Ages And Stages

What to expect as your baby grows

In the first two years of life, your child goes from helpless newborn to walking, talking and sometimes trouble-making toddler. The key to navigating this process successfully is to be prepared.

The Newborn Stage (Birth to 6 Months)

During baby's first month, he or she is just trying to adjust to life outside the womb, but once the sights and sounds are familiar, you'll notice baby start to interact—playing strange with unknown people and, by six months, beginning to roll and creep.

The Cruising Stage (6 Months to 1 Year)

Once baby learns to move, look out! After about six months, baby's strength improves almost daily, and you'll soon have a cruiser on your hands. Crawling can begin as early as six months and is generally perfected by nine months. Between 10 and 12 months, babies begin pulling themselves up on furniture, standing independently and eventually walking. By the time their first birthday hits, babies are ready to spend more time upright, though they generally still need outside support.

The Curiosity Stage (1 Year to 18 Months)

By their first birthday, babies have usually learned a few words and taken a few steps on their own, but it is after they turn one that they really start to make the leap towards toddlerhood. Once your baby is 13 or 14 months old, your house is a wonderland he or she will want to explore. This is the stage at which baby proofing is essential and sitting down is practically impossible while you're little one's awake—you'll be too busy following baby to keep him or her out of trouble!

The Active Stage (18 Months to 2 Years)

As your baby learns more about his or her surroundings, the desire to communicate and participate grows stronger, and by 18 months, your burgeoning toddler will be walking, talking and playing more than ever. Still curious, your 20 or 21-month old is going to ask "Why?" almost constantly, and he or she will also express a desire to perform certain tasks independently. Of course, self-expression isn't at its fullest yet, so expect a few meltdowns as your child lets off frustration at not being understood or at needing help he or she doesn't want. Just consider it preparation for the terrible twos!

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