What to expect during each stage of your baby's first year

What to expect during each stage of your baby's first year

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

As parents, we know exactly how this feels. The arrival of a baby is a whirlwind of emotions. From the exciting journey that lies ahead of you to the utter confusion of what to expect, no emotion is spared here.  

Once the baby’s arrival home, the transformation from a newborn to a toddler is beautiful with each month bringing new and exciting developments. The incredible changes in the first 12 months of a baby occur very fast and it is helpful to be prepared as these stages come to life.

Get ready to say hello to the “firsts” with your camera on preferably :)

The First month- Although at this point your baby may seem like they are in a constant sleep, eat, poop cycle but there is a lot going on in their tiny bodies. They begin to develop reflexes.

The Second month- By the second month, you can see the baby getting better at moving their little bodies and becoming more alert. 

  • Pushing upward with their arms while lying on their tummy
  • Trying to follow movement with their eyes (aka tracking)

The Third month - It’s finally time to enjoy your little bundle of joy. The baby begins forming a strong attachment to you. Cuteness to look out for:

  • Smiles, especially in response to you!
  • Grasping toys
  • Kicking their legs while on their tummy
  • Recognizing familiar faces and voices

The Fourth month - At this stage, the baby has more control over their actions. They are able to do everything with more coordination and consistency. If you’ve had your baby’s crying keep you at edge the past 3 months, it’s time to look out for, the sweetest sound, their laughter!

The Fifth month- At this stage they are growing up quickly. Look out for:

  • Rolling from tummy to back
  • Getting ready for solid food
  • Making sounds (eee , ooo)

The Sixth month - At 6 months they are getting better at grasping and holding objects.

  • Beginning to sit up straight with support
  • Recognising their name
  • Expressing emotions (like whining when playtime stops or laughing when happy)

The Seventh month - The baby at this stage is building on what they’ve learned. It’s time for us to get alert as they:

  • Put objects in their mouth to explore them 
  • Sit up without support 
  • Begin to eat solid food
  • Responding to emotions (smiling at a happy face, uncertain at a fearful one)

The Eighth month- Your baby is beginning to explore their little world which means maybe you can officially give up on your gym membership! There will be lots of running around rewarded by very proud parent moments. Watch out for:

  • Blabbing more clearly, did you just hear a ma-ma, da-da?
  • Learn to stand with support
  • Attempts at crawling

The Ninth month - You can see their personality coming to form:

  • They begin to clap and play games
  • Get separation anxiety (which means they recognise you)
  • Be able to show preferences of who and what they like

The Tenth month- At this stage they are not really an infant anymore and start behaving more like a toddler.

  • Begin cruising i.e walking while holding onto furniture and objects
  • Banging objects together to make sounds
  • Shaking their head “no” and waving ”bye bye"

The Eleventh month - Along with the above, the baby now is also perfecting other things

  • Exploring language, more ‘mamas’ ‘dadas’ and even an occasional new phrase they may just pick up
  • Understanding simple statements like “no”, “don’t touch”
  • Copying your behaviour

The Twelfth month- Your baby is now a toddler! If they haven’t already, they are about to take their first steps, and their personalities evolve further

  • Cruising and taking a step or two
  • Using objects more accurately, like a spoon to eat, a comb to brush hair
  • Saying simple words
  • Also, a lot more throwing and banging objects as they are in their prime stage to explore

While most babies reach these milestones roughly at the same time, it’s important to remember there is a wide range of “normal” here. Your sister’s baby started eating with a spoon at 6 months, yours is still figuring out how to grasp one at 10 months - normal. Your friend’s baby started cruising at 8 months while yours is still crawling at 12 months - normal.

Babies grow up so fast, so take your time to enjoy these beautiful changes as your baby blossoms into an adorable toddler.  The fondest memories are always in the little things.