While every baby grows at their own pace, they grow at an amazingly rapid rate during their first year of life. They go through major achievement stages i.e. milestones along with physical growth. They are expected to reach a milestone by the end of a month but you need not to worry if they aren’t exactly there yet as every child grows in a way that’s completely unique and individual. Some may crawl early, some may have teeth showing up early and others may start walking early. It’s not a good idea to compare your child with any other in terms of achieving developmental milestones. Based on my research, I have charted some of the month wise milestones which most of the babies are expected to achieve.
If your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) then you may take these milestones differently because these milestones are based on the due date not on the basis of birthday. Babies born before 37 weeks may take some longer time to reach these milestones.
Initially they will take a week’s time to adjust to the new environment, most of the time they will sleep. They can’t understand your words at that moment but keep talking to them to express your love. They will spend most of their time sleeping and they will be awake for only 6-8 hours in a day.
They will start focusing objects up to 8-12 inches after a week, moving your head and objects slowly in front of them so as to build their eye muscles and tracking skills. They will start looking out if somebody enters in the room and leaves during the third week and they will start snuggling also during that week. They will start making some sounds by the end of a month and they will start showing behavioral changes while hearing a noise.
Between 1-3 months milestones
First month: Baby’s movements will become more clear and responsive. They will start understanding senses, they will start playing with rattles and differentiating between bright colors and black & whites. Baby will start lifting their head about 45 degrees so you can start increasing tummy time for a brief period so that they can practice neck lifting.
Second month: They will start to be fascinated with sounds. They will be interested in talking and will keep staring at you while you talk. They may even respond by making some noises. They will start recognizing their parents' face within the crowd and it’s the best time to improve their social skills so you may include them in family activities.
Babies will start a transformation from a newborn to an active infant. Their vision will improve and during this time they will start looking at distant objects. As a newborn, they only see blurry images while it will improve with time. They will become more interested in looking at human faces and bright colored objects. Your baby will awake for a longer period of time now. They may be interested in playing with toys and games while understanding the world around them in a better way.
Third month: Neck muscles will become strong during the third month and they will be able to hold their head for a few seconds during tummy time. Arm and hand movement will be faster and their grasping power will be improved and they will start battling with objects. By the end of this month, babies will start rolling over, either from front to back or back to front. You have to make sure to take better precaution at this moment so as to make sure that they are not left alone. They will also be able to follow moving objects with eyes, bring hand to mouth and stretch out legs and kick when on stomach or back.
Between 4-7 months:
Babies will learn to coordinate between their vision, touch and hearing. They will have improved motor skills like grasping, rolling over, sitting up and crawling. Babies will now have more control over actions and they will have a habit of putting everything into their mouth. It’s better to avoid giving small objects or toys so as to avoid accidental swallowing. They will try to communicate better rather than just crying, if they are hungry or if they want something then they will try to make you understand what they want.
Although they will smile and play with everyone they meet, they will start recognizing their parents and prime caretakers and feel more attachment towards them. After lifting up their head, now they will try to lift up their chest in preparation to sit up which in turn will strengthen their body. Babies’ vision will broaden as they will concentrate on objects and follow movements. By the end of this period, babies should be able to roll over from their stomach to back and back to stomach and maybe be able to sit without any support. They will continue to babble but they will lower or raise their voice to communicate better. They will be eager to socialize better during this time and may ask you to take them out and play games like peek-a-boo or sing rhymes.
Between 8-12 months:
They will be able to sit without any support during this time. They will explore rolling down to their stomach and return to a sitting position. They will prepare themselves for crawling by grasping objects during tummy time, ideal time for crawling is between 7-10 months. Few babies never crawl rather they just slide on their bottom or move on their stomach.
During this time, you may need to baby-proof all your furniture as the baby will be mobile during this time. After mastering crawling, they will explore standing positions. They will start taking steps while holding something. Slowly and gradually they will start taking some steps without holding. Most of the babies take their first steps around 12 months but if they are not doing so that too is completely normal. They will be able to throw things and try to pick them up and they will start investigating objects by shaking them, banging them and moving them from hand to hand. It’s best to start some activities around this wherein they will place objects into the container and take them out of the container.
They may start coordinating between their hands and feet as if somebody is not reachable by hands then they may use their feet to reach that object. They may also like to poke their fingers into holes so better to keep them away from plugs. Babies also show a lot of learning and development in speaking and listening skills as they will be able to understand the meaning of “No” and “Bye” or follow simple commands. They may also start repeating sounds they hear and by the end of this duration, they should be able to speak at least one word clearly like Mama or Dada.
They may start separation anxiety during this time as their emotional development will occur during this phase. They may start crying when their parents or guardians are leaving them. This anxiety may occur between 9-18 months and may reduce once they are two years old. They may start doing some functional activities like holding a spoon and turning pages of the book so for better cognitive development of the baby, you may plan some activities to better enhance their motor skills.
After completing a year, your infant will transition into a toddler. First year is the most crucial phase of the baby’s development as most of the major milestones happen during this time. Your small baby who was dependent on you for everything will become more independent and can move at their will, sit up, roll over, crawl and stand on their own. During the next stage i.e. toddlerhood, they may master walking, talking and thinking.
Ruchika Kinger is a new mom with a cute and adorable daughter of 5 months. She is around 9 years of experience in HR based out of Gurgaon location. She believes that "Nothing is impossible and you can achieve anything if you work for it". She is fond of travelling, photography and cooking.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.