Baby Developmental Milestones: 2 months – 1 year

After the hard and (most likely) long process of giving birth, you now have a baby! Your own cute little human is probably smaller than your forearm. After navigating the murky road of pregnancy, you now have a new jungle to walk through: what your baby is supposed to do and when.

Before beginning, a very important note. The following rough timeline is one that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% or more of babies follow. If your baby’s development is late or early according to this timeline, it might not be cause for concern. Baby development is dependant on a lot of things and is very flexible, so there are no hard and fast deadlines. If, on the other hand, you are very worried or notice that your newborn is very late in the development stages, that will be the time to consult your doctor.

This list is also meant for babies that are born healthy. If your baby is born prematurely, or with a genetic disease/abnormality, it is best to consult your doctor.

2 months: The Beginning of the Journey

From the day the baby is born to 2 months old, a lot can happen. They can start making sounds (other than crying of course) and will most likely react to sounds around them. The baby might also develop a staring habit; watching you as you move, stare at a toy, or his or her surrounds for some time.

As for movement, you don’t need to worry just yet about your baby wandering under the couch or into the kitchen. At 2 months, the baby will be able to move their arms and legs, as well as hold their head up lying on their tummy.

At this stage, you should interact with you baby as much as possible. Babies are like sponges, absorbing all the sensory information around them so they can learn and grow. Now is the time to respond to your baby’s sounds and expressions, as well as read to them simple and basic stories. They might not understand you, but this will help them in developing their language, as well as their listening skills.

This might come as an obvious, but physically interact with your newborn: things like cuddling, hugging, and rocking back and forth communicates to the baby that is safe and is cared for. This goes a long way for the baby, both in the next developing stages and later in life. Remember, the baby probably does not understand what you say to him or her. Cuddling and holding the baby will help it feel safe and cared for.

4 months: Adorable Moments

At 4 months, your baby should be able to smile on their own, and even chuckle a bit. The newborn might also begin cooing, making sounds when you talk to him or her. This is the first attempts at talking, also known as baby talk. The baby will also most likely be able to express his or her hunger by opening their mouth when they see their mum’s breast or a feeding bottle.

Movement-wise, the baby might not be able to pick up a toy, but will be able to hold one when you put it in his or her hand. This is also the beginning of the putting-everything-in-their-mouth stage, every parent’s worst nightmare. The baby is discovering the world around, and during this age their fingers and hands are not developed enough to feel and sense with them. On the other hand, their mouth and lips are full of sensory nerves that help the baby discover the texture and shape of whatever is in their mouths.

As adorable as it is seeing a baby put their hands in his or her mouth, this is also dangerous because a baby can’t differentiate between something big and a chocking-hazard. Create a safe space for your baby to explore with their mouths, such as getting them toys that a baby cannot choke on, and removing any other chocking-hazard from his or her surroundings. If you are outside, keep a good eye on what your baby touches, as putting grass or soil in their mouths is a possibility.

6 months: Friendly Baby

At 6 months, your baby should be able to recognize familiar people and laugh. The baby might also make adorable squealing noises, as well as blowing “raspberries” (sticking out their tongue and blowing at the same time). They also might start to imitate simple sounds, like coughs.

Now he or she will be able to reach to grab a toy he or she wants, with the possibility of putting it in her mouth to explore them further. Physical abilities will also progress, where the baby might start rolling from their tummy to their backs and be able to sit while leaning on his or her hands for support.

As your baby learns new skills on their own, you also can also help! By this age, try ‘reading’ to your baby pictures by describing what is in them. Point out new things to your baby on walks and inside the house.

9 months: Responsiveness

At 9 months, most babies can respond to their names, show multiple facial expressions, makes more sounds like babababa, and lifts arms to be picked up. They might also laugh or smile when you play peekaboo.

Now he or she might look for objects that for some reason are not in front of them. Maybe they thew it away or it rolled away. Regardless, he or she might begin looking for it instead of discarding it and play with a new toy. They can also begin to bang two toys together, showing more advanced mobility and coordination. They might begin to sit on their own and without support and move things from one hand to the other.

As for your role, you can start introducing words that use some of the sounds your baby already says. For example, if they start repeating bababa, repeat bababa and then say “book” or “ball”. You can also start teaching simple gestures, like waving bye-bye or shaking head to say no. To do so, simply repeat these gestures to the baby. Try to also encourage your baby to move a bit by placing toys a little further away than usual so the baby can crawl to get them.

1 year: First Birthday!

Your baby turned one year old and look how far they have come! This is cause for celebration! At this point most babies can follow simple one-step instructions, use simple gestures like waving bye-bye, understand “no” and some very simple picture-books, combine different sounds as if they are talking, put things in containers, and look for things they see you hide.

Physically, they might be able to pull themselves up to stand, and some can even walk while holding onto furniture. They might also be able to drink from a normal cup if someone is holding it, as well as pick things up between their thumb and pointer finger.

Now would be the time to emphasize “wanted behaviours”; behaviours you want your baby to adopt. Show support when they do something right, like using positive words or give hugs and kisses. For example, if you don’t want them to throw things around, shake your head and show them what to do instead. When he or she does the good behaviour (like putting the toy away for example), celebrate, and give a hug or a kiss.

You can also sing and talk to your baby about what you are doing, like saying “Mama is cooking” or “Mama is washing your hands”. If you can tell what you baby is trying to say, you can also build on that. For example, if he or she says “ba” and looking at a teddy bear, you can say “It’s a bear!”

Check our next blog, which will cover milestones from the age of 15 months to 5 years!

Rodaina Ibrahim, Journalist