Baby Milestones: Your Child’s First Year

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Buckle up, parents! Your newborn baby’s first year is a whirlwind of milestones. You have already seen them take their first breath, heard their first cry, and changed their first dirty diaper. So what is up next? Developmental baby milestones are behaviors, mental and physical skills your newborn babies reach and master as they grow. During their first year, some of their physical milestones include:

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  • rolling over
  • reaching for objects
  • sitting up
  • crawling

Behavioral milestones include mimicking your expressions. They also cry or laugh to show emotions. So here, we discuss the baby milestones you can expect during your baby’s magical first year of life.

1 Baby’s First Social Smile

After two months of sleepless nights, late-night feedings, diaper changes and round-the-clock soothing, you have seen plenty of your baby’s tears. So now you are in for a big treat — a smile from your baby. You have indeed seen your baby’s smiling since soon after birth. But often, a newborn baby will smile in their sleep.

Sometimes your baby’s smile in the early weeks of life could simply be a sign that your little one is passing gas. But, interestingly, starting between 6 and 8 weeks of life, babies start developing a “social baby smile“. It is an intentional gesture of warmth meant just for you.

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This is an important development milestone for your newborn baby. Your pediatrician will ask you whether you have seen your baby’s grin when they are two months old. So be on the lookout.

So when your baby is around 2 months of age, your baby will smile in response to you. The sound of your voice or the sight of your face is all it takes to trigger your baby’s irresistible smile. Your baby is growing up and starting to figure out human behavior. They realize that smiling back at you gets your attention. It is an indication of your baby’s brain development which is advancing, and their communication skills are on track.

2 When Do Babies Start Laughing?

It is interesting to see your baby’s first year filled with all types of memorable activities and events. Be it eating solid food or taking their first steps – it is so nice to see your little one grow. Each “first” in your baby’s life is a milestone. And each milestone is an opportunity for you to make sure your baby is growing and developing as expected.

Laughter is indeed a wonderful milestone to reach, especially after they have learned to smile. Laughter is a way your baby communicates with you. It is a sign that your baby is alert, interested, and happy.

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If the frequent sound of your baby’s crying has bugged your ears, just wait for their lighter. By 4 months, you can look forward to another sound, possibly the sweetest you would have heard so far. Your baby’s laughter. The best part is how easily a baby laughs without any tension. Silly faces or just tickling are usually more than enough to set off lots of giggles on your little one’s face.

3 When Do Babies Sleep All Night?

One thing you might be so eager to know? When does your baby sleep through the night? How sleep-deprived you feel. But the good news is, babies tend to start sleeping through the night when they are around 6 months of age on average. However, many babies sleep through the night between 6–8 hours when they are 3 months of age. But if yours does not, it is not a cause for concern. Like adults, babies also develop their own sleep patterns and cycles, so if your newborn is gaining weight and appears healthy, there is nothing to worry about. 

As a new parent, you may be surprised to know that your newborn, who seems to disturb you the whole night,  actually sleeps about 16 hours or more in a day. Newborn babies typically sleep for periods of 2 to 4 hours. Do not expect yours to sleep through the whole night. The digestive system of your newborn is so small that they need nourishment every few hours. And they should be awakened if they have not been fed for 4 hours.

4 When Can Babies Sit Up?

Don’t you think how different the world looks when you are not stuck on your belly? Around 5 or 6 months, most babies can sit up with support. Your baby typically can hold their head steady without support at this age. This can only happen by resting on your hands in front of them or by leaning on pillows. 

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Only after 6 months do they begin to sit with a little help. But they can sit alone steadily from the age of 7-9 months. At 9 months your baby can sit well without support and can get in and out of a sitting position but may require help.

5 When Does Your Baby Start Crawling?

When your baby reaches 8 month, you might want to put your gym membership on hold. You are about to get plenty of exercise chasing your suddenly mobile baby all around the house. By 9 months, most babies crawl using both hands and feet.

Babies typically start to crawl around this age but some start as early as 6 or 7 months, while others take their sweet time. Though some babies never crawl, instead prefer to creep or wriggle around. At the same time, others start to pull up and walk. Experts believe that crawling is not an essential baby milestones. And infants who choose to creep or scoot still reach their other baby milestones on schedule.

6 When Should Your Baby Start Clapping and Waving ‘Bye-Bye’?

Learning how to wave bye-bye is an important milestone in the life of your newborn. For your infant it usually occurs between the age of 10 months and a year. Waving “bye-bye” is not only a cute trick, it is an actual expression of language by your baby. By 9 months most babies begin to make the link between gestures, sounds, and meaning. They understand that by waving their hand they can connect to the phrase “bye-bye”.

At this age, your little one may begin showing signs of hand movement. They can make hand gestures by waving or their hands close together. By 9 months, your baby will be able to clap their hands. 

7 When Can Your Baby Begin Eating Cereal and Finger Foods?

When your baby is between 9 to 12 months old, they develop better control over their fingers and hands. This is because they are able to grab small objects, like finger foods. This scenario occurs when spoon-feeding begins to lose its luster as your baby is ready to feed themselves. 

Interestingly, your baby at this age wants to explore taste and texture, so food is not the only thing they will try to pop into their mouths. Hygiene might therefore become a big parental concern at this age.

Once your baby is a pro at eating soft mashed foods, they might be ready to move on to tasty finger foods when they are around 8 months. They have the readiness to pick the food up and mash it or release it. And slowly they will become more efficient as they master the pincer grip during this time.

8 When Do Babies Usually Start to Stand? 

By 12 months, your baby will begin to stand briefly without support. They might also take small steps while holding onto furniture or other objects. This activity in infants is called “cruising”. As soon as your baby learns to stand and pull up, they will start cruising. For a few weeks before they walk independently, your baby will spend hours cruising to practice for the real thing.

However, walking is more variable. Many infants take their first steps before 9 months, while others wait until around 20 months or even later.

9 When Do Babies Walk is an Important ?

This is indeed the crown jewel of baby milestones. There are many milestones in your baby’s first year. The most exciting may be your baby’s first steps. But not all babies start walking by their first birthday. It varies anywhere from 9 to 17 months, with most babies taking at least a few steps by about 13 months.

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Once your baby starts to walk you baby learns to be independent. It can lead to a new set of challenges for you as a parent. The biggest challenge is keeping your baby protected and safe.

10 Says a Word – Important Baby Milestones

There is nothing like hearing your baby call your name. And this milestone is achieved right around the one-year mark. By this time, your baby says at least one real word and actively tries to imitate others. It would not be long before you finally get to hear what is there in your little one’s mind.

The Takeaway

Remember that the average ages for reaching certain milestones can vary from child to child. Some babies will do things earlier, while others will do them later and that is all normal. It is true that most babies will reach milestones at roughly the same age, but there is a wide range of “normal”. But if you see an issue in reaching any of these milestones, speak to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.

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