‘cruising’ (walking holding on), picking up small objects (‘pincer grasp’) and be interested in all around him. He wants to play and explore. Simple ‘toys’ to use are empty plastic cups or Tupperware!

He will start babbling now, too. Look out for those first words – usually mama or dada.   Keep talking and reading to your baby! This communication with your baby all through the first year will encourage his communication and language skills.

Most babies develop separation anxiety by now. Ensure goodbyes when you leave and also be sure he knows the babysitter or caregiver before you leave to make the separation easier.

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In the Next Few Months Leading Up to One Year

He will start imitating, babbling more and drinking from a cup. Your little one is still ready to move at any second. He will grab things, play with things, pull to stand, cruise and may even walk with or without support.

You will also notice your baby’s temperament. And keep the interaction going! Talk, read, sing, and smile to your baby. Everyday things you are doing, say out loud so your baby hears what you are doing. This is great for language development. The smiles back encourage that communication.

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Your Baby at One Year

Wow – how has a year gone by?! Every second is a joyous memory, even with all the lack of sleep, constant feeds and diaper changes. No worries if your baby isn’t walking yet.  Each milestone may develop at a slightly different time for each child. Every baby is unique.

There are milestones that your pediatrician will look for if there is any concern with your baby’s development. There are many well child checkups in the first year, and your pediatrician will ask questions to ensure your baby is developing appropriately. Also, if you have any concerns, be sure to ask at your well visit checkup or call the pediatrician before your next scheduled appointment.

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Ali is a board certified pediatrician who practiced general pediatrics for five years in a busy private practice in Manhattan NY. She since has moved into the pharmaceutical industry and oversees and mentors many physicians globally. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences as a pediatrician with other moms and dads. Ali’s outside interests include working out, acting, piano, guitar, dance and being a mom! Ali currently lives in NYC with her husband, 2 ½ year old daughter and 5 month old son.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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