When your new baby first arrives he or she is beautiful and perfect. Over the next few months, though, some parents notice that their babies aren’t developing as rapidly as another baby they know. Babies develop differently depending upon many factors. A baby that is the first in a bunch to hold his bottle might not be the first one to crawl. How your baby develops – or doesn’t develop – is important, though. If most babies crawl by the time they’re 7 months, and your baby doesn’t crawl until he is 8 months, this is not a major concern. However, if your baby doesn’t crawl until nearly a year old, there could be a problem. Here is a guide for basic learning and developing for babies from birth to a year old.
At a month old a new baby’s skills are extremely limited. He will begin to raise his head up on his own but will be unable to manipulate it purposefully. At two months, however, the baby has a little more control over the head. He or she will begin to make noises like gurgling or cooing when awake. At three months old the baby can hold the head fairly steady most of the time. During this period baby will begin to notice his hands and fingers often holding them up and moving them around willingly.
At about three to four months of age your baby should be able to visually track movements in front of him. He can often turn his head to follow the movements or will follow with his eyes. The baby will begin to push the upper half of his body up when lying on his stomach. He or she also begins making many more noises which are not crying or whining.
Also during this time the baby will sometimes move his head towards noises and start to roll from side to side. It’s not unusual for a four month old to roll over but some babies don’t roll until five months or so. If toys are positioned above the baby he will swat at them with his hands. The baby can now smile willingly and will likely blow bubbles a lot. At four months old the baby can start to bear weight on the legs but you should never let the baby hold all of his own weight at this age. At four months the baby can likely start on some solid foods, like baby cereal.
At five to six months old your baby will begin to distinguish particular colors. He plays with his hands and feet a lot and should be able to roll over, from left to right as well as from right to left, and back again. The five month old should now turn towards sounds and sit for a few moments without being supported. At six months he will be able to imitate sounds, get up on hands and knees (even if not crawling yet), and pass objects from one hand to another without dropping.
By seven months old your baby should be able to sit without support and should be at least trying to get up on his hands and knees. The baby jabbers a lot even if you can’t make out any distinct words. At eight months old you should start to hear recognizable words. The eight month old baby will start to pull himself up to things and even stand for a period of time while hanging on to an object. At nine months most babies are standing – even walking – while holding on to furniture and other objects.
By ten months old your baby should definitely be using the thumb and forefinger to pick up small objects, standing while holding on, and saying a few words. He should be able to wave, sit to play for long periods, and crawl well without falling. This child should be able to place objects in a container without knocking over the container. The child might also start to let go of objects and stand alone for a few seconds.
At eleven months old many babies have taken their first steps although some children don’t walk until after a year old. At this age babies can play simple games like “patty cake” or “peek-a-boo”. He or she laughs out loud, gestures often with hands, and can say a handful of words. He or she understands the word “no” and some other words.
Your child hits a milestone when he or she reaches the age of 12 months. The first year of your baby’s life is full of growth, exploration and development. He or she should now be walking even if holding on to something. He should be able to say at least three or four words even if he doesn’t say them perfectly. He should be jabbering quite a lot with recognizable words thrown in here and there.
Your baby might progress slightly slower – or a little faster – than other babies you know. That’s okay; all babies don’t develop at the exact time. It’s normal for most kids to reach milestones within a month or so of other children their own ages. If you feel any concern that your baby is not developing like he or she should talk to your pediatrician. All “slow” babies aren’t necessarily handicapped. Some may have hearing or other issues that can be corrected. It’s important to watch for milestones in your baby’s life and to discuss any worries with the physician.