As a parent, it is natural to want to know what the future holds for you and your baby. There is so much information on baby development milestones, and what’s expected in the world of baby development, sometimes it’s hard to know what or who to trust. So, to help put your mind at ease and simplify everything you need to know, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to baby milestones month by month!
Whether you want to learn about new-born milestones before your little one enters the world, or you are a couple months into parenthood and you’re thinking about when baby memories start to form, we’re here to help.
Before we get started, there are four key milestones to keep in mind as your baby develops sound, sight, movement and speech but of course there are other cute things that happen too!
0-2 months new-born milestones...
Welcoming your little one to the world!
Your baby begins to learn and develop as soon as it is born. The hearing portion of the brain is extremely active in the first two months. They will start moving their heads towards sources of sound at about 2 months and may be able to distinguish between voices! Talking to your baby might help calm them down if they are upset.
Your baby’s sight develops rapidly and vision begins to focus in the first month so that they can see about 30cm away. Their eyes may jolt around or if they look slightly cross eyed sometimes – but that’s okay! It’s all part of learning how to focus. Their eyes will start to move together most of the time at around 6 weeks as they develop. Your baby then may start to distinguish between colours at around 2 months, and be drawn towards bright, primary colours.
Your baby will also start moving slightly within the first 2 months. They may discover their legs and arms at around 1 month old, and they start to coordinate towards 2 months, meaning lots of kicking. They may also start rolling around and grasping things at around 2 months. Don’t expect too much though! Their neck muscles are still weak but they may be able to lift their head up briefly or turn it side to side; it’s still important to support their head when holding them straight. Their movement combined with their sight means they might even reward you for all of your hard work with some cute little smiles!
Of course, your baby can’t speak yet, but don’t worry if your baby cries – it’s the only way they can communicate. It’s thought to be excessive if they cry for more than 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week. Babies generally cry from the moment they’re born, and often more in the afternoons or evenings. As they get closer to 2 months, they can become more vocal with some single vowel sounds or delightful gurgling, happy baby sounds! In the early days, it’s as important to keep track of nappy changes and feeds as that may explain why your baby is crying.
2, 3 & 4 month baby milestones...
Everything is coming into focus!
Between 2 & 4 months, your baby can respond to familiar voices and are soothed by familiar sounds! They’ll be fascinated by the normal sounds of everyday life – from general chit chat to background music – these can all help to stimulate your baby’s hearing. During your baby’s development, they may respond best to higher pitch voices.
Their sight will improve too! They’ll have better focus and be interested in people, other babies, and even their own reflection. They will recognise faces and differentiate people, especially mum. They may be excited to see her and attempt to grab her attention. They can also recognise and react to certain items, like a bottle. Babies will also be able to see a wide range of colours, although soft pastels are still difficult to see. Your baby will also start to realise distance and depth around them.
Your baby’s neck muscles will strengthen, giving them better support for holding their heads, enabling them to turn towards sound sources, and elevate them during tummy time. They may start reaching for items, gripping them, and even bringing them to their mouths. As they get stronger, they’ll be able to keep their head steady while sitting, and roll from stomach to back using their arms for ‘tummy time’! Your baby will start to imitate face or hand movements and may be able to sit up straight when propped up.
You may notice different types of crying. Eva Benmeleh categorises them as: hungry, tired, overstimulated, scared, gassy, and cuddly. These cries can vary in intensity and may be accompanied with body movements. Coos and gurgles indicate happiness. Babbling sounds could also indicate that their hearing is developing normally, as these noises are prompted by a baby's ability to hear themselves. They realise they can produce noises to attract attention and begin to mimic sounds they hear and they may begin to chuckle - how adorable!
Other cute baby milestones...
Your infant will gain weight gradually (2/3 ounce each day). The average weight of a 4-month-old girl is 13.7lbs (6.2kg) while a 4-month-old boy is 14.8lbs (6.7kg).Their short-term memory and awareness of physics and cause-and-effect begin to develop. They begin to discover that their actions affect their surroundings, boosting their urge to move, feel, and explore. Your baby may suck on their hands to self-satisfy as the early symptoms of their first teeth might emerge as early as 3 months old. They may begin rubbing their gums and drooling in anticipation of their first teeth. They will be interested in textures and will want to eat them, so keep them away from small items!
5, 6 & 7 month baby milestones...
Get ready to childproof!
As your baby’s hearing develops, they can mimic your speech patterns by listening to you. They’ll recognise what you mean when you say 'no,' and they may be familiar with certain common names. They may be able to recognise their own name when it is spoken to them.
Your baby will start to be capable of recognising a wide range of objects, including smaller, more delicate ones. They may grab for items such as buttons or jewellery, so keep a watchful eye out! Your baby will also start to grasp that even when they cannot see an object or person, they continue to exist - this is known as object permanence. They’ll also start to mimic your facial expressions to communicate better.
Now your baby may be able to sit up, but they will most likely need to be supported while doing so. As their arms and legs become stronger, they begin crawling, rolling, or shuffling at around 6 months old. If their arms are stronger than their legs, they may begin to crawl backwards; this is normal, don’t worry! Your baby’s fine motor skills will improve when they reach 7 months, and they will be able to hold items more precisely with their thumb and fingers. Your baby will start to communicate too! When they want to be picked up, they will begin to hold their arms out and instead of flailing around, they will kick their arms and legs with purpose. Because their tongue has more nerve endings than any other part of their body, they will put items in their mouth to see how they feel.
Your baby will start to make noise with purpose too. Different noises, such as raspberries being blown, will surface and their chuckle will begin to appear and grow. Your baby will begin to create and repeat one-syllable sounds and they might even start making two-syllable sounds! Teeth can begin to appear, resulting in a lot of dribbling. Two little incisors can be seen in the top centre of their mouth.
Other cute baby milestones...
Your child may acquire stranger anxiety and cling to you when meeting new individuals. Separation anxiety can develop as a result of object permanence, especially if they are transferred into their own room around 6 months. They may cry and fuss when you leave, but they will eventually realise that it does not mean you are gone forever.
At 6 months, they will have about doubled their birth weight but they will still enjoy being held and cared for, which can aid in their future emotional development.
8, 9 & 10 month baby milestones...
They like to move it, move it!
Your baby is working hard now! Their hearing will improve further and they will understand familiar words such as ‘no’, ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, and objects such as ball and cup. They may respond well to their own name and even respond to familiar words such as looking at Grandma when you ask “where’s grandma?”, even if they can’t speak yet.
Their eyesight is almost as good as an adult’s now, and, once they’re crawling and walking, they’ll have better eye-hand-foot-body coordination. Your baby will be able to see across the room and easily recognise familiar people and objects. Your baby will even start to enjoy looking at pictures in books, recognising everyday objects.
Your baby is also going to start moving! They may start crawling at this stage, or start crawling faster if they have already been doing it previously. Your child may start walking, but don’t worry if not – it’s a big challenge! Their pincer grasp will become stronger, so watch out for your baby throwing things, as well as picking up and dropping objects! You may start to notice whether they are right or left handed. They’ll also use furniture to pull themselves up to a standing position and will sit for long periods of time and play with toys becoming more independent. Words will start matching with gestures so they may start waving goodbye when they see you leave!
Baby’s empathy can start to develop too, so they may cry when they see other babies crying. Your baby’s vowel sounds might turn into ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ or something similar – the average age for a first word is at 10-11 months! Soon your baby will be babbling away with words you’ll recognise. This is the time you will start to see your baby’s personality coming through – you may see shyness or confidence, and they’ll show you what they do and don’t like doing.
11 & 12-month baby milestones...
Can you believe it's been a year!?
By now, your baby can understand simple instructions, such as ‘no’, but they might choose to ignore you sometimes. We recommend only using the word when necessary so that it has more power and they don’t try to ignore it. Your baby will also be able to respond by pointing at objects, for example, when you ask “Where’s the ball?” and they’ll recognise their favourite songs and will probably try to join in
Their vision is almost fully developed now, and they can see colours well. They’ll be able to easily recognise familiar faces, objects and images. Your baby will also be able to see clearly and make out faces around 20 feet away and follow moving objects with their eyes.
Once your baby starts walking, they’ll be learning other movements such as squatting, ducking, standing on one leg, etc. The age that babies start crawling, cruising and walking varies a lot, so don’t worry if they haven’t started yet. Your baby might need you to hold their hands as they get used to walking. Make sure to childproof your home so that they’re safe while exploring their environment. Changing, dressing and feeding them may get more challenging as they’ll try wriggling away, so keep an eye on them. As they start to become more independent, the smallest of chores can become difficult, but it shows that their confidence is building and they’re becoming their own person.
Your baby will be able to speak more now, and they’ll start saying Mama and Dada – it’s been found that Dada is a more common first word! Other words might appear such as Nana, or simple words like shoe (even if they’re not pronounced correctly, still praise and encourage them). They’ll also understand back-and-forth conversation as they learn about rhythm and turn taking. They may even engage in this, even though it would just be babbling. This is the age their personality will start to shine through.
Other cute things…
Another thing to note is that as they’re meeting lots of new people but their immunity to common infections haven’t developed yet, there might be lots of coughs, sneezes and runny noses. Your baby will also start to learn what they like and don’t like, and they may start having tantrums. They’ll start to imitate others and try to join in with their siblings or friends. It’s important to remember your baby will be teething and this may be a difficult time – try teething toys or a wet, cool flannel to help soothe their gums, etc.
All babies are different and all babies grow and learn at different speeds. You shouldn’t be too concerned if they are getting things a bit later than their friends, but there are a few things to look out for that may be a sign of something more serious, such as sleeping too much or over-sleeping, crying excessively or not smiling/laughing and not making eye contact or recognising familiar people or objects. As we've mentioned, no two babies develop at the same speed. It’s understandable to be concerned, but just remember that they have so much to learn and they will get there eventually. It’s also completely OK to admit if you need help, or if you make mistakes – all parents do and that’s how we learn.
Don’t forget to download our baby milestones chart, and let us know in the comments below if you have any tips for development or play ideas!