Baby Development

Baby stages and milestones

Raising a baby is watching a miracle — a little person that you've created is growing up before your eyes. Baby development is quick and amazing; in just one year, your baby goes from a newborn not able to even lift its own head to a walking, babbling, cheerful little person with his or her own likes and dislikes. Here are some tips to track your baby's development so you can be sure your child is meeting all of the baby milestones.

Baby Stages from Birth to a Year

So, you've come home from the hospital with this tiny bundle in blankets — it's hard to believe that in just one year, this newborn will be walking. Infant development is rapid and interesting. Newborns start out with limited sight and movement. They can see a few feet in front of them, enough for them to learn and recognize their mother's face. However, newborns have a good sense of smell, and this allows them to find their mother's breasts and breastfeed more easily; it also helps them recognize the people in their lives.

In the first three months, your baby will learn to raise his or her head, smile, kick, move both arms and legs, roll over and make babbling noises. You will also learn to distinguish your baby's cries, which will help you determine what your baby wants from you. Baby may also learn to wake up less as his or her stomach grows bigger and takes more in at a feeding.

From four to seven months, babies are learning a lot about their environments. They will turn their heads toward colors and patterns, and they love toys that make noise and light up. Your baby will also become fascinated with people's faces. Teething normally begins during this time, which may earn you a lot of sleepless nights! Babies also learn to sit up and may start making motions to crawl, although a baby who crawls before seven months is not common. Your baby will learn to grasp objects during this time as well, and may even start babbling sounds that will form the basis of his or her first words.

Seven to ten months is a time of change — babies may experience a sleep regression, where they don't sleep as well as they have been, and they will learn to crawl or creep during this time. Some children may even start standing up and holding onto furniture in readiness to walk. Although baby growth spurts may happen at any age, you will definitely see a change in your baby now as he or she begins to build muscles in the legs and back and starts walking.

At one year (12 months), your child should be saying a few recognizable words (mama, dada) and taking his or her first steps. Your baby should be able to grasp and hold objects, pick up small objects using a pincer grasp and begin to recognize objects and people, showing visible signs of recognition and delight at familiar surroundings. Congratulations! You've made it to the first year! Now you're ready to watch your child go through toddler development.

For more detail on baby's month-by-month development, see our Ages & Stages section.

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