milestones for baby's 1st year

it is important to know what’s happening to your baby’s body, especially during the first year of life. this is particularly true for the first time parent who’s on a very steep learning curve! we’ve kept it simple so that you can open up each month and remind yourself what to expect and to notice the changes as they happen. it makes the experience so much more special!


in the first few weeks, the overwhelming focus is on feeding. for most parents, this is not a problem and comes quite naturally. but for others, breast feeding can be problematic for a variety of reasons. be sure to visit if you are struggling. they have some great tips and advice.


what milestones to expect in the first year of baby's life


month 1

a sleepy month.
  • lifts head for short periods of time

  • may turn toward familiar sounds

  • can focus on close items

  • strong reflexive responses when cheek is touched or stroked

  • strong grasp reflex if something is placed in baby’s hand

  • brings hands to face

  • makes jerky arm movements

month 2

baby is awake!
  • waking periods during the day are starting to last longer and baby is still waking up at night to eat

  • tracks toys and movement with eyes

  • begins to make cooing noises

  • starts attempt to copy sounds like ‘oh’,‘ooh’ and ‘ah’

  • smiles during interactions with mom and other trusted people

  • lifts up head when lying on tummy but is not able to control the movement for long periods of time

month 3

the personality month. baby starts to interact with you.
  • stiffens legs as if trying to stand when feet are on a hard surface

  • reaches for shiny or dangling objects (many necklaces have been broken due to this)

  • grasps toys and shakes small hand toys such as rattles

  • imitates sounds that the infant hears

  • recognizes people and starts to develop trust of known people as well as distrust and fear of strangers

  • starts to develop hand-eye coordination

  • kicks legs out and moves arms to expend energy

  • brings hands together in clapping motion

  • watches and enjoys circles and spiral patterns

  • lifts head for much longer periods


month 4

watch out – they’re starting to roll!
  • rolls over from tummy to back, will quickly learn how to roll over from back to tummy once this is mastered

  • lifts head and chest when laid on tummy and will attempt to move

  • taste tests everything that is close enough to get a grip on (exploring everything orally)

  • recognizes food source (bottle, breast, or otherwise) and reacts

  • responds to sound

  • has distinctive cries for fear, discomfort, pain, and even loneliness

  • tracks items through a 180 degree arc

  • some ready to sample solid food

month 5

transition. baby is changing from an infant to a baby.
  • pays attention to small objects and toys

  • begins to use hands and other toys as tools to get to wanted toys and other items

  • begins teething (some babies have already started months ago!)

  • discovers cause and effect, often this is displayed with simple games of fetch played by baby dropping items and waiting to see if you will pick them up

  • tries to hold self up when in sitting position holds head up well at all times

  • usually sleeps through the night by now (if you're lucky!)

  • can see you from across the room


month 6

food, food, food. very ready to eat solid foods.
  • makes vowel sounds and copy simple two-syllable sounds that are often thought to sound like ‘mama’ and ‘dada’

  • sit by self with minimal to no support

  • rolls over and travels short distances on floor by rolling

  • holds own bottle and can drink from a cup

  • will open mouth for spoon (often turns head and makes a mess though)

  • copies facial expressions and will even reproduce them upon demand at times (when told “make the silly face” baby will make their favorite face that brought all of the laughs the last time)

  • responds to short cues showing that language is understood

month 7

let the games begin. baby will love little games.
  • enjoys self-feed finger foods

  • looks for the source of sounds

  • plays simple games such as 'peek-a-boo'

  • imitates sounds

  • blows bubbles and ‘raspberries’

  • can read your emotions from the tone of voice and will try to avoid you when you are grouchy and will show fear if you are afraid


month 9

baby has his own schedule, personality and routine.

  • plays independently with toys for short periods

  • reach for toys that are close by

  • grasps at small items

  • go from laying down to sitting independently

  • recognizes self - enjoys mirrors

  • will often try to take the utensil while feeding but isn’t quite ready to self feed at this point

  • some babies may attempt to talk or even walk at this early stage, but there is no reason for concern if they are not ready yet


month 8

watch out – they’re getting around!
  • this is a good time to install baby gates and ensure all small, fragile or dangerous items are well outside of baby's reach

  • baby rolls around the play area

  • able to sit unsupported

  • seems to have own language and babbles happily to self

  • gets into position to crawl, attempts may also be made to actually crawl

  • reacts differently to different people.

  • has favorite people or person

  • makes specific noises or different cries for different things that baby wants

  • reacts to someone saying baby’s name

  • gets anxious if removed from parent

  • can sleep through the night

month 10

refined understanding. reacts to your instructions.
  • simple phrases should be used to correct baby, especially when getting into a situation you don't want. levels of adherence and reaction, however, will very much dependent on baby's personality and mood!!

  • move toys and other items from one hand to another

  • stands while holding your fingers or the edges of furniture (some can walk at this young stage)

  • pulls self to a stand when holding on to furniture

  • gets upset if toys or other objects are taken away

  • if your baby isn’t rolling, crawling and sitting by now, you should talk to your paediatrician

month 11

taking over the house! knows limits and how far to push.

  • understand when you say ‘no’ and other simple or short instructions

  • greets people

  • waves bye-bye

  • says ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and other simplified names for family members

  • recognizea family members by pictures as well as by name and in person

  • clap hands in excitement

  • join ins with others while playing simple games such as ‘itsy bitsy spider’ and the ‘wheels on the bus’


month 12

refined understanding. reacts to your instructions.
  • shakes head ‘no’

  • crawls

  • walks (some babies need a little help for the next month or two with this)

  • dances to music

  • has an interest in books

  • likes to explore and open and shut cabinet doors

  • climbs on toys and furniture

  • will give up toys to others without a huge argument

  • is afraid of strangers

  • understands and follows simple one step commands - is branching out into two step commands

  • forms attachment with items

  • feeds self (messy, but great fun)

  • will let you know when they are done with food and drinks instead of trying to devour everything in front of them

whilst not every baby adheres to the milestones exactly as described, they do give a good basis from which to work. if your baby does not meet the milestones on a continuing basis, ask for guidance from your healthcare professionals.


fussy feeding babies, sleepless babies and colicky babies can become sensitive issues, especially with first-time parents who may feel inferior or helpless in the face of their baby’s obvious discomfort.