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Developmental Milestones During a Baby’s First Year

All parents are excited to see their baby reach the developmental milestones.  The following checklist may be helpful in working out what to expect, and roughly when, however, this is only intended as a rough guide, as it is based on the average progress in the first year.  Remember, all babies are unique and develop at their own pace, for example, the baby who learns how to crawl weeks before her peers, might be one of the last to learn how to walk.  You needn’t worry about slight delays, but you may wish to check with your GP if you notice one of the red flags highlighted below.

One Month:

  • Lifts their head briefly when placed on their tummy.
  • Stares at and focuses on your face.
  • Notices a sudden or prolonged noise, such as a vacuum cleaner, and pauses to listen.
  • Stretches out their limbs and fingers, uncurling their body from the foetal position they’ve been keeping in the early weeks.

Red Flags
Each child develops at her own pace, but talk to your baby's doctor if your 1-month-old:

  • Feeds slowly or doesn't suck well
  • Doesn't seem to focus their eyes or watch things moving nearby
  • Doesn't react to bright lights
  • Seems especially stiff or floppy
  • Doesn't respond to loud sounds

Your Role During the First Month
Enjoy getting to know your baby: Cuddle them, talk to them, and learn how they signal when they're tired or hungry. Be attentive and responsive. You can't spoil a baby!

Give them plenty of tummy time from the start when they're awake so they can strengthen their muscles. Encourage them to look at and reach for toys.

Make sure they get plenty of time outside. Go for walks with them.  They'll enjoy the outdoors, relaxing with you, and being around other children.

Get close and make eye contact with your baby when you talk, sing, and read to them. Play simple games when they're alert and in the mood, such as peekaboo or mimicking their sounds. Learn the signs that they've had enough play and need some down time.

Two Months:

  • Able to lift their head for a little while, when lying on their tummy.
  • Waves their arms and kicks their legs.
  • Listens with interest to your voice.
  • Able to 'track' with their eyes a colourful object moved about 20cm from their face.
  • Makes 'happy' noises, such as cooing and gurgling.
  • Gives you their first proper smile!

Three Months:

  • Smiles back when you smile at them.
  • Laughs or squeals with pleasure.
  • Makes 'happy' noises, such as cooing and gurgling.
  • Waves their arms and kicks their legs.
  • Holds their head steady for a few moments when you support them in a sitting position.
  • Lifts up their head and upper chest for a little while, when lying on their tummy.
  • Grasps a finger placed against their palm.
  • Copies you, if you put your face close to theirs and stick your tongue out at them!

Red Flags
Each child develops at his own pace, but talk to your child's doctor if your 3-month-old:

  • Can't support their head well
  • Can't grasp objects
  • Can't focus on moving objects
  • Doesn't smile
  • Doesn't react to loud sounds
  • Ignores new faces
  • Seems upset by unfamiliar people or surroundings

Your Role at Three Months
Don't worry about spoiling your baby: Responding to them promptly helps them feel secure and loved. You can help them learn to soothe themselves by guiding their thumb to their mouth or offering them a dummy.

Continue to make tummy time part of their daily routine so they can practice their new skills and strengthen their muscles. When they're on their tummy, give them toys and safe objects they can reach for, hold, and explore.

Give your baby lots of loving attention. Talk to them throughout the day, describing what you're doing and naming familiar objects. Read books together. Share cuddles, play games, and encourage their efforts to roll over, grab toys, and "talk" with you.

Four Months:

  • Quietens or smiles at the sound of your voice when they can't see you.
  • Bats or swipes at objects dangling in front of them, and occasionally hits them.
  • Discovers their hands, sucking their fists and observing their own fingers.
  • Listens intently when you speak to them.
  • Makes their first attempts at rolling over

Your Role from 4 to 7 Months
Your baby thrives on the interactions they have with you, so integrate play into everything you do with them. Shower them with smiles and cuddles, and reply when they babble to encourage their communication skills. Read together every day, naming the objects you see in books and around you.

Give them lots of opportunities to strengthen their new physical skills by helping them sit and positioning them to play on both their stomach and back. Before they can crawl, be sure to childproof your home and keep their environment safe for exploring.

Provide a variety of age-appropriate toys and household objects (like wooden spoons or cartons) to explore. Work on establishing a routine for sleeping, feeding, and playtime.

By 6 months, they may be ready to start solid food.

Five Months:

  • Reaches out for objects.
  • Explores objects by putting them to their mouth.
  • Tries to bear weight on their legs when supported.
  • Tries to roll over
  • Practises sitting up, by pushing forward in their bouncy chair or on your lap, or      pulling themselves up on their cot bars.
  • Finds their feet fascinating, perhaps putting them to their mouth.

Six Months:

  • Able to see across a room.
  • Sits up, if well supported with cushions.
  • Starts babbling, making consonant sounds such as ‘ba-ba, ab-a, da-da, ma-ma'.
  • Rolls  over
  • Pushes up with their arms, lifts up their back, neck and head and has a good look round while lying on their tummy..
  • Enjoys blowing bubbles or raspberries!

Seven Months:

  • Able to grasp larger objects, and pass them from hand to hand.
  • Turns immediately in response to your voice from across the room, or to very quiet noises on either side of them if they’re not too distracted by something else.
  • Babbles loudly and tunefully.
  • Bears their own weight on their legs for a while, when supported.
  • Reaches for objects, usually with both hands, and grasps them.
  • Shows pleasure or annoyance with squeals or screams.
  • Raises their arms when they want to be picked up.
  • Drinks from a cup.
  • Gets into a crawling position, or has begun to try crawling or bottom shuffling (either forwards or backwards!).

Red Flags
Each child develops at her own pace, but talk to your child's doctor if your baby:

  • Seems very stiff or floppy
  • Can't hold their head steady
  • Can't sit on their own
  • Doesn't respond to noises or smiles
  • Isn't affectionate with those closest to them
  • Doesn't reach for objects

Eight Months:

  • Recognises familiar people and objects from across a room.
  • Stretches out to grasp a small object when offered, and manipulates a toy with great interest.
  • Babbles loudly and tunefully.
  • Able to sit up unsupported
  • Enjoys a game of peekaboo.
  • Attempts  to progress along the floor, either by rolling, wriggling, crawling, bottom-shuffling or by bear walking on their hands and feet.

Your Role from 8 to 12 Months
Keep talking to your baby: This is a critical time for their language development. Describe your routine, what you're doing now and what you're going to do next, and what you see. Describing how you think your baby is feeling helps them learn emotions. Keep reading together and play peekaboo, hide-and-seek, and turn-taking games.

As they get more active, it's important to provide a safe space to explore. They may not be walking quite yet, but you can help them get ready by holding them in a way that puts weight on their legs or by propping them up against the sofa.

Pay attention to what they enjoy, and give them the freedom to use all their senses to play and discover. Offer them crayons and paper, stacking blocks, empty food containers, and pots and pans to play with.

Praise and reward good behavior. If they get into mischief, a brief "no" and redirection is usually enough. Although they're too young to understand and obey rules, you can start showing them which behaviors aren't allowed and helping them find more appropriate activities.

Be respectful of their separation anxiety: Build trust by giving them time to get used to new caregivers and always saying goodbye before you leave.

Nine Months:

  • Babbles loudly, combining syllables to make word-like sounds, such as ‘ma-ma', although at this age she's still just experimenting with noises rather than calling you by your name.
  • Sits unsupported.
  • Pokes at or picks up very small objects, such as crumbs, with their thumb and fingers.
  • Able to hold their own bottle.
  • Moves across the room in some way, by rolling, wriggling, crawling, bottom-shuffling, or by bear walking on their hands and feet.
  •  Makes their first (messy) attempts at feeding themselves with cutlery.

Ten Months:

  • Responds to their name and understands some words, such as 'no', or simple instructions.
  • Bears their own weight when you hold them and bounce them on your knee.
  • Crawls or bottom-shuffles along the floor.
  • Bangs objects together, or imitates hand clapping.
  • Has fun putting objects inside a container - and taking them out again.
  • Enjoys a game of hide-and-seek with a toy.
  • Pulls up to a standing position with support from you or a solid object.
  • Stands alone for a few seconds.
  • Climbs up stairs and furniture. This is something they need to learn, so do allow them to have a go, carefully supervised!

11 Months:

  • Releases an object from her grasp, or hands something to you, if you ask for it.
  • Able to move around the room in some way, whether crawling, bottom-shuffling, wriggling, rolling or cruising (supporting herself on the furniture)
  • Able to pick up small objects between thumb and finger, and enjoys putting objects in a container.
  • Has a good understanding of some simple instructions or questions.
  • Drinks from a cup.
  • Pulls up to standing with support from you or a solid object.
  • Able to stand unsupported for a while.
  • Attempts to feed themselves with their own cutlery.
  • Waves goodbye.
  • Uses a proper word, with the right meaning attached to it.
  • May take their first steps alone.

Red Flags
Each child develops at his own pace, but talk to your child's doctor if your baby:

  • Doesn't crawl
  • Seems to drag one side while they're crawling for a month or more
  • Can't stand with support
  • Doesn't try to find objects you've hidden in front of them
  • Doesn't say any words
  • Doesn't use gestures, such as shaking their head "no" and pointing

Courtesy of http://www.netmums.com/baby/baby-baby-development/your-baby-s-development and http://www.babycenter.com/milestone-charts-birth-to-age-3