Child Development Milestones from Newborn to 12 Months

Babies are wired by nature to communicate everything with you. Not in so many words, but they will tell you everything they want to, with their body language, their facial expressions and of course, all the different forms of cries.

A baby grows more in their first 12 months than they do at any other point in their life. In the first 12 months of their life, they learn to solve problems, they learn to think on their own, and they learn methods to communicate. In addition to developing cognitive skills, babies also develop physically and develop their motor skills. Social skills are also developed in these first few months.

However, if you are a new parent or a new nanny and are uncertain about the development milestones your baby or your charge is supposed to have reached, then here’s a guide for you.

This list will guide you and help you to know if the child is progressing well and developing the skills they are supposed to.

It will also help you take quick action in case you notice developmental delays in your child.

Newborn to Two Months

A newborn baby will try to communicate with you by crying. A baby by birth has the ability to cry in various different pitches, patterns, urgency, volume, and length. And you’d be surprised to know that each one of the cries has a different meaning.

There’s no rulebook for it though, you’ll have to notice the different cries and what caused it to be able to detect it. What’s the cry the baby makes when he is happy, tired, sleepy, and hungry? Pay attention and you’ll find out. It will also make your motherhood a lot easier if you’re able to tell early on why the baby is crying.

Initially, the cry will all sound the same, but in the first month, the cries will become more expressive. In the second month, the baby will produce sounds other than cries such as gurgling and cooing.

In the second month, the child will also develop some motor and sensory skills such as:

  • Lifting and holding up the head
  • Bringing the fists to the mouth
  • pushing up with arms when lying on the stomach
  • Close and open fists
  • Push and pull legs and arms
  • Attempt to grab a toy held in front of their chest
  • Will track the movement of a toy that fascinates them with their eyes

Three Months to Four Months

In the third month, the motor skills of the baby would develop even more. They’ll not only be able to lift their head up but will also show some control such as lifting it up as much as 90 degrees when lying on their stomach.

Other milestones your baby will reach in their third and fourth months would be:

  • Reaching out more successfully for the toys
  • Smiling and laughing loudly
  • More observant of their surroundings. Will notice moving curtains, and fans etc.
  • Will start attempting to pick objects with both hands in the fourth month.
  • Call out to get attention with random noises
  • Will begin to recognize and sense familiar faces. Will interact and smile more with others.

Five Months to Six Months

The baby’s speech will develop more during their period. The baby would now make more noises in sing-song tones and use more syllables such as goo, adah, muh, aroo, er-lehetc.

You can take notice of the new syllables when the baby is paying quietly on their own. They speak more when immersed in their toys.

You can develop this skill even more by carrying out normal day-to-day conversation with them and showing them pictures or making animal noises.  Singing rhymes would also develop their listening skills.

Most babies progress differently when it comes to speech development. However, if the child is not making any progress in their verbal speech by the time they are six months old, visit a paediatrician.

Child Development Milestones From Newborn to 12 Months

Seven Months to Twelve Months

By the time your baby enters into their seventh month, the progress would be more obvious. The baby will begin to stand up with support and eventually without support. Will also begin to walk somewhere between eight to twelve months.

The baby would also begin a more generous use of their index finger by pointing at things. It will become clearer what they want with their more refined communicative skills. In addition, the baby would also pick up on any three recognizable words and for a while, refer to everything with these words. The intellect would also develop in their period and the baby would be able to understand words and commands.

He’ll understand if he gets scolded, or if he is being played with.

Other skills that the baby should be able to develop in these months are:

  • Focus and eye contact
  • Showing affection to parents
  • Would understand noand yes
  • Move arms on their own for dressing as well as feet for shoes.
  • Respond to calls of their name
  • More babbling, and more syllables
  • The baby will begin to crawl during the seventh or either month
  • Will be able to stand up and sit on their own
  • Will be able to walk between 9-12 months. First by holding on to something, and then independently.
  • Will develop more strength in the hand and start oinker grabbing using their thumb and first finger.
  • Will begin to hold toys, spoon and other things with more strength while also moving their arms more sporadically.

During this time, the baby will become more aware of their own folks and of strangers. And the language skills would also develop to the point of forming complete words such as:

  • Mama, dada (would also be able to call the parents by these terms)
  • Will begin to use exclamations such as oh-oh!
  • Will get better at repeating the words they heard or imitate actions they saw.
  • Will be able to communicate bye-bye and no more clearly with hand/head gestures or with words.

This is a general list of development milestone of babies. Aside from this, some babies are just early bloomers while others are late. If you feel your child is not progressing according to these milestones, then wait a little before getting worried. If you still can’t help but be alarmed, then feel free to consult your health advisor.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.


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