You have just welcomed your baby, and your days already look like cuddling, feeding, burping, and diapering cycles. Right? Amid all this, you will witness the remarkable transformation of your baby. Your one-year-old will have little resemblance to the tiny, helpless baby you brought home from the hospital. Yes, children actually grow that fast.
Your baby's first-year milestones include developing more than one million neurological connections each second as they experience and explore the world around them. Your one-year-old baby can understand and comprehend more things than you can imagine. This makes first-year baby milestones even more interesting to track. Also, baby milestones are good indicators of a baby's growth and development. Although not all babies meet developmental milestones the same way at the same time, most babies meet them within a few weeks to months. Suppose your baby is taking time to meet some milestones; worry not. Just be patient and allow your baby time to grow at its pace.
Here's all you need to know about your baby's first-year milestones and important signs of progress and delays to watch out for. Knowing these signs will help you alert your paediatrician if your baby takes too long to meet certain milestones.
Critical First-year Developmental Milestones of a Baby
Before we talk about how your baby grows and develops in the first year of their lives, let's first understand what these milestones in a baby's first year actually are. These milestones are major achievements of your baby's first year week by week in terms of their:
- Physical growth
- Cognitive skills
For your ease, we have listed baby milestones at the end of every month for the first year of your child's life. Remember, these are just broad guidelines and every healthy child may not achieve these end-of-the-month milestones at the same time. Some may take longer than others, and that is perfectly okay.
- Move their head to different sides
- Grasp objects placed in their palms
- Try to raise their head
- Prefer a human face to an object
- Concentrate on things around 45 cm away from them
- Will have strong reflexes
- Repeatedly blink when exposed to bright lights
- Make jerky movements with their bodies
- They will put on weight and develop strength in their muscles
- Hold and clasp their own hands
- Make circular motions instead of jerky movements now
- Smile back at you when you talk to them
- Track moving objects
- Enjoy objects with colours and patterns
- Form strong attachments to familiar faces
- Smile more often
- Try to put objects in their mouth
- Better head movement control
- Wave and kick their arms and legs
- Shake and rattle toys
- Hold attention for longer
- Smile at strangers
- Have better body coordination
- Pick up things with their fingers
- Start crawling, rolling over, and sitting with support
- Talk to their reflection
- Show excitement through chuckles and gurgles
- Copy sounds and say words like 'da-da' or 'ma-ma'
- Communicate hunger or pain through crying or loud squeals
- Respond to rattles
- Sit up without support
- Stare at objects
- Start indicating what they need through actions
- Kiss and cuddle you
- Repeat actions such as blowing bubbles
- Begin teething
- Experiment with cause-and-effect situations
- Differentiate between strangers and their family members.
- Pass objects between hands
- Keep their head stable
- Copy your expressions
- Use one hand at a time
- Roll over and push themselves into a sitting position
- Start enjoying playing games
- Understand the tone of your voice
- Start displaying finer motor skills like dragging toys towards them and examining them
- Start sitting without support
- Have better memory and remember stories
- Get excited about seeing you
- Exhibit social anxiety
- May refuse to obey you
- Start forming more words
- Self-feed finger foods
- Pull themselves into a standing position
- Learn to point at objects or foods that they desire
- Begin to bang things together, throw them, or put them in their mouths
- Start naming people
- Get clingy when separated from you
- Answer when called by their name
- Turn their head away to show disapproval
- Babble and chat with you
- Hold themselves upright and move around while holding onto the furniture
- Start climbing stairs by crawling
- Play passing games or enjoy stacking objects together
- Begin to understand the meaning of some words
- Learn to identify themselves in a mirror's reflection
- Be highly active, and you may have to chase them
- Lose some weight as they become more active
- Start trying to discover how things work
- Sway to music and even try to sing along
- Show less separation anxiety and get more social
- Develop the fear of loud sounds or flashing lights
- Start recognising far-away objects and people
- Better hand-eye coordination and sense of taste and smell
- Try to wean from breastfeeding
- Stand unsupported for a few minutes and even take a few steps
- Start sipping from a cup
- Show interest in what's on TV or in picture books
- Become comfortable in your absence
- Emote through waving, grunting, or pointing at things
- Develop a longer attention span of up to 5 minutes
- Explore new games and picture books
- Hold a spoon in their hands and try to feed themselves
- Enjoy music and prefer toys that make music-like sounds
- Start exhibiting empathy
- Respond to instructions
- Open and close doors
- Say 'mama' and 'dada'
- Feel wary of strangers
Milestone Development Signs to Watch Out For
While all these milestones for the first year are universal, you must remember that all children are different. They will develop at different rates depending on their health and mental makeup.
While some amount of variance in baby milestones is nothing to worry about, certain indicators may suggest that they might need extra support to reach their baby first-year milestones. Some developmental problems in baby milestones first year include:
- A difference in the strength of the body on different sides
- Excessively stiff or floppy limbs
- Not responding to their name
- Long periods of whining or crying, usually without a reason
- Being very quiet or non-emotive for long periods
- Not following objects with their eyes
- Having trouble eating
How Parents Can Help Their Baby in Meeting Milestones
Every parent wants their child to meet natural developmental milestones first year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some things that you can do to help your child meet their first-year milestones:
- Create an atmosphere of positivity and confidence. Never push your child to meet their first-year milestones. Instead, be patient and allow your child to grow at their own pace. Your actions of praise will encourage them to try better.
- Keep conversing with your baby. This helps them calm down.
- Activities such as reading, singing, and dancing with your baby help in their cognitive development and lead to faster meeting of baby milestones.
- Spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This will help them feel secure.
- Don't pressure your baby to do activities when they are stressed or tired.
- Maintain a baby milestone chart first year to track their progress. Share it with their paediatrician regularly.
One of the most important things during your baby's first-year week-by-week milestones is never comparing their progress with other babies. Remember, only a healthy child will achieve their baby milestones correctly. Make all efforts to make your home a safe space for them and help them have fun while they experience the first year of their life. Raising Superstars has helped many babies meet milestones earlier than expected by exposing them to simple activities promoting brain development. Raising Superstars' prodigy programmes are specifically designed for babies and their parents. By signing up for them, you can help your child make the most of millions of brain synapses that start pruning when the child turns two years old. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today.