Skip to Content

Baby’s First Year Development: Baby Milestones by Month

Baby’s First Year Development: Baby Milestones by Month

Understand your baby’s development stages with this guide to baby milestones by month.

Having a baby is such a wonderful experience, however, you don’t know how much you don’t know until you’re face-to-face with your little one!

We realized everything there was regarding baby development when our son was born at 31 weeks. Keeping track of milestones can be exhausting, and, at least for us, it was very tiring when everyone said a different thing regarding certain milestones.

Tracking your baby’s milestones will be, for sure, on the back burner as you watch them grow, but it doesn’t need to be a constant source of angst.

I’ve prepared this guide not only with my own experience but with a lot of research to help you, preemie mom or not, enjoy your baby’s progress instead of worrying about every small thing that they do, or don’t do.

Although it’s true, moms tend to worry, and that’s ok, too. After all, babies grow so fast you don’t want to miss a thing, but also you want to make sure that you keep track of your baby’s development.

A Quick Word on How to Use This Guide

This guide is good for all babies, preemies, or full-term babies!

If your baby is full-term, then all you need to do is read along. If your baby is a preemie, then you should read this article using your baby’s adjusted age.

Using my son as an example, since he was born at 31+6 weeks, we knew he wouldn’t hit his 2-month milestones until he was 4 months because by then he’d be 2 months adjusted.

If you want to know more about your preemie’s adjusted age, you can use my adjusted age calculator, and get a tailored printable for preemie’s milestones by clicking here.

Ok, to business!

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 1

Your journey has now started, as has your baby’s! A burst of sensory development is happening in their cute brain from the very second they are born.

Your newborn baby will love gazing into your eyes and listening to your voice. Don’t be fooled by your baby’s apparent lack of response, they are developing at full speed.

baby development month by month: month 1

Newborn Routine in a Nutshell

Newborn babies can usually see at a distance of up to 12 inches, are sensitive to bright lights, and may cross their eyes often.

This is completely normal, as they are just developing their muscles.

Your baby can see better the toys and objects that have high contrast, a newborn’s favorite colors are white, red, and black since they are the easiest to distinguish from each other.

To strengthen your baby’s eyes you can slowly move toys in her sight from side to side.

These stimulation toys are wonderful to help develop your baby’s eyesight, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination (they are white, red, and black so that your baby’s attention will be focused on them). They are the ones we used, recommended by Oliver’s therapist.

Aside from gazing at your face and her brand-new stimulation toys, your baby will also want to sleep a lot.

I know, it doesn’t feel like so, right?

The truth is that newborns sleep up to 20 hours a day! They just don’t do it in one stretch.

In fact, your baby may wake up every 20 minutes to four hours to feed.

The stomach of a newborn baby is really small, so the amount of milk that they can drink is not that big, and they get hungry often.

Not so convenient for parents who want a full night’s sleep, but that day will come eventually. However, starting a newborn sleep and feeding schedule will help you keep your sanity as a new mom. You can read more about it in this wonderful post from Busy Blooming Joy.

You can also get inspiration about newborn life by reading mamalyssa’s sample routine.

Your little one will also cry, a lot or a little, depending on several factors. Crying is the way newborns communicate, so naturally, they will communicate with you when they need something.

Want to help your crying baby? Check out this article on reasons why newborns cry.

When you talk, or if you make a loud noise around your baby, they will respond to the sound. Yup, a newborn’s sense of hearing is quite good!

baby milestones by month: the fourth trimester

1st Month Milestones

By the end of the first month (or adjusted month, if you have a premature baby) your baby should be able to:

  • Lift their head for short periods of time.
  • Turn their head to the side when lying on their stomach.
  • Move their hands close to her mouth.

1st Month Reflexes

Your baby should also have the following, natural reflexes:

  • If you hold your baby upright and their feet touch the surface, your baby may imitate walking, placing one foot in front of the other. No, they are not learning how to walk… yet (but we’ll get there), this is called the stepping reflex and it’s completely normal.
  • Give your baby an object, or place your finger in their hand, they should grasp it, clenching their fist tightly. This is the grasping reflex, a result of the baby’s position in the womb.
  • Your baby will also suck any object in their mouth due to the sucking reflex! The sucking reflex develops inside the womb, from the 32nd week of your pregnancy until your 36th week. This is why some premature babies need to learn how to do this after they are born.

    My son, Oliver, was born at 31 weeks, so he developed his sucking reflex in his incubator. By the time his adjusted age was 0 months, he was sucking fairly well. This is why we preemie moms guide milestones by adjusted age during the first two years of development!
  • The only natural fear in humans is the moro reflex, your baby will spread out their arms, pull them in, and sometimes cry as if they were falling!
  • The startling response is similar to the moro reflex, but it will trigger when they hear a loud noise or are stimulated by a sudden, sharp movement. We are all born with this and it doesn’t go away, we are all startled as adults as well!
  • If you gently stroke your baby’s cheek you will trigger the rooting reflex, your newborn will turn in the direction of the stimulus and try to suck. This is due to the rooting reflex.
  • Last but not least, we have the tonic neck reflex, your baby will turn their head to the side and hold out her arm to that same side.

Yup, we are born with a lot of reflexes!

Most of these responses happen because babies are inside their moms’ wombs in a fetal position for such a long time that it takes them a bit to adjust to the wide, open space after they are born.

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 2

Your 2-month-old baby will have reduced their sleep time significantly.

2-month-olds usually sleep up to 15.5 hours a day, napping three times a day.

It’s also common for babies to be constipated at this point, breastfed babies can go days without a soiled diaper!

It’s still normal that your 2-month-old is sometimes cross-eyed. Their eye muscles are quickly developing, and they will recognize you from across the room!

They will also see their favorite toys or people at a distance of up to 18 inches away.

Is your baby crying excessively, for no apparent reason? It may be baby colic, check out my guide to baby colic.

By the end of the second month, the moro reflex will probably go away, as well as the stepping reflex.

baby development month by month: month 2

2nd Month Milestones

By the end of your baby’s second month (or the second month adjusted if your baby was premature) your baby should be able to:

  • React to sounds, especially loud noises.
  • Make cooing noises (so cute!)
  • Lift their head while being held in an upright position.
  • Soothe themselves by sucking their hands.
  • Coo in response to mom’s voice.
  • Follow the movement of toys, objects, or people with their eyes.
  • Your baby may begin to smile at you! (Although don’t worry if they don’t just yet!)

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 3

Your baby will grow up so fast you won’t believe how fast time goes by! By the time they reach 3 months, they will be much more active, and you and your spouse will have adjusted much better to your new life at home.

How often is your 3-month-old taking baths? Your baby can take a bath every few days. Giving babies baths too often eliminates the natural oils that their skins produce, which protect them from mild rashes.

baby development month by month: month 3

When it comes to sleep, you probably won’t sleep through the night yet, but your baby is getting so good at sleeping!

3-month-old babies typically sleep 15 hours a day, in longer stretches, and take 3 naps a day.

Don’t forget about tummy time!

By giving your little one some time on their belly, they will be strengthening their core, arm, and neck muscles. You’ll see how your baby can hold their body higher and higher every day!

baby milestones by month: 3 month old milestones

3rd Month Milestones

By the end of your baby’s third month (adjusted, if they are a premature baby), your baby will:

  • Start to babble. It’ll melt your heart!
  • Imitate some sounds.
  • Mimic some expressions.
  • Hold the upper body with their arms during tummy time.
  • Push down with their feet when you hold them upright.
  • Open and close their hands.
  • Grasp and shake objects.

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 4

By the time they are 4 months old some babies can start eating solids, you should consult with your pediatrician if your baby is ready to start!

If you have the green light from your doctor, start with fruit-based baby food, one to two ounces, three times a day! I made this practical baby feeding guide that might help you on your journey.

Even though your 4-month-old is sleeping fewer hours a day, it will be in longer stretches, so you should be able to sleep a bit more now!

Are you feeling more rested yet? If not, don’t worry, your baby will sleep better and better from now on! In the meantime, Elizabeth from Worth Writing For has a great article on how to survive when your baby isn’t sleeping through the night.

baby development month by month: month 4

4th Month Milestones

By the end of your baby’s 4th month, your baby will be able to:

  • Reach toys with one hand.
  • Hold their head steady without support.
  • Push up to their elbow during tummy time.
  • Start expressing happiness and sadness.

Additionally, your 4-month-old may be able to:

  • Roll over from their tummy to their back.
  • Start showing signs of boredom, such as crying when playtime stops.

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 5

Your 5-month-old will start showing great interest in reaching places! Your baby is discovering the world, and they just don’t want to do it passively anymore!

Some babies may start crawling as early as 5 months! If your baby is not an early crawler (mine wasn’t) they will surely show interest in mobility!

It’s time to start baby-proofing your house if you haven’t yet!

baby development month by month: month 5

5th Month Milestones

By the end of the 5th month, babies should:

  • Try to roll over in either direction.
  • Start putting their hands together.

Also, some babies are able to:

  • Reach objects with both hands.
  • Start crawling! (Don’t worry if your baby is not showing signs of being ready to crawl yet!)

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 6

Your little one should be napping two times a day! This means that you should have a better sleep at night!

Is your baby drooling, fussy, with swollen gums, and crying inexplicably? Most babies get their first tooth by the time they are 6 months!

If you have a preemie, though, it may be a bit longer, our Ollie didn’t get his first tooth until he was 10 months old!

baby development month by month: month 6

6th Month Milestones

By the end of the sixth month, your baby will:

  • Love playing with you, and show it!
  • Begin to recognize if they don’t know the person who is holding them. The anxiety caused by strangers may start to kick in, and they may cry or feel uncomfortable.
  • Respond to their name. When you call your baby by name, they will turn their head in your direction.
  • Roll over in both directions.
  • Put their hands together, as if clapping.
  • Support their legs when standing up and holding on to something.

Some babies, by 6 months also:

  • Remain in a sitting position without support.
  • Laugh!

Get Your Free Milestone Printable Tracker Today!

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 7

Your little munchkin is ready for solids now! You should be feeding her about 3 to 4 ounces of solid food three times a day!

Your baby also sees everything now in full color! That’s huge!

baby development month by month: month 7

7th Month Milestones

By the end of the seventh month, your baby will be able to:

  • Respond to their name by turning their head in your direction when you call them.
  • Remain in a sitting position without support.
  • Begin to understand what “no” means.
  • Transfer objects from one hand to the other.
  • Enjoy playing so much that may cry when playtime stops.
  • Hold head steadily without support.
  • Bring hands to mouth
  • Push up to elbows during tummy time.

Additionally, some babies sit up unassisted by the time they are 7 months old!

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 8

The house may be a lovely mess by the time your little one is eight months old! Especially if you’re going for baby-led weaning!

Your baby loves finger food, and you can usually introduce two 2-ounce snacks a day! It’s time to get creative with super healthy recipes!

baby development month by month: month 8

8th Month Milestones

By the end of the 8th month, your baby will begin to lean over to pick up toys! Try stimulating cleaning time with songs and play!

Some babies, by the end of their 8th month, are also able to:

  • Sit up all by themselves.
  • Start scooting toward objects, your baby is getting ready to crawl!
  • Begin to self-feed snacks and finger food!

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 9

In the blink of an eye, your quiet newborn is now a super-active baby!

Your baby is very interested in the world around them, and now they have more mobility to explore it!

Yes. It’s super cute!

Yes. You’ll want to grow an extra pair of eyes to keep your baby safe!

baby development month by month: month 9

9th Month Milestones

By the end of the 9th month, your baby will be able to:

  • Pincer grasp. Your baby will be able to hold small objects between their thumb and index finger! Those fine motor skills are developing at full speed!
  • Look for toys you hide from their sight. This is huge! Your baby has now such a good memory that they will realize you actually hid their toy, and look for it!
  • Play peek-a-boo with you!
  • Use their finger to point at things or people.
  • Make different sounds for their favorite stuff, like “mamma” or “baba”.

Some babies are also able to:

  • Crawl!
  • Stand up while holding on to toys and furniture.
  • Remember their favorite toys or activities.
  • Get overly attached to parents.
  • Get anxious around strangers.

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 10

baby development month by month: month 10

Your baby is probably super active now, crawling around the house and reaching for toys, phones, furniture, hands…

Don’t worry if your baby is not crawling yet, though! The important thing is that they show interest in moving and lean toward the stuff they love!

Some babies never crawl and are perfectly healthy.

baby milestones by month: 10 month old milestones

10th Month Milestones

By the end of the tenth month, your baby will:

  • Use their hands more precisely, rattling toys, pushing buttons, or picking up small items. You can even try painting together, a messy, fun activity!
  • Say mama and dada, or have a word to call their parents.

Some babies, also can:

  • Understand simple instructions. Such as “Say mama!”
  • Remember where their favorite toys are. And look for them when they want to play.
  • Sit up unassisted, and remain in a sitting position for long periods of time.
  • Stand up while holding on to furniture and toys.

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 11

Are you planning the first birthday party yet?

This time is so exciting, you can see your baby grow up, and their personality shining through them! They are eating solids like a pro! And melting your hearts in the process!

baby development month by month: month 11

11th Month Milestones

By the end of her 11th month, your baby may:

  • Start cruising. Walking while they grab onto furniture and toys. Your baby is getting ready to walk!
  • Point to objects when you ask them where they are.
  • Stand up while holding your hand.
  • Stay standing unassisted!

Baby Milestones by Month: Month 12

Happy birthday, baby! And welcome to toddlerhood!

It’s been a full year since your baby came to brighten your lives. And, if you’re like me, there’s a lot of happiness and nostalgia around this time of year!

Don’t know what to get for your baby’s first birthday? Check out my affordable gift guide of stimulation toys for your toddler’s development!

Time to smash that birthday cake!

baby development month by month: month 12

12th Month Milestones

baby milestones by month: the first year

By the end of their 12th month, babies typically:

  • Act shy or anxious around strangers.
  • Cry or are upset when their parents leave.
  • Show fear in some situations.
  • Bring you a book when they want to hear a story, or a toy when they want to play with it.
  • Put out arms or legs when you’re dressing them.
  • Shake their heads “no”, wave their hands “bye bye”, or use simple gestures like clapping.
  • Try to imitate words they hear, so speak to your toddler as much as you can!
  • Copy gestures.
  • Put toys in containers and take them out.
  • Take a few steps on their own!

Get Your Free Milestone Printable Tracker

That’s a Wrap

That’s it! Your baby’s first year in a nutshell!

I know it looks like a lot. However, as they say, the days are long and the years are short.

Wherever you are within the first year of your little one, they’ll only be babies for a short time.

As I always say, each parenting journey is unique, so take what helps you and leave what doesn’t.

Baby development can also be unique to each baby, and, so long as it’s within what’s considered normal in medical terms, there’s no need to compare your baby to others.

You’ll come to realize that each baby has abilities that they develop faster, and those that they develop slower, and some tendencies and vocations can even show within the very first year!

And what an amazing first year, from newborn to one year old! And the best is yet to come!

Want to Get FREE PARENTING RESOURCES? Get Access to my Parenting Resource Library by Clicking Here!

Follow me on Pinterest for more great content!

Enjoyed this article? Please share it or Pin it!