Baby Development After Birth in the First 12 Months

A group of people sitting in a room

Each baby has a different growth cycle. But certain developments are common for all babies. Here is a brief on how a baby develops after birth for the first 12 months of his life.

Baby Development: One to Three Months

A small child sitting on a chair

During this first development stage, babies’ bodies and brains are learning to live in the outside world. 

Between birth and three months, your baby may start to:

  • Smile. Early on, it will be just to themselves. But within three months, they’ll be smiling in response to your smiles and trying to get you to smile back at them.
  • Raise their head and chest when on their tummy.
  • Track objects with their eyesand gradually decrease eye crossing.
  • Open and shut their hands and bring hands to their mouth.
  • Grip objects in their hands.
  • Take swipes at or reach for dangling objects, though they usually won’t be able to get them yet.

Baby Development: Four to Six Months

During these months, babies are really learning to reach out and manipulate the world around them. They’re mastering the use of those amazing tools, their hands. And they’re discovering their voices. 

From 4 to 6 months old, your baby will probably:

  • Roll over from front to back or back to front. Front-to-back usually comes first.
  • Babble, making sounds that can sound like real language.
  • Laugh.
  • Reach out for and grab objects (watch out for your hair), and manipulate toys and other objects with their hands.
  • Sit up with support and have great head control.

Baby Development: Seven to Nine Months

During the second half of this year, your little one becomes a baby on the go. After learning that they can get somewhere by rolling over, they’ll spend the next few months figuring out how to move forward or backward. If you haven’t baby-proofed yet, better get on it!

During this time period, your baby may:

  • Start to crawl. This can include scooting (propelling around on their bottom) or “army crawling”, as well as standard crawling on hands and knees. Some babies never crawl, moving directly to from scooting to walking.
  • Sit without support.
  • Respond to familiar words like their name. They may also respond to “No” by briefly stopping and looking at you, and may start babbling “Mama” and “Dada.”
  • Clap and play games such as patty-cake and peekaboo.
  • Learn to pull up to a standing position.

Baby Development: 10 to 12 Months

The last development stage in baby’s first year is quite a transition. They aren’t an infant anymore, and they might look and act more like a toddler. But they are still a baby in many ways. 

They are learning to:

  • Begin feeding herself. Babies at this developmental stage master the “pincer grasp“ — meaning they can hold small objects such as O-shaped cereal between their thumb and forefinger.
  • Cruise, or move around the room on their feet while holding onto the furniture.
  • Say one or two words, and “Mama” and “Dada” become specific name for parents. The average is about three spoken words by the first birthday, but the range on this is enormous.
  • Point at objects they want in order to get your attention.
  • Begin “pretend play” by copying you or using objects correctly, such as pretending to talk on the phone.
  • Take their first steps. This usually happens right around one year, but it can vary greatly.

These are the common milestones every baby covers in the first year of his life.

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