Buckle up, parents! Your baby’s first year is a whirlwind of milestones. You’ve already seen them take their first breath, heard their first wail, and changed their first dirty diaper. (Only a couple thousand more to go, this year alone!)
So what’s up next?
Developmental milestones are behaviors and physical skills children reach and master as they grow. Some first-year-of-life physical milestones include:
Behavioral/social milestones include mimicking your expressions and crying or laughing to show emotions.
So get your cameras ready — here are the milestones you can expect during your baby’s magical first year of life!
It may seem that your baby is simply an eating, pooping, and sleeping machine at this point. But a lot is going on in that tiny body. Milestones to watch for include:
Your baby is starting to act, well, more baby-like. By the end of 2 months, your baby is likely to be:
Your baby is progressing from dependent newborn to more independent baby (yay — you might find those 5 minutes to take a shower!). This is when some of that cuteness overload starts to kick in. Watch for:
At this stage, your baby is taking the milestones already achieved and perfecting them. For example, they may hold their head up more consistently and for longer periods, grasp toys with more coordination, and copy your expressions with more accuracy. Other milestones are:
Your baby continues to grow, explore, and master. As their strength and coordination increase, you may notice that your baby is:
Your baby’s growing up! They may now be:
Given that they are now getting better and better at grasping and holding objects, the American Academy of Pediatrics says 6 months is a good time to begin to encourage your baby to use spoons and their hands to feed themselves. (We’re warning you: It won’t be pretty.) You can even introduce a sippy cup or regular cup with help.
Your baby continues to build on what they’ve already learned. Milestones include:
You might notice that your little one can now roll over, sit up, and move objects from hand to hand or hand to mouth like a pro. You might also begin to see your baby:
Don’t worry — separation anxiety passes. We promise you’ll eventually be able to go to the bathroom alone again.
Your baby is on the move! They may be:
Your baby conintues to explore and experiment. Watch your baby as they’re:
In addition to reaching, crawling, and cruising, your baby may be:
Congratulations! You officially have a toddler, and you’re no worse for wear — except for maybe that time your baby gave your hoop earring that really bad tug and… well, we digress.
During their twelfth month, your baby will likely be:
While most babies will reach milestones at roughly (and roughly is the operative word here) the same age, there’s a wide range of “normal.”
Your sister’s baby walked at 10 months and yours is still crawling at 13 months? Normal. Your 9-month-old baby can pick up Cheerios like a vacuum but your neighbor’s baby the same age continues to struggle? Yep, that’s normal too.
Babies born prematurely or with a health issue or congenital disorder can also take more time to reach milestones. And one 2018 study found that girls tend to reach milestones before boys (although the differences weren’t huge).
All along the way, your baby’s pediatrician will be looking out for milestones and watching your baby’s progress. If your baby’s doctor feels there’s a need for intervention (screening, testing, or therapies, for example), they’ll let you know. And don’t shrug off your own intuition. If you feel something needs investigation, speak up.
Keep your well baby appointments (typically 5 to 6 in the first year) and see them as an opportunity to chat with your pediatrician about what’s going on.
Remember that the average ages for reaching certain milestones are just that — averages. Some babies will do things earlier, while others will do them later — and that’s all usually OK.
In fact, one Swiss study published in 2013 found that children who started walking early (younger than the study’s average of 12 months) were neither more intelligent nor more coordinated by their late teen years than children who walked later (the latest was 20 months).
But as always, speak to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.
Last medically reviewed on September 18, 2019